If you’d never heard of Blepharitis or Dry Eye Syndrome before you’d be forgiven; 80% of the British population hadn’t either. However, the conditions which are very closely related, affect up to 30% of individuals at some point in their lifetime.
Blepharitis is a (treatable) disease of the eyelids. It is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria living along the eyelid and base of the lashes and while anyone can get the condition, the elderly are more susceptible as they make fewer natural antibodies in their tears.
Left to develop, the bacteria on the eyelids produce a film that traps scurf and debris along the eyelashes – this appears like a crust, very similar to ‘sleepy dust’ – causing inflammation, dry, sore and/or itchy eyes (Dry Eye Syndrome).
Because the eyelids are difficult to clean, scurf and debris can accumulate over the years causing damage to the eyelids and tear glands.