Red rimmed eyes, burning eyes, watery eyes. These are symptoms of eyelid inflammation caused from Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), blepharitis or both. Another condition of the eyelid that causes discomfort and redness are styes; when one of the eyelid glands becomes infected. Styes are more localized and found on the edge if the eyelid.
The Meibomian glands are between the eyelashes. They can become plugged and inflamed causing problems with the tear quality. The compromised tears evaporate quickly causing the lacrimal gland to overcompensate and produce too many tears which spill over the eyelids. The inflammation produces a foamy discharge that sits on the lower eyelid margin causing irritation and burning.
Blepharitis in an infection or irritation of the eyelid. The typical sign of “bleph” is flakes and/or debris on the eyelashes. The flakes and debris end up in the eye causing irritation and redness.
At night when we sleep, the eye is closed and not blinking. Tear production is greatly reduced. Anything left on the eyelashes and eyelids will sit on the eye all night causing discomfort, grittiness and redness by morning. Treatment involves removing the potential irritants. This includes thorough removal of make-up and creams. A hot compress will soften the waxy plugs in the meibomian glands. Mild cleaning solution and a washcloth or cotton swab will remove debris from the eyelids and eyelashes. For a printable description of eyelid hygiene click here.
Good lid hygeine will improve contact lens comfort during the day, and reduce dry eye symptoms too.
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