Your eyelids are your body’s built-in defense system for helping to protect your eyes. Blinking your eyelids helps sweep away dust, sand, pollen or other debris from your eyes. It also helps spread moisture across the surface of your eyes, too. If your lids aren’t healthy, they aren’t effective in keeping your eyes healthy either. Here are three common eyelid disorders to be aware of.
If your eyelids are inflamed, it could be possible that you have blepharitis. This can occur when oil and bacteria have accumulated on the edge of the eyelid near the base of your eyelashes. Aside from inflammation, symptoms of blepharitis often include:
Blepharitis could cause a stye. Often, you can treat it at home by applying warm compresses, and gently cleansing your eyelids with a moist washcloth and a small amount of baby shampoo. If needed, your eye doctor can prescribe an antibiotic ointment to treat it.
Also called a hordeolum, a stye is a red, sensitive bump that can form on the edge of your eyelid. It is a bacterial infection that develops in an eyelash follicle, oil gland or sweat gland. A stye will typically heal on its own without treatment. You can help it heal faster by applying warm, moist compresses to it several times a day. If the stye does not heal within one to two weeks, is extremely painful or interferes with your vision, call your eye doctor because you may need antibiotics to treat it.
If your eyelid repetitively blinks, twitches or flutters, you could have a blepharospasm. This is an involuntary spasm of the muscle in your eyelid. It can affect the rest of the face, which makes it different from a temporary twitch caused by stress or lack of sleep deprivation that usually goes away on its own. However, if it doesn’t resolve with rest, it’s crucial that you make an appointment with your eye doctor to rule out a more serious form of blepharospasm like:
- Benign essential blepharospasm, which could cause functional blindness; or
- Hemifacial blepharospasm, which could simply be an irritation of facial nerves, but it could also be a warning sign of a brain tumor
If you have concerns over whether you have one of these three eyelid disorders or other eye health problem, don’t put off treatment. Call Valley Eyecare Center at (602) 955-2700 to schedule an appointment with one of our eye doctors.