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5 Common Signs of Blepharitis in Kids

5 Common Signs of Blepharitis in Kids

Blepharitis is a common eye condition that happens when the eyelid margins are inflamed and irritated. While the condition tends to be more common among older people, it often affects kids, too.

At ABC Children's Eye Specialists, our team helps kids relieve blepharitis symptoms by treating the underlying cause. In this post, learn what symptoms go hand-in-hand with blepharitis, so you can help your child get treatment as soon as possible.

Blepharitis basics

Blepharitis is common, but fortunately, unlike pink eye (conjunctivitis), it’s not contagious. The condition can be divided into two primary types, depending on the part of the lid margin that’s affected.

Anterior blepharitis affects the outer lid margin — the thin line where your eyelashes are located. This type of blepharitis is commonly associated with allergic reactions, bacterial buildup, or even infestations of tiny mites.

Posterior blepharitis affects the inner margin of your lids near the surface of your eye. This part of your eyelid contains tiny oil glands that lubricate your eyes and skin. Posterior blepharitis happens when these tiny glands are clogged, promoting bacterial growth and irritation.

Signs and symptoms of blepharitis

While some symptoms of blepharitis are obvious, they can be subtle,too, especially in kids. Knowing these key signs can help you identify lid problems early so they can be treated, preventing the potential for a more serious infection or eye irritation.

1. Red or watery eyes

Eyelid irritation can trigger irritation on the eye surface, too, causing your child’s eyes to appear pinkish. Often, the eyes react to irritation by producing a lot of tears to try to soothe the eyes and wash away the irritant.

2. Eye itching, burning, or grittiness

Irritation in the lid margins can also lead to uncomfortable symptoms, like persistent eye itching or burning sensations. Your child may complain of grittiness or “sandiness” in their eyes, or they may feel like they have an object touching their eye.

3. Red or swollen eyelids

Not surprisingly, increased lid irritation can lead to inflammation along the lid margin and sometimes extending into the lid itself. Over time, inflammation leads to redness and swelling, both of which can be exacerbated by continual rubbing.

4. Flaking skin around the eyes

Persistent lid irritation can affect the skin around your child’s eyes, too, causing flaking around the edges of the eyelids. These bits of skin can become lodged in the lid margin and even increase bacterial growth and inflammation.

5. Crusted eyelashes or loss of lashes

Excess tearing, flaking skin, and other debris combine to form a sticky crust that lines the lid margins. This crust can be especially evident in the morning when your child wakes up. Over time, inflammation, infection, and rubbing can lead to a loss of eyelashes, too.

Treating blepharitis

Blepharitis treatment depends in part on the type of blepharitis your child has and the severity of their symptoms. Proper lid hygiene with gentle daily washing can help relieve many symptoms and even prevent blepharitis from recurring. 

Warm compresses can help reduce inflammation and unclog blocked oil ducts, as well. Lubricating eye drops relieve eye redness, itching, burning, and grittiness sensations. When blepharitis is associated with mites or other issues, like dandruff, special shampoos can help.

For more severe irritation and infection, we may prescribe medicine to reduce inflammation or destroy bacteria. During treatment, your child should avoid wearing contact lenses and using eye makeup to give the lids time to heal and to prevent complications like corneal irritation.

Tailored care for your child’s eyes

Clear vision and healthy eyes are important for your child’s comfort and their, growth, and development. Our team is ready to work with you to help your child maintain their eye health with exams and treatments tailored to each child’s unique needs.

To learn more about blepharitis or to schedule a routine eye exam, call our offices to book an appointment with the team at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists in  Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona, today.

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