Blepharitis is a common and persistent inflammation of the eyelids, which can cause to irritated, watery, red, itchy or swollen eyes. Many patients experience a gritty feeling or burning and stinging in the eyes, itchy eyelids, and dandruff-like scales at the base of the eyelashes. In severe cases, eyelids may seem greasy or crusted. Blepharitis can be caused by excessive growth of bacteria that thrive in the area near the eyelashes. This is akin to dandruff of the scalp or acne rosacea. In fact, people with such conditions are more likely to develop blepharitis. Other causes include a blockage in the oil glands on the eyelids, a dysfunction of the oil glands because of a hormone imbalance, or even allergies.

Blepharitis is not contagious and normally doesn’t cause permanent damage to eyesight, but it is one of the leading causes of dry eyes. Left untreated, it can lead to more severe symptoms, such as blurred vision and inflammation of other eye tissue, including the cornea. Treating blepharitis begins with a good hygiene routine, keeping the eyelids clean and free of crusts. Using dandruff shampoo on the scalp or a non-tearing “baby” shampoo on the lashes may help, as may warm compresses.

The specialists at UAB Callahan Eye use the most advanced technology and are known for working together to treat the full range of both common and complex corneal problems. From cataract and corneal surgeries to highly specialized contact lenses, Callahan features the expertise, experience, and cutting-edge equipment needed to treat the most challenging corneal conditions. Patients come here from around the world and nation because we don’t just treat eye disease – we empower patients to take control of their eye health.

Callahan is the only full-service facility in Alabama specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of the eye and one of only a few worldwide that is entirely devoted to advancements in ophthalmology. That reputation is supported by 16 operating rooms dedicated to eye surgery and a 24/7 eye emergency room that is the region’s only Level I Ocular Trauma Center. More than 15,000 surgeries are performed at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital each year, and we conduct more reconstructive eye procedures than any other facility in the world.

Our facility is home to more than two dozen ophthalmologists, many of whom are named among the top doctors in their fields nationally. Callahan is widely recognized for excellence in patient care, having consistently earned prestigious awards from health care consulting group Press Ganey, and in 2017 Callahan was named as one of the “100 Great Places to Work in Healthcare” by Becker’s Hospital Review.

Callahan also is known for pioneering developments in surgical instruments, devices, and procedures used by ophthalmologists across the globe. As part of the UAB Medicine academic medical center, Callahan is actively involved in ongoing research and clinical trials. Many of our ophthalmologists have received funding from prestigious research organizations and institutions and collaborate in clinical care to bring the latest in scientific discovery to our patients.


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