Blepharitis or eyelid inflammation is a very common, chronic condition. According to studies, the most likely cause of blepharitis is demodex, commonly referred to as eyelash mites. Demodex mites can cause ocular inflammation and exacerbate many pre-existing ocular surface conditions such as dry eyes.

Common signs of Demodex caused blepharitis is redness of the conjunctiva (white of the eye) and redness of the eyelids. Symptoms include itchy lids, burning eyes and a foreign body sensation. Styes are a very common sign of Demodex. The Demodex mites live in the hair follicles and meibomian glands where they create inflammation and obstruction.

Bleph Ex is a treatment done in the office to remove debris from around the lash follicles and the eyelid margins. This reduces the Demodex population immediately.

As most blepharitis tends to be due to demodex infestation, the best treatment is to attack the mites. While total elimination is not realistic, it is reasonable to reduce the number of them. At Westside Optometry we recommend the use of Cliradex towelettes. The Cliradex formulation uses a derivative of tea tree oil that is less toxic to the eye, but just as potent. If the infestation is severe, we will recommend an in-office cleaning to remove the debris on the lashes.

Demodex is thought to be associated with acne rosacea. We recommend using the Cliradex towelette on the entire face.