Taking your sight for granted is easy —until you encounter problems with your vision or other complications around the eye area.
Our eyes take a beating every day. Smog, pollen, smoke of all types, cosmetics, and other substances contribute to red and itchy eyes—and lots of eye-rubbing. We put our eyes through stress all day long: staring at computer screens, reading in a dimly lit place (or writing), driving and working long hours.
Simple daily use is abusive enough on our eyes. While a small amount of redness or itchiness is normal, there are steps you can take to help your eyes.
The most common eye complaint:
My eyelids frequently get red and sore. Sometimes I even get bumps along my lid margin. What can I do?
The condition is called blepharitis also referred to as “Granulated Eyelids.” It is the most common cause of these particular symptoms. Blepharitis occurs when the oil glands lining the eye lids become plugged with oils and bacteria and get inflamed, causing the redness and the itching.
When oils back up into the tissue of the lid, the body will send white blood cells to clean up the oils and a boil-like bump, or stye appears. Many people have mild forms of this condition but are asymptomatic.
The bump will feel like a small, hard, round bea bee under the eyelid.
If the bump starts to bother you or obscure your vision, it needs to be treated. The condition needs treated with at least conservative measures such as lid hygiene.
Sometimes medications are required to calm down the inflammation and fight any spread of bacteria. If the styes do not resolve on their own there is a surgical procedure that can be performed to remove them.
There are two components to lid hygiene: hot compress and massage. You can do the compress with a warm cloth or with a rice pack and then follow that with a lid massage. Below are instructions on how to do both.
Warm Washcloth Compress:
Run a clean washcloth under very warm water (DO NOT BURN YOURSELF) and wring it out. Apply to eye lids for 5 minutes, re-warming as needed. This opens the clogged oil glands and loosens oil and debris trapped there. Follow with lid massage if indicated by your doctor.
Rice Pack Compress:
Put one cup of uncooked rice in a clean cotton sock. Tie a knot so it forms a firm ball. Heat in the microwave 30-45 seconds until very warm (DO NOT BURN YOURSELF) and apply to lids for 5 minutes. This opens the clogged oil glands and loosens oil and debris trapped there. Follow with a lid massage if indicated by your doctor.
After using a warm compress on the eye lids, pull the outer corner of the eye gently but firmly so the lashes and eyelid become straight and you cannot open your eye.
Take your clean fingertip and massage along the lash line outside the lids 10-15 times gently but firmly. You want to feel the eyelashes under your fingertip so you know you are massaging the correct area.
You can use a gentle facial cleanser while massaging the lids if wanted. We recommend Cetaphil cleansing Lotion. There are also commercial products for washing the lids. They are usually individually packaged pads in a soapy solution. Remember to always do a hot/warm compress prior to any lid massage.
We recommend a hot compress and lid massage daily using a mild cleanser on the lids to remove any crusting, old oil and bacteria.
For more information about keeping your eyes healthy, check out Accent on Eyes’ Frequently Asked Questions.