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Eyelid Hygiene: Why It Matters to Eye Health

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A close-up of a man's face with a pair of clean and healthy eyelids.

Regular eye exams can help protect the health of your eyes and your body as well. Our sight is a precious gift, and there are many ways we can safeguard it.

Did you know that your eyelids serve more than just protecting your eyes from dirt and light? They also contain glands that produce essential oils for your tears, which help keep your cornea healthy. 

Additionally, blinking stimulates the glands in the eyelids, producing oily droplets that help lubricate the eyes. When you blink or close your eyes, the tear film spreads across the cornea, preventing it from drying out. 

However, due to their exposure to the environment, eyelids can be susceptible to certain conditions, and it’s crucial to practice proper eyelid hygiene to keep them healthy. A great eye care center can help you maintain the health and hygiene of your eyes.

What Is Eyelid Hygiene?

Have you ever heard of eyelid hygiene? Taking care of the delicate area around your eyes is important for good eye health. Your eyelids are sensitive and contain the thinnest skin on your entire body, which is why you need to give them some extra TLC.

How Can You Take Better Care of Your Eyelids?

It’s not just about keeping your eyelids clean—although that’s definitely a great start. A comprehensive care program for your eyes also includes regular assessments by your eye care.

You can experience many benefits by taking care of your eyelids. For example, cleaning your eyelids and lashes helps safeguard the countless glands that line your upper and lower eyelids—these are called meibomian glands, and they secrete meibum, an essential ingredient for healthy tears. Neglecting to clean this area can lead to the accumulation of bacteria, which can result in a range of issues.

What Are the Steps for Proper Eyelid Hygiene?

Start by washing your hands. Then use a warm, moist compress or an eyelid cleansing system to loosen debris and improve meibum fluidity. When cleaning the lid margin, be sure to use a gentle rubbing motion with a cotton bud or other applicator, avoiding contact with the eye.

A young woman washing her hands using soap and water.

Common Eye Conditions Related to Poor Eyelid Hygiene

Disorders of the eyelids are common, with meibomian gland dysfunction, blepharitis, and dry eye being some of the most frequent dry-eye-related issues eye care practices see.


Eyelid inflammation, also known as blepharitis, is a prevalent eye condition that can cause redness, swelling, irritation, and itchiness. It can also result in dandruff-like flakes on your eyelashes. The primary treatment for blepharitis involves regular cleaning of your eyelids to eliminate any crust and debris. 

While it can be uncomfortable, it is not contagious and typically does not cause permanent damage to your eyes. The condition may not disappear completely, but there are ways to manage its symptoms. Your eye doctor can recommend a solution for blepharitis based on your unique needs.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Many older adults experience dry eye, which is a common and often-persistent issue. Whenever the eyelids blink, tears spread over the cornea (the front surface of the eye). 

Each blink:

  • Lubricates the eye
  • Reduces the risk of eye infection
  • Washes away foreign particles
  • Maintains smoothness and clarity on the eye’s surface

Excess tears drain into tiny drainage ducts in the inner corners of the eyelids, which then flow into the back of the nose. Dry eye can occur due to an imbalance in the tear film or an underproduction of tears.

Symptoms of dry eye can include:

  • Red whites of the eye
  • Stinging, scratching, or burning sensations
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Watery eyes
  • Stringy mucus 
  • Blurred vision

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Meibomian gland dysfunction refers to a range of conditions that are caused by problems with the meibomian glands. These glands are located in the eyelids and produce an oil that helps keep moisture on the surface of the eye. When the glands become clogged or otherwise dysfunctional, it can lead to dry eyes and other discomfort. It is important to keep the glands clean and healthy to prevent problems with the eyes and eyelids.

Protect Your Eyes with Eyelid Hygiene

By being consistent with your eye care regime, you can prevent issues from arising due to poor eye care. If you experience any uncomfortable eye symptoms, contact us at Rancho Santa Margarita Optometry.

At Rancho Santa Margarita Optometry, we’re committed to helping you protect your eye health through a personalized care program. Book an appointment today, and let’s work together to keep your eyes in tip-top shape!

Written by Total Vision

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