After reading this title, you’re probably wondering why cleaning your eyelids should be a part of your daily hygiene. Well as funny and minimal as it seems, we’re here to explain why cleaning your eyelids may be one of the most important personal habits you can adopt on a regular basis – just like brushing your teeth.
In a perfect world, everyone would have 20/20 vision, see clearly and be able to get through the day without rubbing their eyes red. Unfortunately, as we all know, the world is far from perfect and so are most of our eyes. While we can’t do anything about visual issues that happen to many of us, like being nearsighted or farsighted, we can reduce some of those annoying dry eye symptoms and improve our overall eye health. “Tell me more,” you say? Ahhh, so we got your attention.
Yes, there are ways to maintain good eye health and even to potentially prevent those red, watery and itchy eyes. It’s because for 86% of those who develop dry eye symptoms, the problem starts from the tiny glands in our eyelids, Meibomian Glands. Just like anything else, eyelid debris build up occurs over the course of time and those glands can become clogged. This leads to an unstable tear film, compromising the protective film on our eyes, and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).
Can you hear your mother now?
It is really that simple: clean your eyelids morning and night. Just like flossing and brushing your teeth. According to Caroline Blackie, OD, PhD, one of the foremost experts in MGD, “MGD is like the gum disease of eye care.” You prevent gum disease and plaque from building up by brushing morning and night. Brushing and flossing your teeth takes just a couple of minutes. Cleaning your eyelids takes even less time, but it is an essential part of hygiene which most of us don’t do. Why? Because most of us are not aware of the impact that cleaning your eyelids has on our vision and eye health. And what’s more? This simple task can reduce MGD and Dry Eye Syndrome that occurs to many of us as we age.
We like to keep our teeth in check for multiple reasons (reason number one is a little thing called eating), and we should also want to keep our eyelids in check for other reasons that are just as important. Hmmm what reason could that be… maybe our eye health so that we can see clearly and comfortably! Or, maybe to slow down or possibly prevent us from losing glands that are essential to the healthy tear film necessary for protecting our eyes! A simple daily eyelid cleansing routine may be the difference between a lifetime of fighting MGD and Dry Eye, or a lifetime of healthy comfortable eyes. We brush our teeth because we don’t want to lose them; therefore, clean your eyelids so you can protect your Meibomian Glands. Yes, it can and does happen to millions every day.
How do I Clean My Eyelids?
Take a cotton swab, lightly coat it with petroleum jelly, mineral oil or coconut oil, and gently swipe it across the top and bottom of both eyelids (one at a time, please) back and forth a couple of times. Boom. You’re done and your eyelids are clean. What you are doing is removing debris that would otherwise build-up over time, because when it does, the glands can become blocked. This is when MGD begins. Learn more about MGD here. This is important for everyone, but ESPECIALLY for people who wear make-up every day.
Get In the Routine
While getting in the routine of cleaning your eyelids is first and foremost on the list of things to do for preventing the potential of a serious case of MGD, it isn’t the only thing we can do.
We can also do a few blinking exercises every day. Blinking is when the Meibomian Glands release protective oils that spread across the tear film protecting the watery layer in our eyes. Today’s digital society is blinking less and staring more, which means we are training our Meibomian Glands to stop doing their job. So, as you get in the habit of cleaning your lids daily, you may just want to take a few minutes each day to remember to blink several times in a row, squeezing your eyes shut a few times in the process. Together, these two tasks help to keep your Meibomian Glands clean and working properly.
Note To Moms and Dads:
It’s time to add a little something to those incessant calls for remembering to brush our teeth daily, “Did you remember to clean your eyelids?” If you don’t have kids or they have moved out of the house, this goes for all of us – Wake up America, brush your teeth and clean your lids!