Doxycycline for Blepharitis

What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelash follicles, along the edge of the eyelid. It is usually caused by staphylococcal infection, seborrhoeic dermatitis, or malfunction of meibomian glands (tiny oil glands near the base of the eyelashes).

Anterior blepharitis affects the base of the eyelashes and is commonly caused by bacteria or scalp dandruff (seborrheic blepharitis).

Posterior blepharitis involves the meibomian gland orifices and usually caused by irregular oil production by the glands of the eyelids (meibomian blepharitis) which creates a favorable environment for bacterial growth. It can also develop as a result of other skin conditions such as acne rosacea or seborrhea.


The mainstay of treatment for blepharitis is eyelid hygiene and warm compresses. Lubricating eyedrops or artificial tears help relieve dry eyes.

Topical antibiotics, artificial tears, and steroids may also be helpful. Topical antibiotics (bacitracin or erythromycin) provide symptomatic relief and are effective in eradicating bacteria from the eyelid margin for anterior blepharitis.

Doxycycline is probably the most suitable oral antibiotic when blepharitis does not respond to lid hygiene and topical treatments1. Doxycycline is particularly helpful in treating blepharitis caused by rosacea and staphylococcal blepharitis. It works by reducing bacterial eyelid infection, inflammation, and also by having beneficial effects on meibomian glands performance.

Doxycycline dosage for blepharitis: 40 mg to 100 mg, once or twice daily for 6 to 12 weeks.


  • 1. Iovieno A, Lambiase A, Micera A, Stampachiacchiere B, Sgrulletta R, Bonini S. In vivo characterization of doxycycline effects on tear metalloproteinases in patients with chronic blepharitis. Eur J Ophthalmol. 2009 Sep-Oct;19(5):708-16. PubMed
  • 2. Macsai MS. The role of omega-3 dietary supplementation in blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction (an AOS thesis). Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 2008;106:336-56. PubMed

Author: OriginalDrugs Team
Last reviewed: February 17, 2013

Useful facts

  • Doxycycline is a good option for patients with posterior blepharitis, dilated superficial blood vessels, and ocular rosacea.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids supplementation beneficially modifies the composition of meibomian gland secretions of the eyelids2.