Blepharitis is a chronic or long term inflammation of the eyelids and eyelashes, affecting people of all ages. It is the most common form of ocular disease. The symptoms of blepharitis include redness of the eyes and eyelids, itching, burning and a feeling that something is in the eyes. Some patients complain that their eyelids form crusts and stick together in the morning.
Blepharitis can be associated with a low grade bacterial infection (staphylococcal blepharitis) or, more commonly, a generalized skin condition (seborrheic blepharitis). Among the most frequent causes are poor eyelid hygiene; excess oil produced by the glands in the eyelids; a bacterial infection; or an allergic reaction.
Standard medical treatment for blepharitis usually focuses on increased hygiene such as gentle cleansing of the eyelid and the use of warm compresses applied to the eyelids for several minutes a day. An antibiotic drop or ointment may be prescribed if bacterial infection is present. Although blepharitis can usually be improved and controlled with diligent care, chronic blepharitis is difficult to eradicate entirely.
EDGAR CAYCE'S PERSPECTIVE
Edgar Cayce gave twenty-five readings indexed as blepharitis. This group of readings portray a variety of causes which can produce inflammation to the eyelids. Essentially, causes of blepharitis can be classified as local or systemic.
Local causes include infection and poor hygiene which relate directly to the condition. Systemic causes are more general and affect other organs of the body. For example, the most frequently cited cause of blepharitis is problems with the spinal nerves which provide impulse and regulate circulation to the eyes. These nerves are located along the upper portion of the spine (upper dorsal/thoracic and cervical).
Reading 1045-3 is explicit in linking the eye condition to problems along the upper spine and recommending pressure or manipulation to counteract the nerve irritation and to "set up drainages" to improve eliminations and cleanse the system:
(Q) What may be done for the swollen eyelids?
(A) This condition may be relieved by the pressure on the spine to set up drainages from the system. Let this pressure or manipulation extend, then, to the upper cervical area. (1045-3)
Poor circulation, in particular, can lead to a buildup of toxicity which compromises functioning and makes the eyelids vulnerable to infection or other irritating factors. Poor circulation and subsequent accumulation of toxins may be contributing factors in local skin conditions (seborrheic blepharitis) and bacterial infections (staphylococcal blepharitis).
Here is an excerpt from reading 774-1 which describes the pathological effects of pressures on spinal nerves and the treatments recommended for this problem. Note that the poor circulation allowed "drosses" (wastes that should be eliminated by blood and lymph flow) to accumulate which provided an opportunity for "infectious forces" to take hold.
... there are pathological effects from pressures that have existed in the upper dorsal, and through the cervical area, to the circulations to and through those portions of the body itself. Hence an accumulation of drosses until there are those infectious forces upon the eyeball itself, as well as the natural accumulations in the lachrymal duct area, as well as in the lids and the retinae itself being hindered in its reactions by these accumulations.
In making for the helpful conditions, as we find, we would make specific adjustments and alleviation of pressures in the 3rd, the 2nd dorsal; in the 4th and 3rd cervical, with the pressures stimulated by the circulation that arises - by the alleviating of these pressures - through the temple of the head and at the 1st and 2nd cervical and the areas along the veins and arteries in the vagus centers. These would, by the stimulation osteopathically given, alleviate these pressures.
Then the application of those things that have been used as the antiseptic and washes for the eyes may be much more effective.
We would find also helpful the stimulations from the electrical vibrations of the violet ray, following such osteopathic adjustments and manipulations (that would be given three or four times each week). Stimulate along the temple, down each side of the throat, then down from the base of the brain to at least the 9th and 10th dorsal centers. These treatments would be with the bulb applicator applied directly to those portions of the surface of the body itself, stimulating the centers that would carry circulation both from and to affected portions specifically. (774-1)
The therapies recommended in this case are based on the pathology. Spinal manipulations are suggested to remove the pressure on the nerves affecting the eyes. Antiseptic eye washes are prescribed to eliminate the infectious agents and the "drosses" which had accumulated. The use of the violet ray, a mild form of electrotherapy, was intended to stimulate the circulation and assist with the cleansing process.
Systemic aspects of cases such as 774 are important. The nerves along the upper spine provide impulse not only to the eyes, but to the organs of digestion and elimination. Reading 774-1 recommended an alkaline diet, laxatives, and enemas to assist in cleansing the alimentary canal and improving general eliminations.
Reading 1963-1 also cites systemic factors associated with inflammation of the eyelids:
Now as we find, the general debilitations which exist through the body, the lack of energies, the lack of the abilities for the functioning of many of the organs in their proper relationships one to another, are from nerve exhaustion.
Not that it has reached those proportions where it is one portion of the nerve force destroying the other, as in sclerosis, but rather pressures from poisons of a toxic nature throughout the system.
These as we find include toxic conditions which affect the liver, the spleen, the kidneys, and the GENERAL conditions through the body.
Also, through the pressures indicated in the areas about the upper dorsals, inflammation is caused to the eyes, or optic forces themselves, so that the inflammation in the lids and the granular condition appearing upon the ball of the eye come from a nerve exhaustion. (1963-1)
Systemic treatment recommendations for Mr. 1963 included a cleansing diet, colonic irrigations, manipulations to relieve pressure on nerves along the upper spine, and watermelon seed tea to cleanse the kidneys. The psychological aspects of this case (worrying) were also noted. Moderate exercise in the open (walking) and adequate rest and relaxation were suggested. Local treatment for the swollen eyelids included potato poultice followed by a mild eye wash.
BASIC TREATMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
Conceptually, the Cayce approach to blepharitis focuses on assisting the body in healing itself by the application of a variety of therapies intended to provide symptomatic relief while also addressing the underlying causes of the condition. The mental and spiritual aspects of healing are emphasized from the standpoint of working with a spiritual ideal.
Here are some general therapeutic recommendations intended to address the underlying causes of blepharitis:
- MANUAL THERAPY (SPINAL MANIPULATION): Cayce often recommended spinal manipulations to correct specific problems which may be a primary cause of blepharitis. The upper spine, in particular, should be evaluated for abnormalities. It is difficult to obtain the osteopathic adjustments specified by Cayce. However, a chiropractor may be of help. The frequency of the adjustments will depend on the recommendations of the individual chiropractor or osteopath. The use of an electric vibrator may also be helpful for individuals unable to obtain regular spinal adjustments.
- EXERCISE: A simple "head and neck exercise" is suggested to assist with relaxing neck muscles, improve nerve functioning and circulation to the eyes.
- DIET: The Basic Cayce Diet is intended to improve assimilation and elimination. The diet focuses heavily on keeping a proper alkaline/acid balance while avoiding foods which produce toxicity and drain the system. Essentially, the diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables while avoiding fried foods and refined carbohydrates ("junk food"). Certain food combinations are emphasized.
- INTERNAL CLEANSING: Because blepharitis was often linked with poor eliminations, hydrotherapy is recommended to improve eliminations through the colon. Hydrotherapy includes drinking six to eight glasses of pure water daily and obtaining colonic irrigations to cleanse the bowel. Following the diet should also assist with internal cleansing.
- ELECTROTHERAPY: Regular use of the violet ray appliance to stimulate nerve functioning and circulation is recommended.
- ATTITUDES AND EMOTIONS: The mental and spiritual aspects of healing are frequently discussed in the Cayce readings. Particularly, an attitude of desiring and expecting to be healed is important. A positive mental and emotional attitude and can be created and maintained by focusing on a high purpose (spiritual ideal) for being healed.
SPECIFIC (LOCAL) RECOMMENDATIONS
The above general recommendations should be helpful for addressing the systemic causes of blepharitis. Here are two specific (local) recommendations which are intended to provide symptomatic relief by decreasing inflammation and cleansing the eyelid:
POTATO POULTICES: Edgar Cayce often recommended that a pack consisting of grated potato covered with gauze be placed over the eyes to relieve inflammation and draw off drosses.
EYE WASHES: Regular washing with a mild antispetic is recommended. Edgar Cayce usually suggested a dilute boric acid solution. Boric acid is a major component in some of the eyes washes which are still available at local drugstores.