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Seborrheic blepharitis - External and Internal Eye
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Seborrheic blepharitis - External and Internal Eye

Contributors: Brandon D. Ayres MD, Christopher Rapuano MD, Harvey A. Brown MD, Sunir J. Garg MD, Lauren Patty Daskivich MD, MSHS
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition of the eyelids. An older term for this condition is granulated eyelids. In the seborrheic form of this disease, the anterior or posterior, or both, aspects of the lid may be involved. However, seborrheic blepharitis is the most common cause of anterior blepharitis. The concomitant findings of seborrhea of the scalp and/or acne rosacea further point to the diagnosis.


H01.009 – Unspecified blepharitis unspecified eye, unspecified eyelid

231797007 – Seborrheic blepharitis

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Other causes of blepharitis should be sought for, and these include allergy, psoriasis, dry skin conditions, and meibomitis (meibomian gland dysfunction). Atopic and contact dermatitis are also within the differential diagnosis.

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Last Updated:02/18/2010
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Patient Information for Seborrheic blepharitis - External and Internal Eye
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Contributors: Medical staff writer


Blepharitis is swelling of the eyelids. Seborrheic blepharitis is a condition of swollen, reddened eyelids with crusted debris in the eyelashes and corners of the eyes. It usually occurs in both eyes.

It may occur simultaneously with scalp seborrhea (an itchy, scaly rash on the scalp) and rosacea (redness and flushing of the face).

Who’s At Risk

Persons with diabetes or other systemic illness or who are taking certain medications have an increased risk of developing seborrheic blepharitis.

Signs & Symptoms

The eyelids appear red and swollen. There is crusted debris in the eyelashes and the rims and corners of the eyes, most often in both eyes. Eyelids may be slightly warm.

Other symptoms may include:
  • Pain
  • Burning
  • Blurred vision
  • The sensation of something in the eye
  • Red eyes with teary, sticky discharge
  • Light sensitivity

There may be no symptoms out of the ordinary, except the presence of rosacea and an oily scalp.

Self-Care Guidelines

Keep eyelids clean according to your doctor's instructions. You may be given special instructions for face and scalp care as well.

When to Seek Medical Care

Contact your health care provider when you notice signs of eyelid inflammation and discharge, along with scalp and face symptoms.


The healing process may be slow. Your doctor will provide you with instructions for gentle cleaning of your eyelids.

If your eyelid inflammation is caused by infection, you may be prescribed antibiotics.

You may be referred to a dermatologist if you have rosacea in need of treatment.
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Seborrheic blepharitis - External and Internal Eye
A medical illustration showing key findings of Seborrheic blepharitis : Bilateral distribution, Crust, Eyelid edema, Eyelids, Palpebral conjunctival injection, Conjunctival injection
Clinical image of Seborrheic blepharitis - imageId=3275299. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Scaling at the eyelid margin.'
Scaling at the eyelid margin.
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