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Eyelid Hygiene: Why It’s Important to Keep Your Eyelids Healthy

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A female with her eyes closed cleaning her right eye with a clean pad.

The eye is one of our body’s most delicate and sensitive organs. It allows us to see and experience the world around us. However, many people often neglect their eye health, especially regarding eyelid hygiene.

Eyelid hygiene refers to the daily cleaning routine that helps maintain good eye health by removing irritants, debris, and bacteria from the eyelids and lashes. This simple yet crucial routine can prevent various eye conditions and maintain the overall health of our eyes.

Restore Vision Center in League City, TX offers a variety of eyelid hygiene products. Check them out in our online store.

Importance of Eyelid Hygiene

Regular eyelid hygiene is essential for several reasons:

Prevents Eye Infections

The eyelids protect the eyes from irritants like dust, allergens and bacteria. However, irritants on the lids and lashes can cause eye infections such as blepharitisconjunctivitis, and demodex. Keeping your eyelids clean can reduce the risk of these infections.

Reduces Dry Eye Symptoms

Dry eye occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or have poor-quality tears. Poor eyelid hygiene can worsen dry eye symptoms as dust, debris, and bacteria can cause inflammation and block the oil glands on the eyelids. Regular cleaning of the lids can help prevent this.

Improves Overall Eye Health

Regular eyelid hygiene not only prevents eye conditions but also promotes the overall health of our eyes. It helps to keep the delicate skin around the eyes clean and free from irritation, reducing the risk of developing more severe eye conditions in the future.

Tips for Proper Eyelid Hygiene

Now that we understand the importance of eyelid hygiene, let’s look at some tips on how to maintain clean and healthy lids:

Wash Your Hands Before Cleaning

Before touching your eyes, always wash your hands. This reduces the risk of transferring bacteria from your hands to your eyelids.

Use a Gentle Cleanser

Choose a mild cleanser designed for the eyes, like these recommended by Dr. Tracy.  Avoid using harsh soaps or products containing alcohol, fragrances, or chemicals that can irritate the eyes. And stay away from baby shampoo as it can strip the natural oils needed to hydrate the eyes.

Okra-based cleansers by Zocular are a good choice as they are gentle and effective. Follow all product directions as some are designed to be rinsed off and others are left on. Some products are small towelettes and others are a foam, gel, or spray which can be applied with clean fingers, cotton rounds, or a clean lint-free cloth. 

Always feel free to call our office if you have questions about how to use your specific cleanser.  

Use a Tea Tree Oil Solution for Stubborn Buildup

If you have stubborn debris or bacteria buildup on your eyelids, you can use specific products with tea tree oil. These are also helpful for people with rosacea or who have been diagnosed with demodex. And some of these products are great and healthy makeup removers. 

Use Clean Hands When Applying Eye Makeup

Always wash your hands before applying eye makeup, and avoid touching your eyes while wearing makeup. This will help prevent transferring bacteria from your hands to your eyes.

Avoid Sharing Eye Makeup

Sharing eye makeup can transfer bacteria from one person to another, increasing the risk of developing eye infections. Consider using disposable applicators or wash your brushes regularly with a gentle cleanser.

Replace Eye Makeup Regularly

Expired eye makeup can harbor bacteria, leading to eye infections. Make sure to check the expiration dates on your products and replace them regularly, especially mascara and eyeliner.

Remove Makeup Before Sleeping

Leaving eye makeup on overnight can cause irritation and increase the risk of bacterial growth. Make sure to remove all eye makeup before going to bed, using a gentle cleanser or baby shampoo. This tea tree oil product is a great, healthy alternative to other chemical-laden makeup removers. 

Avoid Using Old or Dirty Contact Lenses

Contact lenses can also harbor bacteria, especially if old or improperly cleaned. Follow the recommended guidelines for cleaning and replacing your contact lenses.

Consult a Doctor if You Experience Irritation or Infection

If you experience persistent irritation or develop an eye infection, it is important to consult an optometrist. They can diagnose the issue and provide appropriate treatment to prevent further damage or complications.

A woman in an optical clinic shaking hands with her optometrist.

ZEST Eyelid Treatment

ZEST (Zocular Eyelid System Treatment) is a gentle and non-invasive treatment that helps remove any buildup of bacteria, oil, or debris on the eyelids. It’s an okra-based solution applied with a sponge applicator to gently exfoliate the eyelid margins.

This treatment can help improve symptoms such as redness, itching, and irritation caused by poor eyelid hygiene. 

ZEST is a great option for patients experiencing blepharitis, dry eye, or meibomian gland dysfunction.

Other Dry Eye Treatment Options in League City

In addition to ZEST, there are other dry eye treatments available in League City, TX. These include:

  • LipiFlow: treat meibomian gland dysfunction, by applying controlled heat and gentle pressure to the eyelids, promoting the release of obstructed oils and improving overall eye comfort.
  • BlephEx: an in-office procedure used for cleaning the eyelid margins to remove debris associated with blepharitis.
  • Prescription lubricating eye drops: these can include Xiidra, Restasis, or Miebo.
  • Low-Level Light Therapy: is a non-invasive treatment that uses low levels of light energy to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes, targeting the meibomian glands to help increase tear production and maintain a healthy tear film.
  • Meibomian gland expression: This procedure involves gently squeezing the eyelids to release any clogged oil glands, providing relief for dry eye symptoms.
  • MiBo Thermoflo: applies controlled heat while gently massaging the eyelids with ultrasound gel to help break down the hardened lipids in meibomian glands for a healthier tear film.

The Importance of Professional Care

While practicing good eyelid hygiene at home is crucial, visiting an eye care professional regularly is also essential. Eye exams allow your optometrist to detect and treat any vision problems that may require further treatment. 

Your eye doctor can also provide guidance on proper eyelid hygiene practices and recommend specific treatments for your individual needs.

At Restore Vision Center, we understand the importance of professional care for maintaining healthy eyes. We offer dry eye treatment options for those who struggle with irritating symptoms.

Schedule your appointment with us today to take control of your eye health!

Written by Tracy Eickhoff

Dr. Tracy Eickhoff grew up in Friendswood, Texas and graduated from Friendswood High School. She went on to attend Texas A&M University and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biomedical Science in 2004. From there she attended the University of Houston College Of Optometry where she received her Doctor of Optometry Degree in 2008. She is a member of The American Optometric Association, The Texas Optometric Association, and The Gold Key International Optometric Honor Society, The Ocular Nutrition Society, and has served as Adjunct Clinical Faculty at The University of Houston College of Optometry.

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