Background: The aim of this article is to present a consensus on the appropriate identification and management of patients with blepharitis based on expert clinical recommendations for 4 representative case studies and evidence from well-designed clinical trials.
Methods: The case study recommendations were developed at a consensus panel meeting of Canadian ophthalmologists and a guest ophthalmologist from the U.K., with additional input from family doctors and an infectious disease/medical microbiologist, which took place in Toronto in June 2006. A MEDLINE search was also conducted of English language articles describing randomized controlled clinical trials that involved patients with blepharitis.
Results: Blepharitis involving predominantly the skin and lashes tends to be staphylococcal and (or) seborrheic in nature, whereas involvement of the meibomian glands may be either seborrheic, obstructive, or a combination (mixed). The pathophysiology of blepharitis is a complex interaction of various factors, including abnormal lid-margin secretions, microbial organisms, and abnormalities of the tear film. Blepharitis can present with a range of signs and symptoms, and is associated with various dermatological conditions, namely, seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea, and eczema. The mainstay of treatment is an eyelid hygiene regimen, which needs to be continued long term. Topical antibiotics are used to reduce the bacterial load. Topical corticosteroid preparations may be helpful in patients with marked inflammation.
Interpretation: Blepharitis can present with a range of signs and symptoms, and its management can be complicated by a number of factors. Expert clinical recommendations and a review of the evidence on treatment supports the practice of careful lid hygiene, possibly combined with the use of topical antibiotics, with or without topical steroids. Systemic antibiotics may be appropriate in some patients.