Most people don’t know how important it is to practice proper eyelid hygiene. In fact, many people may scoff at such an idea. But consider the amount of dirt debris and foreign matter that accumulates on our eyelids and lashes. Where does it all go? It remains there embedded and nothing gets it out except a careful cleaning around your eye. It is especially useful as a preventative measure – a person who practices good lid hygiene is defending against several rather nasty eye conditions.

To clean your eyelids and lashes there are two different methods that can be used. The first is an eyelid scrub of which you can either purchase the actual eye scrub product or use a washcloth at home.

Directions for an Eyelid Scrub:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Mix warm water and a small amount of shampoo that does not irritate the eye (baby shampoo) or use a prepared lid scrub solution recommended by your optometrist.
  • Close one eye and using a clean washcloth (a different one for each eye) rub the solution back and forth across the eyelashes and the edge of the eyelid.
  • Rinse with clear cool water.
  • Repeat with the other eye.

The second method is a warm compress over the eyelid which again can be a pre-purchased product or a washcloth.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Moisten a clean washcloth with warm water.
  • Close eyes and place washcloth on eyelids for about five minutes.
  • Repeat several times daily.

Several eye conditions can result from poor lid hygiene. Perhaps the most severe is blepharitis which is a bacterial infestation of the eyelashes. In most cases, good eyelid hygiene and a regular cleaning routine may control blepharitis. This includes frequent scalp and face washing, warm soaks of the eyelids and eyelid scrubs. In cases where bacterial infection is a cause, eyelid hygiene may be combined with various antibiotics and other medications.
Other possible conditions that can occur with dirty eyelids are styes and meibomitis. To prevent these from happening or at least to reduce their frequency it is best to adopt a comprehensive cleansing routine. Eyelid hygiene is especially important upon waking because debris can build up while sleeping.

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