Dry, itchy, red eyes? Is it blepharitis or dry eyes?

Both conditions come with similar symptoms. And they both cause mild to severe eye discomfort. But are they the same? Does blepharitis cause dry eyes? Or does dry eye cause blepharitis?

In this post, we will answer all these questions to help you better understand the blepharitis dry eye connection.

We will also list the common symptoms and home treatment for blepharitis and dry eye syndrome. Read on.

Blepharitis vs Dry Eyes

First, let’s answer what is blepharitis. Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelids. In this, you will notice dandruff-like crusts along the edges of your eyelids. The condition generally affects both eyes.

So, what causes blepharitis? Anything from allergies to bacterial infection, dandruff, and clogged oil glands can be blamed for blepharitis. It can be of two types:

  • Anterior blepharitis: This is caused by bacteria and occurs at the front edge of your eyelids, just where the lashes attach.
  • Posterior blepharitis: This happens when your oil glands get clogged. It affects the inner edge of your eyelids, closest to the eyeball.

That said, there’s a difference between blepharitis and dry eye. Dry eyes happen when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or when your tears evaporate too quickly. This causes your eyes to dry out, making them scratchy and irritated all day.

closeup of eye and eyelids seen from the side

Link Between Blepharitis and Dry Eye Syndrome

Although blepharitis and dry eyes are different conditions, there’s a link between them. Both conditions typically occur together, and have overlapping symptoms, like eye redness and dryness. Plus, treating one helps improve the other too.

What’s more, blepharitis can trigger dryness. There are two causes for this.

First, oil glands are often blocked because of blepharitis. This plays a major role in increasing the symptoms of dry eye. Second, dry flakes can build up in your tear film and make your eyes dry.

Symptoms of Blepharitis and Dry Eyes

Blepharitis and dry eye symptoms are almost indistinguishable. You will have eye dryness, redness, and inflammation in both.

But while dry eyes come with reduced tear production, blepharitis makes your eyelids crusty and inflamed.

Common Blepharitis Symptoms

Symptoms of blepharitis are more typically pronounced after you wake up. You may have:

  • Burning, stinging, or gritty eyes
  • Red and swollen eyelids
  • Inflammation of the cornea
  • Eye dryness
  • Irritated and itchy eyelids
  • Excessive watering
  • Photophobia
  • Foamy tears
  • Foreign body sensation in the eyes
  • Greasy and sticky eyelids
  • Flaky skin around the eyes
  • Crusted eyelashes
  • Blurry vision

Common Dry Eye Symptoms

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome are similar to those of blepharitis. They include:

  • Dry and gritty eyes, like there’s sand in them
  • Redness and inflammation
  • Itchy, irritated eyes
  • Stringy mucus, especially in the morning
  • Sensitivity to light and wind
  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Watery eyes
  • Stinging or burning sensations
  • Discomfort while wearing contact lenses

Blepharitis and Dry Eye Treatment

Living with blepharitis and dry eyes is difficult. The good news is that there are several at-home remedies for both blepharitis and dry eye. What’s even better is that these remedies can help reduce symptoms of both conditions.

Blepharitis Treatment

The best treatment for blepharitis is keeping your eyelids free of crusts. Additionally, you can use ointments and prescription eye drops to combat a bacterial infection.

1. Clean Your Eyelids

You can do this at home with a gentle cleanser and a clean cloth. Just follow the steps below.

  1. Start by applying a warm compress to your eyelids. This will soften and loosen the crusty layer.
  2. Mix warm water with a mild cleanser, like baby shampoo or lid-cleansing solution.
  3. Dip a clean, soft cloth in the water mixture. Press it against your eyelids and gently rub the edges. Focus on the area where your eyelashes and eyelids meet.
  4. Finally, rinse your eyelids with water. Repeat these steps every day to ease blepharitis symptoms.

woman with face half submerged in the water outdoors with green reflections in the lake

2. Massage Your Eyelids

Massaging your eyelids will stimulate the oil glands. This is great for blepharitis-induced inflammation as well as dry eyes. Massaging will clean any accumulated oil and keep it flowing.

3. Take Medicines to Fight Infection

If a bacterial infection is the main culprit behind your blepharitis, you can take medicines to combat the infection. Ask your doctor for antibiotic eye drops, ointments, or pills.

Don’t take over-the-counter medication for bacterial infections. Always consult with your doctor first.

4. Make Lifestyle Changes

Certain lifestyle changes can also soothe blepharitis symptoms. Use anti-dandruff shampoo to wash your scalp.

Avoid wearing makeup, especially mascara, eyeliners, and eyeshadows that come in close contact with your eyes.

You can also switch from contacts to eyeglasses to prevent irritation. 

Dry Eye Syndrome Treatment

Applying a warm compress, blinking often, and eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids are some dry eye remedies. You can also get a humidifier and war wraparound sunglasses while stepping out.

1. Apply a Warm Washcloth

A study shows that using a warm compress can help soothe inflammation and irritation due to dry eyes. It will stimulate your tear and oil glands. In turn, this will help produce a healthy and stable tear film.

2. Blink Blink Blink

Working on digital devices can adversely impact your blink rate and dry out your eyes. So, blink often and consciously. This will spread tears over your eyes and keep them moistened.

3. Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their role in dry eye syndrome. They can improve the quality of your tear film, and the benefits are more marked in patients with blepharitis, shows a study.

Tip: Include lots of seeds and seafood in your diet for a boost of omega-3 fatty acids.

4. Remember to Stay Hydrated

Your tear film is mostly made of water. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that drinking plenty of water can reduce eye dryness. Aim for 8-10 glasses a day.

woman with dark hair and eyes drinking water from a glass

5. Get a Humidifier

A room humidifier can work wonders for your dry eyes. It will supply enough moisture to the air around you and keep your eyes moist and comfortable. This is especially important during dry and cold weather.

6. Wear Wraparound Sunglasses

Wraparound sunglasses are a boon for anyone suffering from dry eyes. These provide complete protection from dirt, dust, and wind.

This way, your eyes stay moist for longer periods without any irritants aggravating posterior blepharitis and dry eye symptoms.

7. Build a Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle can help with blepharitis-induced dry eyes. This includes staying away from eye makeup, wearing glasses instead of contacts, and cleaning your eyelids before bedtime.

Taking an eye health supplement like SightC can also be a part of a healthy lifestyle.

SightC was formulated to support eye health in the digital age. It’s a superfood blend containing goji berries, dwarf lilyturf, turmeric, and other ingredients long used in Chinese Medicine to treat eye disorders.

SightC is rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your eyes need to stay healthy. The proprietary blend of ingredients in SightC have been trialed at the Wellspring TCM Technology Institute.

SightC can soothe dry eye symptoms and help your eyes return to health after an infection. 

Learn more about SightC and how it can help keep your eyes stay healthy.

Cleanliness Is Next to…

They say cleanliness is next to godliness. This is truly the case with blepharitis and dry eyes. Both eye conditions respond well to daily eyelid hygiene.

This translates into cleaning your eyelids with a warm cloth. Use a mild cleanser for the purpose. In addition, wash your scalp with an anti-dandruff shampoo. This will keep dandruff from reaching your eyes and worsening inflammation and irritation.

Avoid eye makeup like mascara and eyeshadow. And don’t forget to remove cosmetic products before getting ready for bed.

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