What is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the eyelids caused by an overgrowth of normal bacteria living along the lid and the base of the eyelashes. Anyone can get blepharitis at any age, but the prevalence increases with age, since as we get older, we make fewer natural antibodies in our tears.
This overgrowth of bacteria produces a biofilm that traps scurf and debris along the eyelashes and harbours bacterial exotoxins along the lid margin. These exotoxins penetrate the eyelid tissue causing low-grade inflammation which adversely affects the tear glands, turning down tear production. Fewer tears containing fewer antibodies allow even more bacteria accumulate and a vicious cycle is established, leading to chronic irritation and dry eye.
Since the eyelids are difficult to clean, this overgrowth of bacteria, biofilm, scurf and debris can accumulate over many years, and the exotoxin-induced inflammation can cause significant damage to the eyelid and tear glands.
Now, thanks to BlephEx™, your eye doctor can precisely and safely, clean and exfoliate your eyelids and lashes, which will almost immediately improve your symptoms. More importantly, by completely removing the exotoxin-laden biofilm along the lid margin, your doctor can help you avoid the long-term inflammatory damage to your tear glands, preventing chronic dry eye syndrome.
How BlephEx™ Works?
BlephEx™ is a painless in-office procedure performed by your eyecare professional. A revolutionary new patented BlephEx™ hand piece is used to very precisely and carefully, spin a medical grade micro-sponge along the edge of your eyelids and lashes, removing scurf and debris and exfoliating your eyelids.
The patented micro-sponge is disposable and a clean one is used for each individual eyelid so bacteria is not spread between the lids. The eyes are rinsed well afterwards.
The procedure lasts about 6 -8 minutes and is well tolerated. Most patients simply report a tickling sensation. A numbing drop is usually placed in each eye prior to treatment for increased comfort.
After the procedure, the patient is instructed on how to maintain their clean eyelids with regular nightly lid hygiene. Since home treatments are only semi-effective, the procedure is typically repeated at 4-6 month intervals.
What is Demodex?
Demodex folliculorum is a species of face mite. Demodex folliculorum is one of the parasitic/commensal face mites that occur on people (other than Demodex brevis). Demodex derives from the Greek roots, demos- fat, and dex- worm. When large numbers of Demodex folliculorum are found on humans, the infestation is known as "demodicosis".
See photos below:
The Demodex mite:
Am I a Candidate for BlephEx™?
If you suffer from one or more of thefollowing symptoms, you may be suffering from blepharitis:
- Itching or scratchy eyes
- Foreign body sensation
- Dry eye
- Eye rubbing
Blepharitis can only be diagnosed by your eye doctor. Make sure to let your doctor know of your eye symptoms and inquire about BlephEx, the latest in eyecare technology for lid disease.
There are several conditions which may affect the severity of blepharitis such as dry eye disease, allergies, seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea, age, contact lens wear, poor immune status,rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogrens disease, and androgen deficiency.
If left untreated, blepharitis can lead directly or indirectly, to a number of eyelid diseases, such as:
Dry Eye Syndrome - Due to inflammatory down regulation of tears glands in the eyelids, and swelling with subsequent occlusion of tear excretory ducts. Treated with numerous artificial tears,cyclosporine drops, punctal plugs, night-time moisture chamber googles, bedtime lubricating ointmentsChalazions(styes)
- Occlusion of Meibomian excretory ducts causing painful swelling of Meibomian gland with leakage of highly inflammatoryoil components into surrounding tissue. Treated with hot compresses, lid scrubs,surgeryCicatricial Ectropion
- outward turning of the lower eyelid due to chronic lid inflammation and scarring down of the structural support tissue of the eyelid. Results in severe dry eye syndrome, corneal scarring and vision loss. Treated by artificial tears, ointments, hyaluronic acid injection and surgery. May necessitate a corneal transplant if scarring of the cornea becomes severe.Involutional Ectropian
- outward turning of the lower eyelid due to laxity and sagging of the lower lid caused by chronic inflammation and weakening of the eyelid support tissue. Treated by artificial tears, ointments and surgery.Cicatricial Entropion
- inward turning of the lower eyelid due to chronic lid inflammation and scarring down of the structural support tissue of the eyelid. Results in chronic irritation of the eye, corneal ulceration and scarring, and vision loss. Treated by surgery. May necessitate a corneal transplant if scarring of the cornea becomes severe.Involutional Entropian
- inward eversion of the lower eyelid due to laxity and sagging of the lower lid caused by chronic inflammation andweakening of the eyelid support tissue. Treated surgery. May necessitate a corneal transplant if scarring of the cornea becomes severe.Acquired Distichiasis
- an extra row of lashes that grow from Meibomian glands that have undergone aberrant differentiation to hair follicles due to chronic inflammation. Their close proximity to the cornea results in irritation, abrasion and sometimes scarring of the cornea. Treatmentis epilation of the lashes, either mechanical or using electrolysis.Trichiasis
- an inward turning of the lashes so that they abrade the corneal surface causing irritation, tearing, poor vision and occasionally corneal scarring. Caused by acute and chronic inflammation of the lid margin which disrupts the normal intra-lid anatomy surrounding the lash follicles. Treatment is epilation of the lashes, either mechanical or using electrolysis.