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Eyelid infections

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Your eyelid could be a potential site of infection which leads to a wide range of inflammatory symptoms like swelling, pain, itchiness, etc. It needs medical care to avoid complications associated with your eyes in the future.


Types of Eyelid infections: An overview


Blepharitis is the most common condition that involves chronic inflammation in the edges of the eyelid. In case of anterior blepharitis, the infection occurs in the frontal outer portion of the eyelid where eyelashes are attached whereas posterior blepharitis occurs in the inner corner of the eyelid.

Symptoms: Crusting of eyelashes, flakiness/shading of skin near eyelids, burning and irritation in eyes, dryness in eyes, sensitivity to light, swollen and redness in eyelids

Causes: It could be caused by bacterial invasion of the eyelids, allergies, blockage in oil glands of eye lid (posterior blepharitis), known as meibomian gland dysfunction, and inflammation in the blood vessels on eyelids.

Eyelid Cellulitis

Cellulitis of the eyelid is an infection caused by the bacteria residing around the eyelids. There are two types of eyelid cellulitis, viz. preseptal cellulitis and orbital cellulitis. The former is more common and is mild as the infection occurs in the skin around the eyelid and does not extend into the eyes. Orbital cellulitis is a serious form of eyelid infection which spreads in the back of the eyes within very close proximity to the brain.

Symptoms: Swelling, pain, soreness, redness, itching, burning, irritation, etc. in eyes, blurred vision, watery eyes are common symptoms of eyelid cellulitis. Orbital cellulitis induces other symptoms like high fever, limited movement of eyes, bulging of eyes and reduced vision.

Causes: Skin conditions like psoriasis, fungal infections, eczema, insect bites, bacterial infections, trauma to eyelids, etc. lead to preseptal cellulitis while orbital cellulitis usually occurs from an infection either in the eyelid or from a secondary infection in teeth, sinuses, or face.



Chalazion occurs due to an inflammation in the meibomian gland, which further leads to plugging of oils inside the glands. The gland can also break, releasing the oil in the surrounding tissues of the eyelid which causes infection.  

Symptoms: You can see a localized hard lump over your eyelid which is the chalazion. Your lower and upper eyelids will swell and turn red. You might or might not sense pain.

Risk factors: The oil gland can get obstructed if you touch or rub your eyelids with unclean dirty hands. A localized infection is further triggered by the bacteria occurring around the eyelids.


Diagnosis and Treatment of Eyelid infections

Your eye specialist will check the history of the symptoms and occurrence and seek for general information of your health problems that might be contributing to the eyelid infections. 

Your eyes will be physically examined and special focus will be on the eyelids, eye lashes, oil glands, tear ducts and the surrounding areas. Your doctor would use a slip lamp to get clear view of the eye structures and visual acuity test would also be performed. Discharge from your eyes might be collected for laboratory inspection.

Treatment for eyelid infections depends on the type and severity of the infection. In most cases, doctors prescribe oral antibiotics or antibiotic eye drops to combat the infection. The infections usually go away on own when you take proper care at home. You need to keep your eyes clean by rinsing them gently with a clean soft cloth/cotton soaked in lukewarm water. Follow the instructions given by your doctor to get over the infection in your eyelids.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: July 02, 2014