After struggling to keep blepharitis under control for well over a year, it became obvious to me that the ‘hackneyed’ advice about washing your eyes with a specialised sterile cleansing solution, simply wasn’t sufficient to combat the my worsening symptoms!
I strongly believe that the solution, or better still purpose-designed wipes, play a fundamental role in alleviating the symptoms of blepharitis, but to establish a truly successful routine, you have to include some form of heated eye compress, and this is where eyepads can really help.[gard]
To begin with some people may think it is sufficient to apply a warm towel (or flannel) to their eyes. Indeed in some cases of mild blepharitis this might be adequate but this method does have a couple of drawbacks.
Firstly, the towel doesn’t stay hot for long enough and so after 2 or 3 minutes it needs reheating! Secondly the towel may be TOO hot to begin with, when you first take it out of the microwave. Although I think you would struggle to do any long term damage to your eyes, applying an overly hot flannel can cause significant pain (which is the last thing you want if you’re struggling with an ‘outbreak’ of blepharitis)!
Finally, another significant problem with the heated flannel method is that just ‘resting’ the flannel on your face does not provide enough of a ‘compress’ action. Theoretically you could tie the flannel to your face or use some form of elasticated wrap to add pressure, but given that specialist eyepads for blepharitis are so cheap, I think it’s a much better option to buy one.
There’s plenty of eyepads available and many of them use the same principle – being filled with a material which will retain heat for around 5-10 minutes. The filling also provides sufficient weight for the ‘compress’ element that’s required to treat blepharitis.
My favourite is the MGDRx Eyebag which is available from Amazon and costs just over £10.00
To use the MGDRx Eyebag you simply heat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds and then make yourself comfortable with your head tilted slightly back. The heat of the eyebag will naturally release the oils in your eyelids which will help to lubricate sore eyes and alleviate the pain of blinking. The manufacturers recommend using the bag twice a day for 2 weeks and then using it less frequently when you enter a ‘maintenance’ phase.
Given the hassle of messing around with wet flannels, the possible risk of burning and their inefficiency as a warm compress, I highly recommend that anyone suffering with the symptoms of blepharitis purchases a specialised eyebag for themselves. They won’t regret it!