Hi Silverspur - unfortunately, blepharitis can take several months to get under control, even if you're taking antibiotics and doing the lid scrubs. Sorry to have to be the one to give you the bad news. It's a very frustrating disease. You have to figure out what works best for you. In my case, the things that I found worked well were the warm compresses and lid massages (the lid scrubs were too irritating to my eyes). I also used a preservative-free artificial tear whenever my eyes felt dry (which was about every second when I first got this disease!). These three things alone got rid of the dry eye symptoms, the sandy, gritty sensation, and that burning feeling I'd get when I would close my eyes to sleep at night. My eyes were still kind of red, though (I was ultimately diagnosed with ocular rosacea). But the redness eventually cleared up once I started taking a drug called doxycycline.
As for your question about the relationship between blepharitis and rosacea - many people who have rosacea also experience problems with their eyes (ocular rosacea). Blepharitis is just one of the symptoms of ocular rosacea. In fact, there's a specific kind of blepharitis that's associated with rosacea - it's called meibomitis. There are little glands called meibomian glands that line the inner rims of your upper and lower eyelids. These glands, just like the glands on other parts of your face, can become clogged with oil (especially in people who have rosacea). The function of the meibomian glands is to produce one of the layers of the tear film that keep your eyes moist. If the glands get clogged and can't function properly, you experience the symptoms of blepharitis (i.e. dry eyes, burning/stinging eyelids, gritty/sandy sensation, swollen eyelids, etc.). This is why it's so important to do the warm compresses - they melt the oil that's plugging up the glands. And the lid massages help push the oil out of the glands so the glands can function properly again. I hope this all makes sense.(?)
Thanks Jen2003. Looks like I may be in for a long haul.
Earlier I had problem with eye inflammation that took several months to clear. The inflammation was only clear a few weeks before belpharitis took over.
Hi again - do you know what the cause of your eye inflammation was? What were your symptoms at that point (before you had blepharitis)? I'm just curious because I was just diagnosed with ocular rosacea (last August) and I'm trying to piece everything together. I'm not sure if I got the rosacea first and then the blepharitis, or vice versa. Everything happened all so quickly. I had never had any eye problems before so I don't know where all of this came from. I don't have any facial symptoms of rosacea. I'm kind of confused right now and trying to learn as much as I can about the ocular form.
Don't get discouraged with the blepharitis - you'll get it under control eventually. I'm at the point now where I find that if I just leave my eyes alone, they feel and look their best. I still do the warm compresses and lid massages 2x/day, and I take the oral antibiotic doxycycline (100mg/day). This has all worked great for me so far. I don't put any drops of any kind in my eyes anymore, as this just seems to irritate them further.
They really did not know what the cause of my eye inflammation was but thought it was due to stress. Both my elderly parents passed away 4 weeks apart, both from broken hips and I stayed day/night with both of them.
The eye doctor told me usually the cause of eye inflammation is never known.
I have had Rosacea for several years on my face and it is now on my eyelids but not in my eyes according to my eye doctor earlier. The associate doctor said the Blepharitis was caused or runs concurrent with Rosacea due to both being bacteria on skin. I will find out next visit whether Rosacea has entered my eyes or not when I see my regular eye doctor.
Strange but I am one that never touches my eyes as a rule, just made a habit of keeping hands off. If I need to rub eyes for any reason I would use back of my hands.
Sure hope both of us will find a way to at least control the eye problems.
I have had real bad dry eyes for several years and have used eye drops. I am sensitive to eye drops with preservatives and was using eye drops with no preservatives. Not sure if the antibiotic has a preservative or not but it does sting my eyes.
So far I have not been on any oral antibiotics. I am allergic to so many meds, not sure if I would tolerate what you take or not.
Wow, that is quite stressful to lose both your parents in such a short time! I'm so sorry. But at least you have the comfort of knowing you were there to help them when they needed you most.
It's strange how our bodies cope with stress, and I wouldn't be surprised if your eye inflammation was a response to all this. I have been under a lot of pressure myself this past year, too, and maybe all my eye problems stem from this. Last spring I decided to leave a secure teaching position I'd had for four years to return to graduate school and finish a master's degree in molecular genetics I'd started back in 1997. It was a tough decision for me because I loved teaching and working with kids. But I had become so fascinated with the biotechnology field and really wanted to get into biomedical research. I don't regret the decision I made, but it's still stressful nonetheless (and I really miss the kids!). And, I'm not kidding - the week after I told my boss I was quitting is when all my eye problems started. Hmmmmm.......
So your ophthalmologist has told you that you don't have the ocular form of rosacea? That's good news. Now you can just focus on getting the blepharitis under control. You're using an antibiotic eye drop right now? Is it helping at all do you think? My eyes were too sensitive for the drops, so I had to stop taking them. The doxycycline has worked very well for me so far. But my doctor is going to start weaning me off of it at the end of December. I'm just wondering how my eyes will react to that. Hopefully I won't be back to where I started with all this! That is my worst nightmare right now.
Okay, keep me posted and let me know how you're doing with the blepharitis. I hope you start to experience some real improvement soon.
That is strange, eye problem starting a week after telling boss you were quitting. My eye inflammation showed up about a week after I returned home from staying with parents. I guess stress builds up and then pops out somewhere.
You did the right thing, follow your dreams otherwise you would always wonder about the biomedical research aspect. It is not easy, I am sure, to change midstream of a career, but, you will be glad. At least you have the teaching profession to fall back on should it be necessary or desire to.
I have been using erythromycin ointment in eyes for the past 14 days. Used the last yesterday and will see how eyes fare with hot compresses and the Systane eye drops. Will see dr. on Nov. 4 and should find out what the status is at that time.
Definitely will question my regular dr. whether I might have ocular rosacea or not. Guess I had better research ocular rosacea and see what I may be faced with in the future.
Will let you know how things go and you do the same, please.
Update regarding the Blepharitis. Saw eye doctor last week and I still have Blepharitis and do have Meibomitis (oil glands plugged and inflammed/infected).
Edge of eye lids are so sensitive these days and I am aware of the misery all the time.
Need to continue hot soaks and now using Tobradex Ointment at night, and take Doxycycline twice day. Have to use OcuSoft Eye Lid Scrubs and scrub inner edge of eye lid. This is no fun but has to be done. Still use Systane eye drops also.
Two weeks of hot soaks and Johnson Baby Shampoo eye lid scrubs had not helped at all. Oil glands are still plugged.
Doctor said the Doxycycline should help the facial Rosacea also. I have read that using a Q-Tip and Steril Water to wash inner edge of eye lid several times a day would keep them clean and nothing for the infection to feed on. Have you tried this procedure?
I am more than ready to get relief from this problem.
The anti-biotic drops most likely do have preservatives in them. Tobradex definitely does. In fact, the only anti-biotic drop that I know of that does not have preservatives in it is Vigamox. It is such a potent anti-biotic that it doesn't need preservatives because nothing can grow in it.
If the preservatives really irritate your eyes that much, you can get almost any eye medicine (ointment or drop) specially compounded to be preservative free like I do, from Leiter's pharmacy. (they're in San Jose, California but ship worldwide.)
I don't have blepharitis. But I do have very very bad meibomitis and I have terrible eye inflammation also. I have had these problems for the past two and a half years, and I find that the only things that help me are steroids. My eye dr said I am the most challenging patient he has ever had, because no matter what he does (and we have done EVERYTHING!) he cannot get my eye problems under control for more than a few weeks at a time. I have extremely severe dry eyes as well. Right now I am on preservative free dexamethasone ointment (the dex part of Tobradex) and pres. free fluorometholone drops (FML). And my eyes are still not as good as we would like them to be.
I have heard from a lot of people that Systane is very irritating to the eyes. It is not completely preservative free (it has a "disappearing" preservative that is supposed to disappear on contact with the eye). I have heard a lot of people say that it burns and stings their eyes very badly. My eye dr won't even let me try it, because my eyes are so sensitive. You might be better off just sticking with plain preservative free tears like Bion Tears or Thera Tears. I prefer the Bion Tears personally.
Marie - I was just thinking about you the other day and wondering how you were doing. I knew you had a doctor's appointment recently. So he told you that you have meibomitis? Any mention of ocular rosacea? I was glad to hear that he put you on doxycycline. I think this will help you a lot. I know you were worried about possible allergies to this drug - any reaction so far? I hope not. I haven't experienced any side effects yet and I've been taking it since mid August.
As for the lid scrubs - I used to do them (with baby shampoo) when I first got this disease, but I had to stop because they were just too irritating for my eyes. However, many other people have found them to be quite beneficial, so I don't know what to tell you about this. I've also tried the Q-Tip thing - again, without great success.
In my particular case, the ONLY things that helped me get my meibomitis symptoms under control were the warm compresses (hot soaks), lid massages, and preservative-free artificial tears (GenTeal Gel). I used to do the compresses/massages AT LEAST 4X/day. Now I do them only once a day (when I'm in the shower or bath) and I don't need to use artificial tears anymore. The doxycycline has been extremely helpful in getting the redness under control. I'm curious (and fearful!) to see what will happen when my doctor weans me off of the doxycycline next December (yikes!).
So the doctor put you on Tobradex along with the doxycycline? Do you know why he prescribed it? I was just curious. As Purple mentioned in her post, maybe you could have it made preservative-free like she does, if you think the preservatives are causing further irritation to your eyes.
I know I've said this before, but you have to be really patient with this disease because it takes a long time and a lot of hard work to get it under control. There were times when I'd get so frustrated that I would just want to give up on doing all the compresses, massages, etc. I wasn't seeing any results so what the heck was I doing all this silly stuff for?!!! And then I'd want to cry but I couldn't -literally, physically couldn't - because my eyes were so dry they wouldn't produce one single tear. How sad and frustrating is that? Once I did finally start to notice a tiny bit of improvement, I gained back my motivation. My progress was EXTREMELY, painfully slow. You can't expect to get better in just days or weeks. It will take months, so just be mentally prepared for this. Be very diligent about following a daily regiment and DON'T slack off, or you'll end up right back where you started!
Now, when I look back on those times, I just can't believe what I went through. It's wierd to finally be on the other side looking back. I wasn't sure if I was ever going to make it to this point. My eyes feel great, but I'm just wondering how long this will last. At least now I have the proper tools I need to deal with this disease, should the symptoms return.
I'm sure you'll start to notice some improvement soon - just hang in there! And keep me posted on what's happening, okay? I'd love to know when you start feeling better and getting some relief.
Purple - I've read a lot of your posts and have always appreciated your advice/knowledge. I'm sorry you have meibomitis, too. It's all so strange, these eye problems we all have. Seem to come out of nowhere. I sure hope your doctors figure out exactly what's going on with you soon. Two and a half years is a long time to be dealing with this! Good luck to you.
I'm glad to hear that you have been able to overcome this. It leaves the rest of us with some hope!
My eye dr wants to put me on doxycycline, but he is very reluctant to do it because I have really bad stomach problems and get very bad reactions to anti-biotics. He doesn't want to cause any more problems. My internist (who is also GI specialist) told him that he doesn't think my stomach can handle being on an anti-biotic long term. I have had GERD since I was 15 (turning 23 at the stroke of midnight tonight) and we have finally gotten it to the point where I am not sick from it too much anymore. I also had my gallbladder removed and have very bad diahrrea and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. So now that my stomach is under control, we're not going to mess with it. Plus, I have a very bad yeast sensitivity and I do not do well with anti-biotics. I am very upset that I can't take the doxy, because I know it would probably help me. But my eye dr is just practicing good medicine. He won't prescribe it.
I wish there was something that worked as well as doxy but without all the bad stomach side affects that I would get.
I also do the hot compresses (right now just once a day) and I use steroid drops and ointments, as well as refresh endura tears and bion tears. I am allergic to restasis.
Hi Purple - first of all, let me say that I hope you have a truly happy birthday! Get out there and have some fun. You deserve it! I wish I were turning only 23 (I'll be 37 next December).
I'm so glad to hear that your doctors are working together to help you through all of this. They obviously care about you and are genuinely concerned about seeing you get better. I guess you just have to put yourself in their hands, trust their advice and always hope for the best.
That's unfortunate your system is so sensitive to antibiotics. Isn't there any way around this? I can totally understand your not wanting to upset your stomach, now that you finally have the problems under control. By the way, have you happened to come across any literature that shows a link between GI problems (inflammatory bowel) and eye problems? It seems that I've read that somewhere before. Could you let me know if you have any information about this? I was just curious because I've had some intestinal problems myself in the past. They could never find anything wrong with me, though. And I even went through that whole barium X-ray thing a few years ago (NOT fun!). Also, can you tell me what GERD is?
What is it about your eyes that seems to bother you the most right now - is it the redness, dryness, pain, etc.? Are your eyes red all the time, or just when you wake up in the a.m.? Have your doctors ever considered that you might have ocular rosacea? I guess you mentioned before that your eyelids aren't really swollen (blepharitis), but your meibomian glands are inflamed - do the steroids and compresses seem to really help this? And you said you've been dealing with this for two and a half years - have you experienced ANY improvement during this period of time? Or is it getting worse? Sorry about all the questions - I guess I'm just curious about how my symptoms compare to other people's. And one more important thing - do you think your diet is linked to this in any way? This is all such a mystery to me.
Okay, have a GREAT b-day tomorrow! I hope it turns out to be a wonderful day for you. Bye!
Jen: thanks so much for sharing your experience. I plan on sticking to doing whatever is necessary to get this under control. I found on internet that calcium will cause doxycycline to not work. Suggested no calcium within 2 hours of taking or 2 hrs after. I wait 3 hrs after before taking the calcium. Doctor still says I do not have ocular rosacea, it is just the eyelids so far. I am usually sensitive to preservatives but so far I don't think the Tobrax is bothering my eyes. Just take it a day at a time. Doctor claims the Tobrax preservative will not bother me like the eye drops I had used in the past. Not sure why. My be due to the predisone type stuff in them. Doctor put me on Tobrax, said it was stronger since the other ointment did not work. They start with mild treatment and then go for more powerful drugs. I still have infection in the oil glands as well as still plugged.
Purple: I too am very sensitive to antibiotics, causes yeast and I am usually allergic to antibiotics. So far I do not have a problem but have only been on the doxycycline a week. To avoid yeast problems I found that applying a yeast cream on external area and travel on inside plus using hair dryer each visit will keep yeast from taking hold in areas you are not interested in it doing so. Also taking acidolphus (sp) helps too. Eye drops or ointments that contain predisone or similar will cause cataracts after using for a long time, according to info I have found. I also have IBS with opposite problem from yours.
Jen & Purple: please continue updating on your condition. We can gleam from each other.
Jen, we've talked about my situation with blepharitis before, so I thought I'd offer an update.
I finally got off of the Accutane and started the doxycycline last Monday. I'm hoping to see improvements within the next few weeks. It's my last hope, so I'm terrified over if it doesn't help. But I'll deal with that if/when I have to.
I'm still really only able to get the compresses in twice every day. I just can't seem to fit any more into my schedule. Hopefully, twice a day is enough with the doxycycline.