Hot compresses and lid massage are the primary treatments for blepharitis. The biggest problem with blepharitis is congestion and blockage of the oil glands (meibomian) along the margins of the eyelids. You have to apply heat directly to the edges of the eyelids to target these organs effectively. It is no good putting your hot flannel above or below this point as it won’t dilate the oil glands. Warm tap water from the sink or in the shower is convenient and efficient.
Warming eye masks
There are also warming eye masks or bags such as “eye bags” that can be heated in the microwave and placed over the lids. Because the flannel is thicker, it can hold the heat longer resulting in very soothing and therapeutic effects. Hold it over your closed eyes for 1-2 minutes, then rinse under warm water. With your eyes closed, place the flannel over the lid margins and scrub along the eyelids. The pressure from your fingertips will help express the oil. The abrasiveness of the flannel moving side to side will lift the flakes off the eyelashes.
The massage part of the treatment is needed to “milk” the trapped oil out of the glands. Remember that the tunnels run vertically inside the upper and lower lid, so the massage should be done vertically as well to remove the oil trapped within the vertical tubes towards the opening of the glands and eventually out onto the surface of the eye.
We are all busy in the mornings so it shouldn’t take more than 3 minutes to do the heat therapy and the massage. There is an excellent guide to blepharitis treatment on my website. Make the 3 minutes count and don’t be a slave to hot compresses and massage.