What is eyegiene?
Most people understand basic and proper hygiene by now, we all know after the pandemic how important washing our hands can stop the spread of sickness and diseases, or that brushing your teeth can keep your teeth and body healthy! But do you now about proper Eye Hygiene, also called "eyegiene" in many eye clinics now a days? Poor eyegiene can make your eyes feel itchy, inflamed and dry, a condition known as blepharitis. Really bad cases of blepharitis can become a chronic issue, and lead to more severe eye issues such as severe dryness, infections, sty's and chalazions. Just like any other kind of body hygiene, maintaining a good eye cleansing routine and practicing good "eyegiene" is the best you can do as a preventative approach to keeping your eyes healthy and comfortable.
Why is good "eyegiene" important?
Keeping up on your "eyegiene" routines on a regular basis can help stop future eye problems before they progress into something more serious. There are a number of issues that can be prevented simply by keeping your eye lids and lashes clean, including the following:
- Blepharitis: When inflammation of the eye lid margins causes red, inflamed, crusty and itchy eyes
- Dry Eye: When they tear film is not healthy due to imbalance of water, oil and/or proteins
- Stys: Bacterial infections of the Meibomian gland
- Infectious Conjunctivitis : Inflammation of the conjunctiva tissue caused by a bacterial infection
How to practice good "eyegiene"
It is a relatively simple task to keep up with your eyegiene, the most important thing is making sure you do it regularly, especially if you notice it makes a difference for the comfort of your eyes! Here a few very simple things you can do every day to keep up with this task, without taking too much time out of your day!
- Warm Compress: This isn't necessary every day for most people, but if you have dry eyes or blepharitis already it is a great practice to do. Using a soft face towel, soak in hot water (but not hot enough to burn of course!), lay the moist warm towel over your eyes until it starts to cool, or a minimum of 5 mins. There are also warm compress masks that are microwaveable, require no water, and many find easier to use. Follow heating directions included with your warm compress mask, and always test right out of the microwave for correct temperature before placing on your eyes, to avoid burning yourself in any way. Using a warm compress helps to increase blood flow to the lids, as well it can help to break up any difficult debris that may be on the lashes.
- Use a cleanser on your lashes: using a soft moist towel or make up pad, apply cleanser to the lashline with eye closed. Using a circular motion and being sure to get right into the lash line and between the individual lashes, scrub the lashes and lids with your chosen cleanser. Many people like to use baby shampoo as a lid cleanser, which works fine. There are also a number of products specifically design for good "eyegiene", we discuss those a little later. Lid and Lash cleansing can be done after a warm compress for the best results.
- Remove eye make up before bed, and always replace your eye liners and mascaras every 3 months if not used up by then.
- Always wash your hands before touching your eyes and when inserting or removing contacts.
Favorite "eyegiene" Products
There are quite a few options for cleansing your lids and lashes. As mentioned before, for the less serious cases, many patients find using baby shampoo as a gentle and cheap solution for cleaning their lids and lashes. However, lots of people may find superior relief when using a cleanser that is specially designed to maintain good "eyegiene". Here are some of our clinic's favorite options:
- I-Med Pharma has a few options for cleansers in their I-Lid and Lash line of cleansers. Our favorite are the premoistened lid wipes, and they come in a regular formula, as well as an extra strong formula that contains tea tree oil. This cleansing gel is very gentle and moisturizes with Hyaluronan to give you ultimate comfort for your eyes. These cleansing gels also come in a pump formula if you do not want the pre moistened wipes!
- Thea also has some proven cleansers that are specifically design to alleviate symptoms of blepharitis, but it can be used as a preventative measure as well. Blephagel comes in a little pump, and the Blephagel Duo kit also comes with clean eye pads to use with the cleansing gel. You can also get this product in premoistened wipes called Blephaclean. It is the same formula as the blephagel, just already on the lid wipe for you! Blepha products are especially good for anyone with sensitive skin or eyes, because they are so gentle. These products also utilize Hyaluronan, so you know you are getting the best for the moisturization of your eyes.
- OcuSci has created a reusable hot compress mask which makes it very easy to use a warm compress without the hassle of dealing with all the hot water. This Dry Eye Compress from OcuSci can be heated in the microwave OR a standard oven! Always test the mask temperature before using on your eyes to be sure you do not burn yourself. You can also put this in the freezer to cool for a cold compress if needed for headaches or other reasons. This compress has a soft cloth material cover that is machine washable and is infused with antimicrobial silvers!
- Bausch and Lomb has the Therapearl eye mask which can be used hot or cold as well. This soft gel eye mask utilizes the TheraPearl technology to provide maximum flexibility while staying drip free! Can be heated in the microwave for warm compress, or kept in the freezer for a cold compress. Always test the mask temperature when heating before using on your eyes to be sure you do not burn yourself.
There are many different "eyegiene" products out there, many of which will be more effective than some others. It is always best to check with your optometrist to find out what the best cleanser for you would be, or if you have any limitations.
If you would like to know more, book an appointment with our optician to discuss your good "eyegiene" options!