Blepharitis is a condition that often causes eyes to feel uncomfortable. A buildup of debris, microbes and the toxins the microbes produce on the skin of the eyelids lead to inflamed, tender and uncomfortable eyelids and eyes.

This condition may be the precursor for dry eyes and possibly a substantial portion of those who have itchy eyes as well. Many of the glands that make tears are located in this area and become dysfunctional as a result of the condition. Traditional treatments for blepharitis include a home eyelid hygiene regimen, topical medications or moisturizing eye drops.

Now a new treatment has emerged that is not only more effective but is forcing us to change how we think about blepharitis and dry eye problems as well. BlephEx is an in-office procedure that uses a surgical microsponge spun at a high speed to micro-exfoliate the eyelids.

The procedure is thought to remove the pro-inflammatory biofilm that plagues the eyelids and indirectly the surface of the eye. The biofilm is removed, the glands are rejuvenated and the eyelids are freed from buildup and debris. The procedure is performed with mild topical anesthetic drops and is not painful. This new treatment looks promising and welcome, especially if it allows patients to be less dependent on eyedrops.

Dr. Jace Picken is an optometrist at Prairie Vision Center in Wahpeton

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