Blepharitis is a chronic and seemingly uncontrollable eye condition. It typically occurs when the tiny oil glands located at the base of your eyelashes become clogged.
The oils from these oil glands are essential for lubrication, moisture, and also for fighting off infections.
Blepharitis, as seen below, can be located on the upper or lower eyelid. Sometimes “crusties” develop which is a sign of infection.
Blepharitis can be very frustrating and uncomfortable to deal with. If you have ever experienced it, you probably know how difficult it can be to keep under control. It is chronic and can really take a big blow to your self-esteem (since everyone looks at your eyes for day-to-day conversations).
Even after seeing a doctor, many people still cannot seem to control their blepharitis despite the cocktail of antibiotics they are put on.
And to make things worse, antibiotics are only a temporary fix (if they work). You really should try to avoid taking too many antibiotics on a regular basis because they wreak havoc on your digestive system.
The good news is, blepharitis can be successfully treated with natural remedies.
Although. it’s always a smart idea to see a doctor first and then look into natural treatments.
With that said, let’s take a look at what blepharitis sufferers have successfully used to treat their condition.
Image credit to Family O’Abé on Flickr. Creative commons.
Castor oil is one of the most common and effective natural remedies for blepharitis.
Castor oil has been used for centuries for its medicinal and therapeutic properties. It’s commonly used in many cosmetic products, soaps, and massage oils.
In fact, if your doctor diagnoses you with blepharitis, he may give you a prescription that actually contains castor oil. It’s well known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
But how can castor oil help your blepharitis?
Blepharitis typically has 3 primary issues: dryness, inflammation, and infection.
Castor oil works well for so many people because it addresses these three issues. The unsaturated fatty acids (oil) helps your eyelids retain moisture since the glands in your eyelid (Meibomian glands) aren’t working like they should.
The dryness causes irritation which makes it itchy, red, and painful. This is inflammation. And guess what? Castor oil fights off inflammation.
And lastly, since your Meibomian glands secrete oils that help prevent infections, it is common for people with blepharitis outbreaks to also get an infection in the area. This is marked by “crusties” and your eyelid becomes sealed shut–especially in the morning.
Castor oil actually has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. So when applied, it can fight off infections and keep them from coming back.
How to Use Castor Oil For Blepharitis
Before you even consider looking for a castor oil to buy, you MUST make sure that it is cold-press and hexane free. Hexane is a substance commonly used to chemically extract the oil from castor seeds.
The problem with this is that hexane, if used over time, can cause blindness.
If you want to play it on the safe side, I found a cold-pressed hexane-free castor oil for you here on Amazon.
Ok now let’s move on to getting rid of that blepharitis for you! Here is what you should do every night before bed:
- Once you have your hexane-free castor oil, you will need a simple dropper bottle. Some people claim to just use cotton swabs, but I think a dropper bottle is a better option because you don’t have to touch the eyelid with another potential irritant like cotton.
- Pour your castor oil into the dropper bottle and carefully put 1-2 drops on your eyelid. Do your best to blink several times to spread the oil around.
- Put on a sleep mask or something similar. This will keep you from touching or itching your eyes while you sleep which can make things way worse. Make sure to disinfect the sleep mask every day when you have a bad infection, and every few days for normal use with something like tea tree. Then thoroughly rinse afterwards with water.
- Continue doing this every night even when you don’t have a blepharitis flare up. This will prevent it from showing up in the future.
Even though most kinds of honey have antibacterial properties due to the naturally present hydrogen peroxide, Manuka honey contains substances that make it an even more powerful antibacterial agent. It contains a substance called methylglyoxal (MG), which is responsible for its ability to fight off infections.
Not only does Manuka honey help fight infections, it will also help retain moisture because it is thick and viscous. Many people have said they’ve had considerable success in treating their blepharitis. If you want to give this treatment a try, this is what you need to do:
- Find the most potent Manuka honey you can find (between 16-20+). It’s going to be expensive, but you’re not eating it, so it should last a while. And if it works, it’s certainly worth it!
- Gently apply a small amount of honey to a portion of the affected area. Wait 30 minutes to see if there is a negative reaction (everyone is different). If your aggravated skin tolerates it, apply a thin layer to the affected area.
- Leave the honey there for around 10 minutes and wash it off.
- You can also experiment with leaving a small amount of Manuka honey on there overnight. Start with a small amount and work your way up—that way you don’t use too much.
You may not get results right away but countless people have claimed that it works very quickly. Although anecdotal, you can deny cases like this:
“So, my wife, Julie, has been dealing with blepharitis for 14 months now. She went to an allergist, a dermatologist and aesthetician to seek treatment. She tried creams, ointments, steroid creams, air purifiers and vitamin therapy. On a few occasions, it went away and then came back even worse. Needless to say, she was getting enormously frustrated that this condition might go on forever since nothing that the doctors prescribed was working. I started looking for alternatives for her and came across a few people touting the claims of Manuka honey. We went to Whole Foods and bought the most potent Manuka honey we could find (+16). Julie put it on for 10 minutes at a time and left it on lightly overnight and, after one night, the upper eyelid inflammation and rash was GONE! After 48 hours, the entire thing was gone. She burst into tears after the first morning and is just absolutely stunned by how fast it worked and how effortless the application is. No side effects, no danger of a chemical in the eye…just all natural pure manuka honey did the trick.”
~Posted by Karl on Earth Clinic
Baby Shampoo & Tea Tree Oil
A lot of people also swear by tear-free baby shampoo. Baby shampoo is designed to be very gentle and allergen free. It is perfect for blepharitis because it can clean out the surface of the Meibomian glands without aggravating your blepharitis even more. Plus it moisturizes the eyelid.
If you were to take this route, I would add 4-7 drops of tea tree oil to the lotion container (make sure you mix it up). This will help when your blepharitis is causing an infection.
The application is pretty simple: just put some of your baby shampoo in a small bowl of warm water, mix it up, and gently apply it to your eyelid. Once you feel that you have cleaned your eyelids enough, rinse it off with warm water. Do this every night before bed.
Note: Before using tea tree, test it on a discrete location. Then monitor the area for 24 hours to see if your skin has a negative reaction to it. In rare cases, some people’s skin does not tolerate tea tree well.
Tea Tree Oil Mixed With Coconut Oil
I’m guessing by this point, you are starting to notice a trend right?
All of the remedies so far have the ability to moisturize and fight infection. And that is just what tea tree oil and coconut oil does.
Tea tree oil is amazing for fighting off infections. It is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. Very few natural products, or even pharmaceutical drugs for that matter, have the ability to fight off all types of infections.
Ok, so tea tree oil can be a great treatment, but why coconut oil?
Coconut oil is composed of medium chain fatty acids. When applied to your skin, these fatty acids promote smooth and soft skin by helping it retain moisture. Make sure you purchase a coconut oil that is cold pressed like this one to avoid potentially harmful chemicals.
When combined, these two products can be a powerful remedy to prevent and fight off blepharitis.
To make this remedy, all you have to do is mix 1 tbsp of coconut oil with 2 drops of tea tree oil in a small container. Gently rub the mixture on the affected area before bed.
Continue to apply this mixture to your eye until the blepharitis clears up and continue this for the next 3-4 days to make sure it is fully gone.
Note: Before using coconut oil, test it on a discrete location. Then monitor the area for 24 hours to see if your skin has a negative reaction to it. In rare cases, some people’s skin does not tolerate coconut oil well.
Get a Thorough Allergy Test
One of the proposed causes of blepharitis is allergies and sensitivities that manifest in the eyes. If you are serious about getting rid of your blepharitis once and for all, this is certainly worth a try. Because if you find the root cause, you will never have to worry about getting it again.
Here is a list of common allergies or sensitivities that could be causing your blepharitis:
- Histamine excess
- Gluten intolerance
- Chemicals found in shampoos, beauty products, soap fragrances
- Other food intolerances or allergies such as sugar or alcohol
The best way to find out if you have any of these would be to go to your doctor and request that they perform an extensive allergy test that covers food sensitivities and environmental chemicals.
Could Antibiotics Be The Cause?
When you take antibiotics, it completely changes the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut. Sometimes this can lead to an increase in allergic interactions with certain foods. To fix this, you may want to consider taking a probiotic to restore your gut’s healthy bacteria.
If you have taken antibiotics for a long period of time, you may have to get another allergy test because the large change in your gut’s microbiome can potentially cause you to develop new allergies.
The point is, since allergies or sensitivities could be causing your blepharitis, and your gut health could be causing those allergies, it would be a good idea to make your gut is in tip-top shape.
Get Enough Omega 3s
I am sure you have heard this before, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to get enough omega-3s in your diet. Omega-3s help fight off physical and mental disease, help lubricate your joints, and keep your skin soft and healthy.
Getting adequate omega-3s in your diet can help prevent your eyelids from drying out and help control inflammation. It also could help keep your Meibomian glands moist which may prevent them from getting clogged—but that is just my personal belief.
While it may not be the cure to your blepharitis, it could certainly help.
You can get omega-3s from these sources:
- Salmon (wild only)
- Krill oil
- Fish Oil
- Flaxseed Oil (however it does not contain much DHA which is the more important component of omega-3s)
Note: the daily recommended intake of omega-3 is 500mg but some take up to 1000 mg when they are taking it to cure a condition.
When it comes to naturally treating blepharitis, consistency is key. Whichever natural remedy you choose, it is important that you stick to the treatment until the blepharitis is gone (and continue for several more days afterward). Some people even continue to use their blepharitis natural treatment on a daily basis to prevent it from coming back.
But daily use of a natural remedy may be unnecessary if your blepharitis has an underlying cause that is related to an allergy or chemical sensitivity.
With that said, I wish you the best of luck with getting rid of your blepharitis. I know how much it can take a toll on your self-esteem and social life.
I truly hope that you find this article useful and it can be your guide to finally becoming free of blepharitis!
If you have any other suggestions for blepharitis sufferers, feel free to comment below. Every bit of information helps.