Regular eyelid hygiene
The aim is to soothe the eyelids, unplug any blocked glands and clear out any stagnant oily secretions from these glands. The eyelids are cleaned and debris is removed. Any contact lens should be removed before following the routine.
This is a daily routine that consists of three parts:
The skin is softened and any crusts attached to the eyelids are loosened. It also allows the oily secretions to flow more freely. Warmth helps in unplugging any blocked glands and allow the oily secretions to flow more readily. Warmth applied to the eyelids for five to ten minutes is sufficient to do this. The traditional method is to press on the eyelids gently with a flannel (facecloth) soaked in very warm water for 5-10 minutes. If the flannel cools, keep re-warming it in the warm water.
Another alternative is to use a specially designed reusable heat bag which could be placed over the eyes for about five minutes. The advantage of a heat bag over a hot flannel is that the heat is retained for many minutes and so it keeps a constant warmth over the eyes. Such a bag should be available with your doctor or ophthalmologists and should be used upon their advice.
Massaging the eyelids immediately after applying the warmth helps push out the oily fluid from the tiny meibomian glands. Massage should be done along the length of the upper and lower eyelids towards the eye that helps in moving the oily secretions toward the edge of the eyelid so that they can come out of the glands. Massaging should neither be too gentle nor too firm. It should be relatively comfortable and one should not press hard enough to actually hurt your eyeball under the closed lids.
After warmth and massage, eyelids should be cleaned. This can be done by various ways such as using cotton wool bud that has been dipped in diluted baby shampoo. Special eyelid scrubs are also available with opticians/optometrists.