Eyelid Hygiene..Why It Matters
Are you cleaning your eyelids daily?
Many people wash our face as part of our regular routine, but the eyelid area is often neglected. Cleaning our eyelids is important in preventing complications such as dry eyes, styes, blepharitis or infections.
Your eyelids contain the thinnest skin on the body, being made of intricate layers of muscle, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels and fat. This complexity, combined with their constant exposure to the elements (dust, dirt, debris), makes them vulnerable to a number of conditions.
Microscopic debris, such as dandruff from your scalp and eyebrows or eyelash mites and lice, as well as crusts along the eyelid, can also clog the oil glands near the base of the eyelashes, resulting in the inflammation of your eyelids.
Your optometrist may recommend a gentle, sterile preservative free wipe for your eyes. These usually contain anti-microbial properties to reduce the amount of bacteria on your lids.
Your eyelids are thin and sensitive, which is why you should only use a mild cleaning solution to clean them as well as the sensitive skin surrounding your eyes.
How to effectively clean your eyelids:
- Wash your hands with warm, soapy water.
- Gently apply the eyelid wipe, scrub or cleanser to your eyelid and clean in a circular and horizontal motions for 10 seconds.
- Repeat as directed by your eye doctor.
Typically, lid scrubs are recommended to help clean along the lashes and decrease the amount of bacteria. These are used to help decrease bacteria and skin cells that can cause the eyelids to get inflamed and cause dry eyes and infections. There are a number of treatment options available to relieve the symptoms of blepharitis:
- Use a warm compress. Applying a warm compress to the eyes for at least a minute will help loosen the crust and flakes around the eyelashes. It will also help to keep the nearby Meibomian glands open and releasing oil. This can be done using a Bruder Warm Compress mask or by wetting a clean washcloth with warm water.
- Eyelid cleaning. Due to the change in composition of baby shampoo and since the eyelid contains the thinnest skin in the body, we do not recommend baby shampoo for cleaning your lashes anymore. Instead, use a safe eyelid cleaner as recommended by your optometrist.
- Prevention. Maintaining eyelid and lash hygiene is the best way to prevent blepharitis. This may also involve keeping the nearby skin and hair clean and free of dandruff. There are antimicrobial sprays such as the BiHOCL hypochlorous acid spray that can be used on the eyes to prevent bacterial growth.
If you have questions about lid hygiene, talk to your optometrist about what you can do at your next appointment to keep those eyelids healthy!
Call us at 519-473-3937 and schedule a comprehensive eye exam today.