How To Use a Warm Compress Correctly For Dry Eye
For those suffering from Dry Eye Syndrome (DES), finding relief from dry, red, irritated eyes may be a top priority. Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is now understood to be caused by many factors including pollution, allergies, too few tears or poor tear quality.
Fortunately, there is a safe, effective, and user-friendly method to alleviate symptoms at home: warm compresses for the eyes.
Do I Have Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye can be caused by numerous factors, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms include:
- Dry, itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Fatigued or sore eyes
- Red eyes
- Blurred vision
- Photophobia (light sensitivity)
If you suspect that you may have dry eye or experience any of the above symptoms, speak with our optometric team regarding the various dry eye treatments available to ease your discomfort and improve your condition.
How to Prepare a Warm Eye Compress
A warm compress has been proven to be effective in relieving irritating dry eye symptoms.
- The first step in dealing with anything eye care-related is to thoroughly wash your hands with warm water and soap.
- Fill a clean bowl with warm water, just hot enough to comfortably feel the warmth with your fingers.
- Soak a clean washcloth in the warm water. Be sure to use clean water with nothing diluted in it. Face cleansers or Epsom salts can irritate or burn the eyes and should not be added.
- Ring out the washcloth so that it’s damp, and fold it lengthwise to the size of your eye area.
- Place the warm, damp cloth over closed eyelids and rest if there until it is no longer warm (about 5 minutes).
- Remove the washcloth and place it in the bowl with warm water to reheat it. Repeat steps 3 and 4.
You can also microwave a damp washcloth until it’s reached the desired temperature. Make sure to always test the washcloth before placing it over the eyes, as the skin of the eyelid is very thin and can be easily burned.
Warm compresses also come in a dry form, which can be heated using a microwave. All warm compress eye masks can also be purchased at drugstores. We can recommend which brands that are most suitable for your eyes. Whether store-bought or home-made, you’ll want to apply the warm compress twice daily (morning and night) for optimal results.
How Do Warm Compresses Provide Relief?
Warm eye compresses can soothe the eyes and provide almost instant relief. The moisture of the compress hydrates the eyes, which helps to reduce the grittiness, and the warmth relaxes the eye to relieve any pain or muscle spasms that may accompany dry eye. Furthermore, warm compresses can help loosen clogged oil in the glands of your eyelids, which allow these essential oils to mix with your tears, producing better quality tears.
Though warm eye compresses are a great at-home remedy for treating dry eye, our optometric team can offer other more potent dry eye treatments for complete relief from symptoms. If you are experiencing dry eye, schedule an appointment at Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses to get the relief you seek.
our optometric team serves patients from Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, South Valley, Sandia Heights, and throughout New Mexico.