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Roni M Shtein, MD
Section Editor
Jonathan Trobe, MD
Deputy Editor
Janet L Wilterdink, MD


Blepharitis is a chronic eye condition characterized by inflammation of the eyelids. Blepharitis is commonly evaluated by both primary care clinicians and ophthalmologists. One survey in the United States indicates that symptoms associated with blepharitis are quite common [1].

The most frequent patient complaint is of ongoing eye irritation, often accompanied by eye redness. The chronicity of blepharitis is punctuated by intermittent exacerbations.


Classification of blepharitis is sometimes based on the composition of tears and meibomian gland secretions. Although such classification is important for research into the etiology and treatment of blepharitis, this classification is not particularly helpful in providing clinical care. For the purpose of this review, we will discuss blepharitis according to its predominant anatomic location, as anterior or posterior.

Anterior blepharitis — Anterior blepharitis, less common than posterior, is characterized by inflammation at the base of the eyelashes (picture 1). Patients with anterior blepharitis, compared to those with posterior blepharitis, are more likely to be female and younger [2]. Two variants of anterior blepharitis are identified: staphylococcal and seborrheic.

In staphylococcal anterior blepharitis, colonization of the eyelids by staphylococci leads to formation of fibrinous scales and crust around the eyelashes.


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Mar 9, 2016.
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