Your eyelid is very important, and not just for blinking! They protect your eyes from dirt and other contaminants, block light when it’s time for you to sleep, house the glands that are used to prevent tear evaporation, and move your tears to help with dry eyes.
Eyelid hygiene plays an important role in the overall health of your eyes. By taking care of your lids and lashes, you can help treat dry eyes, prevent styes, and improve your ocular health.
What bad things can be happening with dirty eyelids?
- Demodex: mites that live at the base of your eyelashes and consume sebum in the glands of your eyelid. They burrow themselves deep into your glands and their exoskeleton induces a response from your body, causing dandruff of your eyelashes, redness, itching, burning, tearing, and other symptoms.
- Blepharitis: inflammation of your eyelids, it can contribute to dry eyes and irritation.
- Styes: an infection of oil glands in the eyelid
- Dry eyes: eyelids that are not healthy cannot produce the proper tears our eyes need to stay hydrated, resulting in symptoms such as fluctuating vision, sandy, gritty feeling of your eyes, redness, and more.
Treatment you can do at home: Cleaning your eyelids!
Cleaning your eyelids is easy:
- Wash your hands
- Use a clean cloth and baby shampoo, or lid wipes such as OcuSoft
- Close your eyes and gently wipe from one side of your eyelids and eyelashes to the other side (avoid being aggressive and irritating your skin!)
- Rinse with clean water
- Repeat for other eye
Improving the health of your eyelids does not happen overnight. It is recommended to clean your eyelashes on a daily basis, typically at nighttime before bed to help remove any contaminants gathered during the day.
Fun fact: the thinnest skin on your body is your eyelids!
Building good habits
Other things that you can do to help keep your eyelid clean...
- Remove all makeup with proper cleaning material
- Wash hands frequently and before insertion or removal of your contact lenses
- Avoid touching your eyes (especially avoid rubbing your eyes!)
- Regularly doing warm compresses if you are prone to styes
If you are regularly cleaning your eyelids and still having issues with flaking, irritation, redness, or other issues with your eyelid, it is recommended that you make an appointment with your optometrist to check for underlying issues and discuss treatment options.