#SeeTheMusic and More – Blepharitis and the performing artist

Blepharitis and the performing arts professional

As the UK’s only performing arts eye care specialist practice and the only optician registered with BAPAM, we understand the negative impact eye conditions can have on careers. 

We have assisted performing arts professionals such as musicians, dancers, singers, presenters, and technicians, such as sound engineers and AV technicians, in seeing the music.

We will all experience vision problems at some point in our lives. In most cases, these problems are caused by refractive errors, which affect how the eyes focus light rather than being caused by an eye disease or disorder. However, many of us can be affected by eye diseases or disorders. Performing arts professionals experience various eye conditions that we examine in this blog series. 

Blepharitis

In the medical world, blepharitis (blef-uh-RYE-tis) refers to irritated, swollen eyelids. It is the most common eye disorder. Despite being a chronic (ongoing) condition, it can often be managed by patients themselves with the advice of an eye care professional.

Blepharitis typically affects both eyes along the edges of the eyelids. Tiny oil glands at the base of the eyelashes become inflamed. Redness and inflammation are caused by clogged pores. Blepharitis can be caused by several diseases and conditions.

Symptoms of blepharitis include;

  • Having itchy eyes
  • The eyes feel gritty
  • Eyelashes that are flaky or crusty
  • Eyelids sticking together on waking in the morning
  • Feeling of burning in the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Watery eyes

Causes of Blepharitis

Blepharitis is usually caused by an excess of bacteria on your eyelids near the base of your eyelashes. Bacteria on your skin is normal, but too much bacteria can be harmful. Blepharitis can also occur if the oil glands in your eyelids get clogged or irritated. 

The exact cause of blepharitis isn’t clear. It might be associated with one or more of the following:

  • The precise cause of blepharitis is unknown. It could be related to one or more of the following:
  • Seborrheic dermatitis is characterised by scalp and brow dandruff.
  • clogged or dysfunctional oil glands in your eyelids
  • Rosacea is a skin ailment that causes facial redness.
  • Allergies, such as responses to eye medicines, contact lens solutions, or eye makeup
  • Lice or eyelash mites
  • Eyes that are dry

Complications

If you have blepharitis, you might also have:

  • Eyelash issues. Blepharitis can cause your eyelashes to shed and grow unnaturally (misdirected eyelashes), or lose colour.
  • Skin concerns on the eyelids Long-term blepharitis can cause scarring on the eyelids. Or the eyelid margins may turn inward or outward.
  • Excessive weeping or dryness of the eyes. Abnormal oily secretions and other debris shed from the eyelids, such as dandruff flaking, can accumulate in your tear film — the water, oil, and mucus mix that creates tears.
  • An abnormal tear film makes it difficult to keep your eyes moist. This can irritate your eyes and produce dryness or excessive tears.
  • Stye. Styes are infections that form near the base of the eyelashes. As a result, you’ll have an uncomfortable bump on the edge of your eyelid. A stye is most commonly seen on the surface of the eyelid.
  • Chalazion. A chalazion happens when one of the tiny oil glands at the edge of the eyelid, right behind the eyelashes, becomes clogged. This obstruction promotes inflammation of the gland, causing the eyelids to enlarge and redden. This may clear up or become a firm, non-tender lump.
  • Pink eye that is persistent. Pink eye can be brought on by blepharitis (conjunctivitis).
  • Corneal abrasion. A sore on your cornea can develop as a result of constant irritation from irritated eyelids or misdirected eyelashes. A corneal infection might be exacerbated by a lack of tears.

Performing Arts Professionals and Blepharitis

Many performing artists are at particular risk of developing Blepharitis due to its close links with dry eye disease. Many eye specialists and dermatologists believe that there is a link between dry eye disease and blepharitis. As we age, we experience changes or reductions in our normal meibomian gland secretions. This decline in secretions can be an indication of gland dysfunction. Changes in our Meibomian glands play a significant role in the increase of symptoms of dry eye especially in dry environments such as on stage, in the rehearsal room and in the orchestra pit.

How do I know if I have Blepharitis?

  • Examining your eyes. Your Optometrist might use a special magnifying instrument to examine your eyelids and your eyes.
  • Skin Swabbing for testing. In certain cases, your GP might use a swab to collect samples of the oil or the crust that forms on your eyelid. This sample can be analysed for bacteria, fungus or evidence of an allergy.

Blepharitis Treatment

There is no cure for blepharitis but the condition can be managed by looking after your eyelids. Using a warm compress over closed eyelids can often soften the crust and loosen the debris. Keeping the eyelids clean often helps to ease the symptoms. 

Depending on the cause of the condition, the Optometrist may suggest the use of artificial tears or a lubricant to help restore your eye health. Antibiotics, antiviral drugs, and other medications may also be prescribed as part of a treatment plan. The insertion of punctal plugs can help to block the tear ducts, allowing more tears to stay in the eyes.

These plugs are small devices that are placed in the tear ducts. This helps keep the tears on the eyes surface improving comfort and relieving itchy, burning and red eyes.

Left untreated Blepharitis can lead to dry eyes, baldness in the eyelashes, and excessive tears. A healthy lifestyle can help prevent the condition. It is especially important to clean your eyes and remove all makeup before bed. Do this regularly to maintain your eye health

In Summary

As the UK’s only specialist Performing Arts eye care provider we understand more than most just how much dry eye conditions can impact a performer’s career and everyday life. 

Our optical specialists understand the demands of professional musicians and performing arts professionals. Working in collaboration with our dispensing opticians and optometrists, we are able to assist musicians. It is surprising how many musicians are unaware of the many solutions available to them. 

With the precision of our performing arts eye exams, the expertise of our optometrists and dispensing opticians using cutting edge diagnostic equipment and dispensing procedures our unique approach can help to resolve performing arts practitioners’ vision problems. To help in the treatment of Blepharitis we have developed a Unique Blepharitis Treatment Programme. This is a management program consisting of:

  • Initial 30 minute consultation with a dry eye specialist Optometrist, followed by reviews within the first 3 month period as necessary
  • Up to 3 appointments with an Optometrist and/or Dispensing Optician throughout the year
  • Preferential discounts of products to manage your condition
  • All this for just £4.99 per month
  • Treatment may consist of:
  • Ocular lubricants
  • Heat treatment
  • Lid massage
  • Lid hygiene
  • Supplements

If you are suffering from any of the conditions mentioned above or have any of the symptoms described then please speak to one of our staff.  To book an appointment or find out more about our exclusive dry eye programme, Call us today and speak to a member of our team. 

Contact: To find out more about Allegro Optical, the musicians’ opticians go to; https://allegrooptical.co.uk/services/musicians-optical-services/

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