Eyelid Hygiene Tips
Are you bothered by sore, red eyelids — perhaps accompanied by crusty debris at the base of your eyelashes? If so, you may have blepharitis.
Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelid margin. It's common and treatable. Eyelid hygiene is very helpful to treat and control blepharitis, but only if performed properly.
To begin, use a clean, warm compress to melt any blocked residue in the oil-secreting meibomian glands in your eyelids. Here's how:
· Wash your hands, then dampen a clean washcloth with warm (nearly hot) water.
· Place the washcloth over your closed eyelids for several minutes.
· Then gently rub your eyelid margin with the washcloth before opening your eyes. (Don't press hard on your eye.)
Follow your eye doctor's recommendations on how often to use a warm compress and how long to keep it in place. When you first begin treatment, you may be instructed to do this several times daily, for about five minutes each time. Later on, you might only need to apply the compress once daily.
Cleaning your eyelids is the next essential step. Your doctor will recommend what to use for the cleaning agent. Options include warm water, diluted baby shampoo or an over-the-counter or prescription eyelid cleanser.
To clean your eyelids:
· Wash your hands, then moisten a clean washcloth, cotton swab or gauze pad with the cleaning solution.
· Gently wipe your eyelashes and lid margin.
· Rinse with warm water.
· Repeat the process for your other eye, using a different washcloth, swab or pad.
Your eye doctor may have you clean your eyelids several times daily to start, and then once daily thereafter.
It's a good idea to minimize the use of eye makeup when you have blepharitis because mascara and other makeup can interfere with eyelid hygiene.
If your doctor recommends an anti-dandruff shampoo for your scalp and eyebrows, make sure you keep the shampoo out of your eyes to avoid irritation.
Ask your eye doctor which eyelid health maintenance program is best for you. And if blepharitis symptoms return, see your doctor immediately for an evaluation.