Blepharitis is when the rims of the eyelids become inflamed. This can make your eyes red, irritated and itchy. Dandruff-like crusts can appear on your eyelashes. Blepharitis can be caused by bacterial infection or can be a complication of skin conditions such as seborrhoeic dermatitis (a skin condition that can cause itchy rashes on the skin and scalp). When seborrhoeic dermatitis affects the scalp, it's called dandruff. Another associated skin condition is rosacea, which causes the face to appear red and blotchy.
Blepharitis is a chronic condition, meaning that once it develops you'll probably have repeated episodes. There is no cure. However, there are a range of treatments that can control the symptoms. The most important one is to establish a daily eye-cleaning routine.
More severe cases of blepharitis may require the use of antibiotics. It is estimated that blepharitis is responsible for 5% of all eye problems that are reported to GPs. It is more common in older adults, but can develop at any age. Complications of blepharitis include dry eye syndrome (where the eyes do not produce enough tears, or dry out too quickly), styes (a pus-filled swelling in or on the eyelid) and conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eye).
The condition is not normally serious. Serious complications such as sight loss are rare, especially when you follow the recommended advice.