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Dry Eye Therapy with Warm Compresses, by Dr. William Sray

Warm compresses are very helpful in treating the signs and symptoms of poor quality tears from dry eye, blepharitis or poor quality eyelid oil production. In fact, they are the first line of therapy and are all that most people need to improve their tear quality.

I recommend a hot washcloth ─ warm it with shower temperature water, then place it over your closed eyes. The washcloth will cool down after a few moments and then you will warm the cloth again with the hot tap water. Place the warm cloth on the eyes and repeat the cycle for 4-5 minutes to get the eyelids nice and warm. Then, using a finger, gently massage the upper and lower eyelids (moving the finger left and right along the lids is great) to help the warm oils come out of the eyelids and mix with the tears. This helps improve tear quality and can reduce the sensation of dryness, irritation, itching, burning and may improve the quality of vision as well.

Some patients purchase a heat mask that is filled with gel. The mask is placed into the microwave and warmed per instructions from the mask’s manufacturer. You then place the mask on your face for 4-5 minutes. This method is less messy and typically more convenient for many patients. You should be careful that you don’t overheat the mask as a burn on the eyelids and face may result. Once the lids are warm, eyelid massage can be used as described above.

Our office carries the Bruder Microwave-Activated Eye Hydrating Compress, which features patented MediBeads ® technology. Water molecules are continuously absorbed and stored from the air. When microwaved the water is released as clean, therapeutic and moist heat.

Visit www.geteyesmart.org for further information on dry eye.