Common Eye Surface Problems (Blepharitis, Dry Eye, Subconjunctival Hemorrhage)

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Many of our patients complain that their eyes itch, sting, burn, or feel like there is something in them. Many of these symptoms can be understood and treated by following the steps outlined below. Treating any eyelid or dry eye disorder can lower the risk of infection, make your eyes feel more comfortable, and in some cases can help patients see better. HOWEVER, WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU CHECK WITH YOUR PRIMARY EYE DOCTOR IF THE STEPS BELOW DO NOT RELIEVE YOUR SYMPTOMS.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis, a common eye condition, is an inflammation of the eyelids, usually caused by an excess growth of bacteria that is ordinarily found on the skin, blockage of the eyelid’s oil glands, and sometimes, allergies. Blepharitis caused the eyelids to become red, itchy, and somewhat swollen and scaly-appearing at the base of the eyelashes. As the scales become coarser, the surface of the eye becomes irritated and forms crusts which may cause the lids to stick together when waking up in the morning. The eyes may become dry due to in¬flammation of moisture-producing tissues and this can cause a gritty sensation as well.

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Treatment of Blepharitis

Blepharitis cannot be cured. However, it can be treated and controlled through proper eyelid hygiene. If you have blepharitis, follow the steps listed below to help treat and cleanse your eye:

  • Cleanse one eye at a time. Close the eye you are cleansing and rub the washcloth or your finger over the eyelashes and lid margins several times using horizontal strokes.

  • Place the warm, wet washcloth over the index finger and apply a diluted solution of half baby shampoo/half warm water.

  • Take a clean washcloth and wet it in very warm water. Wring the washcloth and place it over the closed eyelids for five minutes. Re-wet as necessary to maintain desired temperature. This helps to soften crusts and loosen oily debris.

  • Rinse thoroughly with a clean, warm, wet washcloth. Pat dry.

Dry Eye

Dry eye is extremely common and usually caused by a decreased production of tears by the lacrimal (tear) glands. Dry eye aff¬ects women more frequently than men, especially after menopause.

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Subconjunctival Hemorrhage (SCH)

Subconjunctival hemorrhage is an accumulation of blood under the membrane that covers the external part of the eye, the conjunctiva. SCH frequently causes alarm for patients as it appears to the patient as if “the eye is bleeding.” SCH is common, occurs more frequently in patients taking aspirin, baby aspirin, fish oil, or any other blood thinning medications. SCH is also quite common in patients receiving regular injections of medication into the eye for macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusion, or diabetic retinopathy. SCH is a harmless condition, usually resolves within one to two weeks, and requires no treatment at all.