Your eyes are something of an ecosystem that needs to be balanced. You have to maintain a balance in your eyes to make sure that they stay healthy and comfortable. That balance means the proper levels of moisture, nutrients, acidity, salinity, and many other elements. When something is out of balance, it results in a series of symptoms. The symptoms can be simple eye dryness or even pain and vision problems. Two of the most common conditions are conjunctivitis and blepharitis. When you wake up with your eyes crusted shut, it can sometimes be difficult to determine which is which. Here are the differences.

The Causes

The major difference between conjunctivitis and the eye condition blepharitis are the causes. Conjunctivitis is also known as pink eye and it is a bacterial infection of the eye. It is highly contagious. Generally, it results in a grainy feeling behind the eyes, pain, itchiness, and swelling. Because of the redness it causes, it is known as pink eye. There is a specific range of bacteria that causes conjunctivitis and it is always bacterial. It can usually be treated fairly effectively with antibiotics. Oral antibiotics can be taken, but typically antibiotic eye drops are prescribed instead.

Blepharitis, on the other hand, is more of a description of symptoms. It is an inflammation of the eyelids, typically at the base of the eyelashes. It can be caused by many different factors. It can be bacterial, but it doesn’t have to be.

Blepharitis Causes

Blepharitis is typically associated with excessive tears, burning feeling, itchiness, crusting of the eyelids, inflammation, and irritation. They symptoms can dramatically vary in feeling. The cause is generally due to a blockage of the oil glands in your eyelid or a bacterial infection in the glands. However, there are other conditions that can lead to the blockage.

The main difference is that conjunctivitis is a specific disorder. Blepharitis is a description of a condition in which the eyes experience blocked oil glands. They can be blocked by bacteria, oil, swelling, or other infections. To treat blepharitis, you’ll typically need to treat the underlying condition. Symptoms are generally worse when you first wake up. If left untreated, it can lead to visual impairment or lasting eye pain.

Other Conditions

There are a few other eye conditions that are fairly common that share symptoms with blepharitis or pink eye. One of the most common is dry eye. Dry eye is similar to blepharitis in that it is a series of symptoms more than a condition itself. Many things can cause dry eye or irritation of the eyes. If you have blocked tear ducts, your eyes might not produce the proper amount of tears. That can lead to swelling and infection as well. Rubbing your eyes can also cause irritation that is often mistaken as one of these other conditions.

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