Can Tea Tree Oil Help Alleviate Blepharitis Symptoms? An Optometrist's Perspective

Published on
February 24, 2023

The Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society launched a definitive guideline to the management of dry eye disease called The Dry Eye Workshop 2 (TFOS DEWS2). In this study it notes the recommendation to use tea tree oil when the clinician has found presence of a Demodex infestation that is causing blepharitis. 

While the above may sound like a strong recommendation to begin using tea tree oil, we will outline below how there are many different causes for blepharitis, which is why diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms should precede any attempt to treat them. 

Understanding Blepharitis: Symptoms and Impact on Vision

Blepharitis is a common eye condition that affects the eyelid margins. It is characterized by inflammation and redness of the eyelids, as well as the formation of crusty debris on the eyelashes. Some common symptoms of blepharitis include:

  • Irritated, itchy, and swollen eyelids
  • Crusty debris on the eyelashes
  • Red, inflamed eyelids
  • Burning or stinging sensation in the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry, flaky skin around the eyes

In severe cases, blepharitis can cause eyelashes to fall out and create a chronic cycle of inflammation and infection. This can lead to scarring and permanent damage to the eyelid margins. To avoid these complications, it is important to seek prompt treatment from an eye doctor if you suspect you have blepharitis.

Causes of Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a common eye condition that affects the eyelid margins, causing inflammation and redness. There are several different causes of blepharitis, including:

  • Bacterial infections: Staphylococcus bacteria is one of the most common causes of blepharitis.
  • Sebum or oil gland dysfunction: Overactive oil glands in the eyelid margins can cause clogging, leading to blepharitis.
  • Skin conditions: Blepharitis can be a complication of conditions like rosacea, dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Demodex mites: These tiny mites are naturally present on the skin and are usually harmless, but in some cases, they can cause blepharitis.
  • Dry eyes: Chronic dry eyes can cause the eyelid margins to become irritated, leading to blepharitis.
  • Irritants: Exposure to environmental irritants, such as pollutants or chemicals, can cause blepharitis.
  • Aging: As we age, our oil glands may become less active, leading to a higher risk of blepharitis.

It's important to see our eye doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms of blepharitis. They can diagnose the underlying cause and help you determine the best course of treatment.

Take our dry eye assessment to see if your symptoms indicate that you are suffering from treatable dry eye disease /dry-eye/dry-eye-quiz/

The link between Demodex Mites and Blepharitis

Demodex is a type of mite that can live on the skin and is known to cause a condition called blepharitis. Blepharitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the eyelashes and the skin around the eyes. There are two species of Demodex mites that are commonly found on the skin: Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis. These mites are usually harmless, but in some cases, an overpopulation of these mites can lead to skin irritation and blepharitis.

The following are some common symptoms of Demodex blepharitis:

  • Itching and redness of the skin around the eyes
  • Papules, pustules, and nodules around the eyes
  • Scaly patches on the skin around the eyes
  • Burning or stinging sensation around the eyes
  • Inflammation of the eyelashes
  • Loss of eyelashes
  • Redness and pimple-like bumps around the eyes

Not everyone who has Demodex mites will experience symptoms. However, if you are experiencing skin irritation or other symptoms around the eyes, it is best to consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment. Blepharitis can be treated with a combination of lid hygiene, antibiotics, and other topical medications, but it is important to seek medical advice to ensure proper treatment.

What Is Tea Tree Oil and Why Is It Used for Blepharitis?

Tea tree oil is a popular natural oil that has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an ideal ingredient for treating a variety of skin and eye conditions, including blepharitis, styes, chalazions, dry eye disease, and even ocular rosacea. Tea tree oil has also been found to be effective in killing a type of mite that lives on eyelashes, called demodex mites, which can cause irritation and dryness.

Why is it important to see our optometrist before starting to use tea tree oil? 

We caution against using pure tea tree oil near the eyes, as it can cause serious irritation and even vision damage. If you're considering using tea tree oil for your blepharitis, it's important to seek advice from our eye doctor first. We can provide you with the best advice for your individual case and help you determine the most safe and effective course of action for your specific needs.

While there is some evidence to suggest that tea tree oil may have antibacterial properties that can help treat blepharitis, the scientific evidence is limited. In fact, a recent study found that tea tree oil was not as effective as conventional treatments for blepharitis. That's why it's important to work with our knowledgeable eye doctor to determine the best course of action for your specific needs. To schedule an appointment, please call (423) 710 3965.

It's also important to keep in mind that the severity of blepharitis can vary greatly from person to person. Some people may experience mild symptoms that can be easily managed with simple lifestyle changes and over-the-counter products, while others may require more aggressive treatment to manage their symptoms.

Additionally, it's important to remember that blepharitis is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management. Even if you do find relief from your symptoms with tea tree oil or other treatments, it's important to continue working with our eye doctor to monitor your condition and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

The Risks of Using Tea Tree Oil Near the Eyes: Consult with Our Eye Doctor for Safe and Effective Eye Care

If you're considering using tea tree oil for any eye-related concerns, it's important to seek advice from our eye doctor first. Using pure tea tree oil near the eyes can cause serious irritation and even vision damage. Our eye doctor can provide you with the best advice for your individual case and help you determine the most safe and effective course of action for your specific needs. To schedule an appointment with our eye doctor, please call (423) 710 3965.

Patients searching for advanced dry eye treatment and medical eye care visit our clinic from all over Tennessee, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medical eye care and dry eye services for patients from Hixson, Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Middle Valley.


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!

Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!

Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!

Alice M.
1 2 3 10



How Does Vision Therapy Improve Reading Ability?

According to the American Optometric Association, approximately 80% of what a child learns in school is acquired through vision, and […]

Read More

What Causes Bloodshot Eyes? Understanding the Causes and Treatments

Bloodshot eyes can be alarming, but they are not always a cause for concern. In this blog, we will discuss […]

Read More

Ocular Rosacea: Understanding the Symptoms and Best Treatment Options

Rosacea is a skin condition that affects many people. While it is commonly found on the face, rosacea can also […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga Logo

Working Hours

Monday - Tuesday
7:30AM - 5:15PM

Wednesday - Thursday
8:00AM - 5:15PM

Friday - Sunday

1043 Executive Drive Suite #101 Hixson, TN 37343
(423) 710 3966
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
For Patients
Call Us
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram