Has it ever happened to you that the sensitive eyelids got itchy, reddish, crusty, scaly, swollen, grainy, and irritating? And it can be accompanied by eyestrain and blurred vision. In the world of medicine and diseases, it is commonly referred to as Blepharitis. If you are wondering about the ever notorious link between blepharitis and stress, then given below is an account of this enigmatic relationship.
Blepharitis is the chronic, non-contagious infection or inflammation of the eyelids, and particularly affects the edges or base of the eyelids and usually results because of the clogging of the oil glands of the eyelids. This condition isn’t really threatening to the eyesight and doesn’t cause any permanent change but can sometimes result in some minor changes in the eyelids, in the area of inflammation. It is also a common cause of lens irritation due to which people usually stop wearing lenses. Some recent studies and research have also shown a relationship between blepharitis and stress, which is itself an unexpected link. Here we have compiled data after a deep analysis to give you a brief overview of this situation.
According to ophthalmologists, eyelids inflammation and infection is quite common in people. Studies show that round about 37 to 47% of eye patients have usually faced this problem once in life. Although it is an ordinary disease yet usually mistreated due to a gigantic record of other diseases that show the same symptoms. A survey showed that almost 34 million people had blepharitis but only 4.5 million were diagnosed and treated for it. Moreover, this condition is more prevalent in the terms of frequency and the extent of symptoms in younger people than older ones. Scientific advancements in the medicinal field have enabled man to counter this disease efficiently before harming the eye or eyelid.
What causes blepharitis to flare up?
The exact cause of this disease isn’t known but despite being non-contagious it can be transferred to another person. Human skin naturally has bacteria but too much of it can easily result in inflammation or infection. The lower part of the eyelashes and eyelids is a tricky area to wash and result in accumulated bacteria. Moreover, sometimes oil glands can get blocked. Bacteria also cause infection, especially the one that causes dandruff of the face and eyebrows.
This disease is fairly associated with the malfunctioning of the Meibomian gland. In 1977, studies proposed that an abnormal tear film is formed that might trigger this disease. This formation of false tear film results in the loss of lipid count or barrier and develops dry eyes. there can be other possible causes for this inflammation, which are given as followings:
- Dry eyes are more susceptible to such inflammation since scaly skin harbors the bacteria. Usually, both happen adjacently and makes it ambiguous for the ophthalmologist to judge which disease triggered the other.
- Rosacea, which is a condition characterized by the redness and puffiness of the face.
- Fungal infection.
- Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).
- Parasite (mites or lice).
- Allergic reaction to cosmetics.
- May be related to dry skin infections like eczema, dermatitis, and others.
- Sensitivity to a particular medicine.
Blepharitis and stress
Stress is the reaction of the body to the external or internal stimulus that has crossed the threshold value of the human system, below which the body endures the change. It can be psychological or anatomical when it comes to internal stress and environmental changes and devices as external stress. It commonly results in hormonal and psychological changes that might conclude at some alarming medicinal condition.
Stress is the new normal of this century, swinging each and everyone within its reach to form a gigantic tornado of hectic and tedious lifestyle. Different factors including the economy, livelihood, domestic issues, and life traumas put people in depression, anxiety, and overstress. The tragedy is that it doesn’t really end here, in fact, it manifests itself in the form of physical scenarios including headaches, obesity, hypertension, weight gain, depression, and many more.
A survey by the World health organization (WHO) shows that patients with chronic diseases are more susceptible to psychological complications than others. Plus the pharmaceutics used for the treatment may contribute to the hormonal changes that contribute to the depression i.e. corticosteroids.
Excessive use of digital screens results in stress on the eyes that may trigger some dryness. Computers, tabs, cell phones, television, and other digital screens make people vulnerable to dryness at a young age with compromised eyesight. it also results in decreased blinking that resultantly causes irregular coverage of the tear film. Due to its meibomian glands secretes an abnormal amount of lipids and oil, blocking the gland and thus causing inflammation.
A sleep-deprived system can never tackle the bacterial growth, neither on the anterior nor at the exterior side. Sleep cycle below the requisite hours makes the immune system vulnerable to bacterial attacks and other infections. Thus, stress and loneliness impact the ability of a human body to recognize and fight the foreign particles efficiently. Thus nutrition and mental health along with a good lifestyle are necessary to keep the immune system working perfectly. Although everyone has bacteria and mites in that region yet its overgrowth is what actually triggers this condition. Doctors have found a direct relation between Blepharitis and stress, and recovery time also increases with psychological stress.
Thus a proper treatment regarding stress is required to deal with the unseen reasons for this disease. Stress targeted counseling with recommended yoga, exercises, diet, acupuncture, good sleeping routine, stress-relieving teas, and habits also work wonders. Thus from cleansing to stress management, inflammation ointment to improving tear quality, all aspects apparent and underlying that can lead to inflammation or infection should be covered while treating such ocular medicinal situations.
Can stress and anxiety cause dry eyes?
Studies have shown that most dry eye and other ocular diseases are also triggered and intensified by the stress. Although we have listed a number of other causes yet one of the most important is stress (physical and psychological). Ophthalmologists have observed that stress greatly affects the dryness of eyes and the dry eyes patients often register over stress.
It was also documented in a scientific article in the journal Cornea, that the lack of sleep that obviously triggers anxiety, restlessness, stress, and depression, increases the chances of dry eyes. Not only this myokymia, otherwise commonly known as tic, is also known to be triggered by stress and tensions. Simple massage and a good sleep cycle help to improve the involuntary twitch of the muscle.
Not to mention, research published in 2013 concluded that people with blepharitis tend to be in more depression and tension than non-blepharitis persons. Moreover, this depressed state is more intense at the start, right after the diagnosis, than later some time. Thus, it was concluded that blepharitis and stress are inter-related deeply.
Vexing symptoms of this medical condition include:
- Itchy eyelids which can result in the fall of lashes in the eyes
- Scaly skin near eyelashes and crusting of the eyelids
- Reddish eyelids
- Blurred vision
- Oily eyelids
- Sensitivity to light
- Watery eyes with more blinking
- Scaly skin around the eyes
- Red cornea due to irritability
- Bulbar and palpebral hyperemia
It’s important to observe any recent change in shampoo, bedding, laundry soap, cleanser, or cosmetics.
Types of Blepharitis
Blepharitis is classified into two types depending upon the location and cause of the inflammation. Those types are as following:
In anterior Blepharitis, inflammation manifests itself on the outer part of the eyelid. Staphylococcal blepharitis, a bacterial strain, and seborrheic blepharitis which is a bacteria that causes dandruff on the skin especially near eyebrows, eyelids, and face, can be especially responsible for such inflammations. Moreover, anterior blepharitis affects the follicles of the eyelashes. But the over quantity of this bacteria cause the eyelids to react badly and produce inflammation.
Sometimes allergies and mite on the eyelashes can cause anterior blepharitis.
It is a more common type of Blepharitis. In posterior disease, Inflammation occurs on the inner side of the eyelid (infect the Meibomian glands that secrete the oily liquid to cover the eye to reduce the friction). This type is characterized by the abnormal secretion by oil glands, also known as meibomian blepharitis. This results in the burgeoning production of bacteria as that oily environment suits bacterial reproduction. But this can also result from dandruff and dry skin.
Sometimes a little carelessness in the use of fake eyelashes can lead to inflammation of eyelids. So while using such eyelashes extensions and fake eyelashes, one has to take extra regulatory measures to avoid such incidents. So mascara or some lash tint is way better than taking a risk for blepharitis patients.
A proper hygienic routine is required to tackle this disease, with strict cleaning. If the soap is reacting or giving you a hard time tackling the disease then make it sure that you clean the eyelid with warm water and cloth by swiping in the direction of the lid. This will clean the blockages in the oil glands. Routine eyelid gentle wash, daily bath, and using antibacterial products, especially moisturizing cosmetics help to keep blepharitis at bay. If blepharitis and stress are found associated then psychological counseling is also recommended.
Washing eyelids with baby shampoo and treating them with coconut oil or some other moisturizing stuff also proves to be advantageous. Moreover, there are several sorts of wipes in the market that help to reduce mites. Studies say that all humans have eyelash mites but unless the condition gets aggravated by the overproduction, one doesn’t need to take any action against it. If you want to know more about treatment then we recommend you to read our detailed article regarding this subject.
Read the article about the natural treatment of Blepharitis: Blepharitis cure honey
What happens if blepharitis is left untreated?
This disease has several associated complications that can worsen the situation. Scaly and dry skin of eyelashes may result in the fall out of eyelashes, depigmentation, or abnormal growth of lashes. Edges of eyelash may turn inward or outward and can cause scarring over the eyelids. Moreover, excess tearing and irritation in eyes as the overproduction of oil and dandruff is also observed, which can form a film that restricts the proper and appropriate moisturization of eyelids.
There is also the possibility of developing stye, which is an infection on the skin of eyelashes and results in a swollen lump that’s visible even on the surface of the eyelids. Continuous irritation can result in a chronic pink eye and, in the worse cases, injury to the cornea. Sometimes oil gland gets blocked and infected, which results in a hard swollen bump with red eyelids. Other possible complications, that can arise when it is left untreated, include Salzmann’s nodular dystrophy, loss of cilia, the formation of chalazia, hordeola, corneal ulceration, and vascularization.
In the case of Blepharitis, a continuous checkup with careful modifying the treatment is what really makes the difference. Although recent advancements have done a lot in the medical field yet a certain treatment isn’t recommended regarding this disease. So cleanliness and an optimum lifestyle make the condition less severe.