[Optimal use guide: blepharitis]

Record ID 32018000989
Original Title: Guide usage optimal: traitement des blépharites
Authors' objectives: In light of the new regulation concerning the drugs that an optometrist can prescribe, and with a view to supporting and harmonizing primary-care health professional practice, the Ordre des optométristes du Québec (OOQ) and the Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ) asked the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) to produce an optimal use guide (OUG) on the treatment of blepharitis. The objective of this report is to present all the data gathered for the purpose of this project and the argument in support of the clinical recommendations that led to the production of the OUG on the treatment of blepharitis, whether acute or chronic or anterior or posterior, to the exclusion of that of viral or parasitic origin.
Authors' results and conclusions: RESULTS: The criteria for evaluating acute blepharitis, localized (hordeolum (stye) or chalazion) or generalized (affecting the entire eyelid), present few challenges, but the chronic nature of blepharitis, its uncertain etiology and the frequent coexistence of other eye diseases can make chronic blepharitis difficult to recognize and treat. Suspicion of blepharitis is based on the patient’s history, the examination of the eyes and the surrounding skin, and on the absence of manifestations that could point to another clinical condition. Even if, in the scientific literature in general, there are no criteria for classifying the warning signs and symptoms of blepharitis, contextual and experiential data indicate the importance of providing primary-care health professionals who are not specialized in eye care with a list of warning signs and symptoms that point to corneal involvement, which requires a slit lamp examination by a qualified health professional. He or she has the training and feels comfortable interpreting the biomicroscopic findings yielded by this instrument. In general, this professional is an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Nonpharmacological measures constitute the first line of treatment in all cases of blepharitis, whether acute or chronic, before use is made of topical antibiotics, and these measures are used both in adults and children. First-line treatment consists of four such measures. The first one is warm compresses (moist heat) or a heating mask (dry heat). eyelid hygiene with ophthalmic wipes or a mild, dilute soap solution. The third is eyelid massage, mainly in cases of chronic posterior blepharitis. The finger movements are aimed at removing the crust and forcing out the secretions from the meibomian glands. The fourth measure is local hydration, which consists in using artificial tears if the patient with acute or chronic blepharitis is experiencing discomfort. If, despite being used regularly and optimally, the nonpharmacological measures fail to control the signs and symptoms of acute or chronic blepharitis, consideration may be given to second-line, pharmacological treatment with topical antibiotics, preferably erythromycin. Fusidic acid or polymyxin B (sulfate)-gramicidin is another option that can be used if the patient is intolerant or allergic. This topical treatment is intended for adults only, whereas in children, chronic uncontrolled blepharitis should be managed by an ophthalmologist. Third-line treatment, which consists of a topical antibiotic plus a topical corticosteroid, is intended only for adults with chronic blepharitis which is not controlled with the use of a topical antibiotic alone and who are at risk for complications, as determined by a slit lamp examination for recognizing if there are any warning signs or symptoms, such as herpetic keratitis. Two of the preferred topical corticosteroids are fluorometholone and loteprednol. As an alternative, topical prednisolone can be applied in addition to a topical antibiotic. If a topical antibiotic/corticosteroid combination is considered, dexamethasone/tobramycin or prednisolone/sulfacetamide are possible options. Because of the adverse effects of corticosteroids (increase in intraocular pressure and cataract), it is important that the patient be reevaluated within a few weeks after the start of treatment. The follow-up will include a slit lamp examination by a qualified health professional to recognize complications, if any. To limit the adverse effects of long-term antibiotic use, including the development of bacterial resistance, prescribing a fourth-line treatment with oral antibiotics, namely doxycycline or minocycline, should be reserved for rare cases, such as those involving adults with chronic posterior blepharitis that is not controlled with the verified proper use of the nonpharmacological measures on a regular basis for more than 4 to 6 months and with the use of a topical antibiotic that has not controlled the condition despite the addition of a topical corticosteroid, or when secondary punctiform keratitis is noted. CONCLUSION: Chronic blepharitis is an illness for which there is no permanent cure. The symptoms can be reduced, but they are seldom eliminated. To improve the primary care management of patients with this eye problem, which is considered one of the most common, it is important to promote nonpharmacological measures as first-line treatment and to provide information on the warning signs and symptoms that warrant a slit lamp examination by a qualified health professional. To guide primary care health professionals, this OUG contains a definition of both acute and chronic blepharitis, a list of the risk factors, a description of the clinical presentation of the signs and symptoms and of the other clinical conditions that should be considered, a section on the treatment principles, which emphasizes nonpharmacological measures and the importance of preventing the development of bacterial resistance, and, lastly, a description of the reasons for consultation.
Authors' methods: This project was based on the best available scientific data evaluated by the authors of publications containing clinical recommendations and on recent systematic reviews (SRs) concerning the efficacy of treatments for managing blepharitis. These data were enriched with organizational and legislative contextual elements specific to Québec and the experiential knowledge provided by different Québec clinicians and experts who collaborated in this project. The data search strategy was developed in collaboration with a scientific data specialist. The PubMed, Embase and EBM Reviews databases were systematically searched for SRs, and a grey literature search for documents containing recommendations concerning this clinical condition was conducted mainly by consulting the websites of the following agencies, organizations, associations, institutions, and learned societies recognized in the field of ocular health: the Guidelines International Network (G-I-N), the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS), the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), the Canadian Ophthalmology Society, the Canadian Association of Optometrists, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association. The literature search was limited to items published between January 2012 and July 2017. Only publications in French or English were selected. The reference lists in the publications selected were searched for other relevant items. Documents drafted by Québec associations and professional orders were consulted. Google searches were conducted to locate documents from North American regulatory agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada. The official product monographs for Health Canada-approved antibiotics, corticosteroids and combination drugs (by consulting the electronic Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties e-CPS) were also consulted.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2018
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Full HTA
Country: Canada
Province: Quebec
MeSH Terms
  • Blepharitis
  • Eyelid Diseases
  • Drug Therapy
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Eyelids
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Glucocorticoids
Organisation Name: Institut national d'excellence en sante et en services sociaux
Contact Address: L'Institut national d'excellence en sante et en services sociaux (INESSS) , 2021, avenue Union, bureau 10.083, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 2S9;Tel: 1+514-873-2563, Fax: 1+514-873-1369
Contact Name: demande@inesss.qc.ca
Contact Email: demande@inesss.qc.ca
Copyright: L'Institut national d'excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS)
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.