If you are experiencing dry eye, our eye doctors recommend using warm compresses morning and night.
Hot or warm compresses are a simple, effective, and easy to use home care method for alleviating symptoms of dry eye, particularly for those with MGD-caused dry eye. As with any at-home treatment, however, it is advised to consult with our eye care professional before use.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please call your eye doctor.
Learn how to correctly use a warm compress here.
Warm compresses are soothing for the eyes, and can quickly provide relief. The moisture hydrates the eyes, reducing grittiness, and the warmth from the compress relaxes the eye, relieving pain and muscle spasms which can be caused by dry eye. Additionally, the compresses can loosen clogged oil in your tear glands, which results in better quality tears, which in turn will reduce dry eye symptoms.
At home warm compresses are not a replacement for in office heating and expression of the meibomian glands. Warm compresses are a great additional tool in between treatments in the office. There are three main reasons why at home warm compresses are not as effective.
Some of these in-office treatment options include Systane iLux, Tearcare, Lipiflow, Ocusoft One Touch and Mibo Thermoflo, each of which utilises specially designed devices to precisely apply heat directly to the affected areas. These treatments are typically quick, and provide long-lasting relief.
At Amplify EyeCare we provide treatments using the Ocusoft One Touch. This is a non-invasive, pain free treatment that is administered by a technician and your optometrist. The patient wears the One Touch for 10-20 minutes, following which your optometrist will manually express the meibomian glands, freeing them up from clogged oil. Treatment will take place over 2-4 sessions as determined by your eye doctor, following which the patient will be sent home with a warm compress, eyelid wipes, omega 3 vitamins, and eye drops that are lipid based.
While warm compresses can be effective for treating your dry eye at home, there is more to it than simply soaking a washcloth in warm water. Using a compress like that for a few minutes is generally not so effective since it cannot sustain the warm enough temperature for long, while another common household item, rice bags, emit a dry heat when warmed that is less helpful for clogged meibomian glands. People who try these types of compresses are often disappointed with the results, and from that deem the entire concept ineffective.
Compress packs specifically designed for at-home use for dry eye, such as the Bruder warm compress, tends to be more effective while still being simple to prepare and apply. However as noted above, even specially designed warm compresses do not sustain the optimal heat like in office treatments.
Warm compresses have been found to be an effective at-home treatment for dry eye, if done correctly. The ideal use of warm compresses is when they are used in addition to in office treatment. Warm compresses alone are not as effective, especially long-term, as in-office treatment. If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms and wish to schedule a dry eye evaluation, you can reach out to your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice either via a call or in-person visit. Our team of eye care professionals is ready and equipped to provide you with the care you need.