• Clinical science

Inflammation of the eyelids


The eyelids contain various glands (meibomian, Zeis, and Moll glands), the secretions of which serve as components of the tear film and aid in the lubrication of the eyelids. Bacterial infections or accumulation/dysregulation of secretions can result in three common inflammatory conditions of the eyelid: hordeolum (stye), blepharitis, and chalazion. A hordeolum is an acute eyelid inflammation (usually infectious) associated with painful, erythematous, and pus-filled nodules. Blepharitis is a chronic (usually infectious) inflammatory condition associated with crusty, scaly plaques, and/or oily deposits on the margins of the eyelids. A chalazion is a focal sterile granulomatous swelling of the eyelid's sebaceous gland and may result from either a hordeolum or blepharitis. Diagnosis is usually clinical. Treatment depends on the particular condition and includes eyelid hygiene, topical antibiotics if an infectious etiology is suspected, or surgery.

Hordeolum (stye)


Blepharitis (blepharitis squamosa)

  • Definition: Blepharitis is a common eyelid condition that presents as a chronic and/or recurrent scaly inflammation of the eyelid margins.
  • Etiology
  • Classification
  • Clinical features
    • Chronic or recurrent red, swollen eyelids and irregular eyelid margins
    • Crusty, scaly plaques, and/or oily deposits on the eyelid margin and eyelashes
    • Eye irritation and visual abnormalities
      • Pain
      • Itchiness
      • Foreign body sensation, watering of the eye
      • Photophobia, blurred vision
  • Diagnostics: clinical diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Complications
    • Chalazion
    • Conjunctivitis
    • Ectropion: An outward turning of the eyelid, which can increase the exposure of the ocular surface and mucous membrane of the inner eyelid to the environment.
    • Entropion: An inward turning of the eyelid, which can cause irritation from eyelashes rubbing against the ocular surface.
    • Trichiasis (abnormally directed lashes)


Chalazion (meibomian gland lipogranuloma)

Persistent or recurrent chalazion may be a sign of a sebaceous carcinoma (a carcinoma of the meibomian gland). Chalazion may also clinically resemble a basal cell carcinoma!