A Diagram showing the difference between blepharitis and a healthy eyelid

Did you know that your eyelids play a crucial role in maintaining the health of your eyes? Often overlooked, proper eyelid hygiene is essential to prevent various eye disorders and keep your eyes functioning at their best. In this blog post, we will delve into the importance of eyelid hygiene, the role of eyelids in maintaining a healthy tear film, and the consequences of poor hygiene. Furthermore, we will explore essential practices for eyelid care, common eyelid disorders, tips for choosing the right cleansing products, and advice for contact lens wearers.

Join us on this journey to better understand the significance of eyelid hygiene and learn how to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable. Let’s start by exploring the necessity of eyelid hygiene and the role of our eyelids in maintaining eye health.

Key Takeaways

  • Eyelid hygiene is essential for preserving eye health and preventing diverse disorders.
  • Proper eyelid care, including daily cleansing, warm compresses and correct makeup removal, can help maintain healthy eyes.
  • Professional treatments such as LipiFlow or IPL Therapy can help improve eyelid health and manage related conditions.

The Necessity of Eyelid Hygiene

A baby shampoo bottle and a hand washing an eyelid margin

Eyelid hygiene is paramount for preserving overall eye health and preventing diverse eye disorders. Our eyes work with our eyelids to maintain the tear film and protect them. This tear film helps keep our eyes healthy and clear. Proper eyelid hygiene is essential for maintaining healthy eyes and is the initial step in treating dry eyes.

By broadening the definition of eyelid health to include:

  • Screening
  • Patient instruction
  • Warming
  • Massage
  • Cleansing regimens

We can help prevent and manage ocular surface disease.

Patient education about the role of a healthy tear film and eyelids in overall eye health can foster long-term commitment to eyelid care.

Role of eyelids

Eyelids play a protective role, safeguarding against dirt and contaminants, obstructing light, and generating necessary oils for tears to keep the cornea hydrated. A healthy eyelid has a lamellar structure. Its outer surface comprises fine eyelid skin, whereas its inner surface comprises conjunctiva. Muscle groups between these layers control the eyelid movement and the blink reflex. Additionally, the tarsal plate contains meibomian glands. The lacrimal glands produce tears and contribute significantly to maintaining eye health.

The Meibomian glands are located in the eyelids. They secrete oil, which forms the lipid layer of the tear film. Inflammation of the eyelids, known as blepharitis, can be attributed to:

  • bacteria
  • mites
  • dandruff
  • allergies
  • contact lens irritation

Posterior blepharitis results from meibomian gland dysfunction, which can create a cyclical pattern where MGD directly causes dry eye disease.

Warm eye compresses, eyelid wipes, and sprays are recommended to prevent meibomian gland dysfunction and blepharitis.

Consequences of poor hygiene

Inadequate eyelid hygiene may lead to the development of various ocular conditions, including meibomian gland dysfunction, dry eye, and giant papillary conjunctivitis. Adopting a rigorous eyelid hygiene regimen and a consistent cleaning routine to manage blepharitis can help control the condition.

Styes and meibomitis are potential conditions that could arise from unclean eyelids. Ensuring proper eyelid hygiene prevents these issues and maintains overall eye health.

Essential Eyelid Hygiene Practices

The essential steps for sustaining appropriate eyelid hygiene encompass:

  1. Daily cleansing: Utilize a clean, warm washcloth or an eyelid scrub product. Place the washcloth on your closed eyelids for approximately two minutes to loosen oil and debris, then gently rub the washcloth or use an eyelid scrub along the edges of your eyelids, taking care not to apply excessive pressure.
  2. Warm compresses: Apply a warm compress to your closed eyelids for 5-10 minutes to help loosen any crust or debris and soothe the eyelids.
  3. Complete eye makeup removal: Ensure to thoroughly remove all makeup before bed to prevent buildup and potential eye irritation.

Following these steps can maintain proper eyelid hygiene and promote healthy eyes.

Adhering to these eyelid hygiene practices daily, especially before bedtime, is key to maintaining healthy eyes.

Daily cleansing

Regular eyelid cleansing is vital as it helps prevent debris accumulation during sleep, which can cause inflammation and other eye problems, including eyelid swelling. Various methods for eyelid hygiene include using warm compresses, lid scrubs, and pre-moistened eyelid cleansing wipes.

To use eyelid wipes, follow these steps:

  1. Wash your hands and remove any contact lenses.
  2. Open the packet and unfold the wipe.
  3. Close your eyes and gently clean the eyelids and lashes downward, sweepingly.
  4. Fold the wipe and repeat on the other side.
  5. Rinse your eyelids and lashes with water or cleanser if desired.

Warm compresses

Utilizing warm compresses can assist in enhancing eyelid health by:

  • Hydrating the eyes
  • Stimulating tear production
  • Increasing blood circulation
  • Unblocking meibomian glands
  • Providing relief for dry eyes.

To apply a warm compress, follow these steps:

  1. Use a hot (not too hot) dampened compress or face cloth.
  2. Hold it against the closed eye for approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Warming and massaging the eyelids can help relieve meibomian gland obstruction and enhance the stability of the lipid layer.

Eye makeup removal

Completely removing eye makeup is essential to avoid eyelid irritation and infection. Failure to adequately remove eye makeup can result in various risks, including:

  • Eye infections
  • Irritation
  • Damage to the eye surface
  • Severe complications
  • Blindness in some cases

To properly remove eye makeup, avoid rubbing too hard, use a specific eye makeup remover, soak a cotton pad with a dual-phase makeup remover, and gently wipe down over the eyelids.

Common Eyelid Disorders and Their Management

Meibomian gland dysfunction, blepharitis, and dry eye are more common eyelid disorders. Proper eyelid hygiene can help manage these disorders, as it influences meibomian gland function and dry eye.

A comprehensive understanding of the ocular surface and conjunctiva disorders as a related and interacting diseases and risk factors is essential for effective management. Here, we will explore how proper eyelid care contributes to managing these common eyelid disorders.


Blepharitis is a bacterial infection of the eyelashes that causes chronic eyelid margin inflammation. It can be attributed to various factors, including:

  • Bacteria
  • Mites
  • Dandruff
  • Allergies
  • Contact lens irritation

To manage blepharitis, adopting proper eyelid care and regular cleaning is essential.

Seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea, and eczema are skin disorders that present an increased risk of anterior blepharitis. Meibomian gland dysfunction is a potential cause of blepharitis.

Meibomian gland dysfunction

Meibomian glands produce an oily substance that assists in maintaining the stability of the tear film and impedes its rapid evaporation. Studies have shown that Asian populations have a prevalence of up to 60% of meibomian gland dysfunction. Comparatively, this is much higher than the prevalence in Caucasians, estimated to be between 3% and 20%.

Symptoms of meibomian gland dysfunction include:

  • Dryness
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Crusty discharge
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity

Proper eyelid care can aid in the management of meibomian gland dysfunction.

Dry eye syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a condition in which an insufficient amount of tears are produced. Proper eyelid hygiene can assist in reducing symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome.

Inflammation around the corners of the eyelids, resulting from inadequate eyelid hygiene, can impede the oil glands from releasing oil into the tears, potentially causing insufficient tear production.

Treatment options for dry eye syndrome include:

  • Over-the-counter lubricant eye drops, gels, and eye ointments
  • Eyelid hygiene
  • Humidifiers and air purifiers
  • Oral dry eye supplements
  • Prescription drops
  • Ophthalmic procedures

Choosing the Right Eyelid Cleansing Products

Selecting appropriate eyelid cleansing products is paramount for preserving healthy eyelids and warding off lid margin disease or other ocular conditions.

We will examine the ingredients when choosing eyelid cleansing products and the benefits of selecting hypoallergenic and preservative-free options.

Ingredients to look for

Beneficial ingredients commonly found in eyelid cleansing products include:

  • Tea tree oil: purifies the meibomian oil glands and eyelash follicles, offers assistance in wound healing, and possesses natural anti-inflammatory qualities
  • Hypochlorous acid: helps to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation
  • Sodium hyaluronate: provides hydration and moisturization to the eyelids

These ingredients work together to cleanse and nourish the eyelids effectively.

Australian Tea Tree Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, and Hyaluronic Acid are natural ingredients that could benefit eyelid cleansing.

Hypoallergenic and preservative-free options

Utilizing hypoallergenic and preservative-free eyelid cleansing products, such as baby shampoo or a prepared lid scrub solution, can help avert irritation and allergic reactions in sensitive eyes.

Scientific studies demonstrate the advantages of utilizing hypoallergenic and preservative-free eyelid cleansers for sensitive eyes, showing that dedicated eyelid cleansers are more efficacious at alleviating symptoms and enhancing overall eye health.

Using hypoallergenic and preservative-free eyelid cleansers is a safe and gentle approach to preserving healthy eyelids and preventing lid margin disease or other eye conditions.

Tips for Practicing Proper Eyelid Hygiene with Contact Lenses

Eyelid hygiene is particularly critical for contact lens wearers. We will advise on lens cleaning and storage, and underscore the importance of avoiding overnight wear to avert eyelid irritation and infection.

When cleaning and storing lenses, using only the products your eye recommends is important.

Cleaning and storing lenses

Emphasizing the importance of proper lens care to prevent eyelid irritation and infection, it is recommended to:

  1. Wash your hands before touching the lenses
  2. Use fresh cleaning solution
  3. Gently rub the lenses
  4. Rinse with contact lens solution
  5. Soak in fresh solution
  6. Avoid tap water

Failing to clean and store contact lenses adequately may result in serious risks, such as eye infections and keratitis.

Avoiding overnight wear

Wearing contact lenses overnight, particularly when done frequently, can heighten the risk of eye infections, as it creates an environment conducive to bacteria entering the eye.

Overnight contact lens wear can contribute to dry eye syndrome because the contact lens partially obstructs oxygen from accessing the eye, thus limiting oxygen flow and resulting in dryness and discomfort.

Refraining from wearing contact lenses overnight is vital to safeguard eyelid health and minimize the risk of eye infections.

Professional Eyelid Treatments

Various in-office treatments and procedures are available to assist in the improvement of eyelid health and management of eyelid disorders, such as:

  • LipiFlow
  • Intense pulsed light therapy
  • iLux
  • TearCare
  • BlephEx
  • Thermoflo
  • NuLids

Intense pulsed light therapy for eyelid hygiene functions by delivering pulses of light to the eyelids, helping to liquefy and release hardened oils that have obstructed the meibomian glands. The iLux treatment employs heat and a gentle massage to melt obstructions in the meibomian glands of the eyelids, promoting the flow of oils and treating conditions such as dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction.


This blog post explored the importance of proper eyelid hygiene for maintaining eye health and preventing eye disorders. By understanding the role of eyelids in maintaining a healthy tear film, the consequences of poor hygiene, and the essential practices for eyelid care, you can take the necessary steps to preserve your eye health. Additionally, we have guided you on choosing the right eyelid cleansing products and shared tips for contact lens wearers to ensure optimal eyelid health further.

In conclusion, taking care of your eyelids is crucial to maintaining overall eye health. By practicing proper eyelid hygiene, utilizing appropriate cleansing products, and seeking professional treatments, you can keep your eyes healthy, comfortable, and free from irritation and infection.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I improve my eyelid hygiene?

To improve your eyelid hygiene, wash your hands before touching any products, use a warm compress or prepared lid scrub solution recommended by your optometrist, and gently wipe the solution back and forth across the eyelashes and edge of the eyelid with a clean washcloth. Massaging your eyelids with an eyelid scrub can also help release meibum clogged in the meibomian glands.

How can I clean my eyelids naturally?

To clean your eyelids naturally, moisten a clean washcloth with warm water and place it on your closed eyes for five minutes. Repeat this several times daily to help ease irritation and loosen clogged oils. Gently press the edge of your eyelid with your finger after removing the cloth for best results.

Should you wash your eyelids with face wash?

It is important to wash your eyelids every day to prevent bacteria build-up. Face wash can be used for this, but opt for gentle cleansers such as baby shampoo, Cetaphil skin cleanser, Sterilid or Ocusoft eyelid cleansers to avoid stinging.

How do you keep your eyes healthy?

Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses with 99-100% UVA and UVB protection, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking, and wearing safety eyewear when engaging in activities that may be dangerous to your eyes. Follow these steps to keep your eyes healthy and preserve your vision.

What is the role of meibomian glands in tear production?

Meibomian glands play an essential role in tear production, producing an oily substance that helps keep the tear film stable and slows its evaporation.


  1. Article: “Eyelid Hygiene: How to Keep Your Eyelids Clean and Healthy” URL: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/eyelid-hygiene
  2. Article: “Eyelid Hygiene: Why It’s Important and How to Do It” URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/eyelid-hygiene
  3. Article: “The Importance of Eyelid Hygiene for Healthy Eyes” URL: https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/eyelid-hygiene.htm
  4. Article: “Eyelid Hygiene: A Key to Maintaining Healthy Eyes” URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/expert-answers/eyelid-hygiene/faq-20058164
  5. Article: “Why Eyelid Hygiene Matters for Eye Health” URL: https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/eyelid-hygiene


Photo graph of Dr. Conlon operating with loops on.

Dr. M. Ronan Conlon started his career in the field of ophthalmology at the same time as the development of refractive eye surgery in Canada. In 1996, he brought laser technology to Canada from Germany, which allowed him to perform laser eye surgery before it was available in the United States. With the establishment of the Conlon Eye Institute, Dr. Conlon has performed more than 40,000 refractive procedures and has advanced his expertise in LASIK and refractive cataract surgery.

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