Lid care product selection tips

Do I actually need lid care products?

Make sure you have a solid reason before you start trying these types of products. Don't buy them just because they are more "stuff" to try.

Medical use?

*If* you have blepharitis / meibomian gland dysfunction, it's quite possible you could benefit from improved eyelid hygiene, specialty eyelid care products and warm compresses. These conditions involve chronic inflammation of the oil-producing glands in your eyelids. But please bear in mind the following:

  • Diagnosis first. Don't buy stuff out of desperation, and don't treat conditions you haven't been diagnosed with just because you read about them on the internet.
  • Ask your doctor to explain to you the full range of treatment options as well as the best daily maintenance and prevention steps you can take.
  • If your doctor wants you to use a lid hygiene product, ask for a specific recommendation and for the rationale behind the recommendation.
  • Less is more. Eyelids are tender things! Too much heat and too much scrubbing may make you worse, not better! Ask for specific advice on method, duration and frequency of any self treatments.

Palliative use (comfort)?

COLD compresses help with pain, burning, redness and inflammation. This is solely a comfort measure any patient can employ at any time.

Warm compresses and the confusion factor

WARM compresses (note: not hot!) may or may not make you feel better in any immediate sense, but they are often prescribed as a therapeutic treatment for blepharitis/MGD. Warm compresses, properly done, can raise the temperature in the eyelids enough to soften thick, stiff oil (meibum) in the oil glands and allow it to be pressed out with gentle lid massage, which can help keep your oil glands healthier, secreting the oil that can help prevent your tears from evaporating too fast. That is why this is such an important maintenance tool, whether or not it seems to help "in the moment".

Tips for selecting a lid hygiene product

As you can see, there are many! And there are many more than we sell. In addition to all of the over-the-counter products, there are some sold on prescription only (or at least primarily so) such as Avenova or Cliradex.

  • Doctor's advice: Get what your doctor recommended if at all possible.
  • Tea tree oil? Tea tree oil is al the rage these days... especially for blepharitis stemming from an overpopulation of demodex mites. However, many people find that too much tea tree oil stings too much! It may take some trial and error to find one gentle enough for you that's strong enough to do what you need.
  • Pads, foam, spray, gel? The form may make a difference. Pre-moistened wipes made of artificial paper are convenient, but for some are too rough. Foams are gentle, but some have ingredients that may be too harsh. Sprays may be practical. Oasis has (at least as of this writing) the only gel form lid hygiene product on the market that I know of.

Tips for selecting a warm compress

Start with your doctor's requirements. Typically, the point of a warm compress is to raise the temperature in your meibomian glands by a certain amount and for a certain duration; your doctor may or may not provide further specifics, such as:

  • Moist or dry? Some doctors feel that moist heat is necessary, others are only concerned with the temperature and duration. Tranquileyes is the best-known moist compress and has the advantage that the goggle can be used, without the heat packs, for overnight dry eye protection. Rice baggies are a great choice for dry compresses, but need replacing more often.
  • Washable? Bead-filled compresses such as the Oasis mask are probably the simplest to wash. Tranquileyes can all be washed easily except the surrounding foam on the goggle which will come off prematurely if immersed. Rice baggies have a washable cover, but the baggy itself needs to be kept dry.
  • Microwavable? Microwavable compresses are convenient BUT always carry the danger of overheating, which can result in serious burns. Tranquileyes with Instants is a good self-heating compress. There are one of two USB powered compresses on the market now, but do your research carefully about safety issues. Some people use hand warmers.
  • Budget? Tranquileyes XL is the most luxurious and therefore the most expensive. You can make your own rice baggies for practically nothing. Oasis and Bruder and economical and practical choices. 

Whatever you use, please remember the following tips:

  • SAFETY FIRST: Do not overheat.
  • LESS IS MORE: Too much heat and too often may cause more lid irritation, redness and inflammation.