How to Perform a Do-It-Yourself Eyelid Scrub for Itchy Eyes

Blepharitis Can Cause Painful, Itchy Eyelids

Eyelid scrubs. JGI/Jamie Grill

If you've ever woken up with dry, itchy, faking eyelids you've probably had blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids. Blepharitis may cause symptoms such as burning, tired eyes, or even blurred vision. Fortunately, simple eyelid scrubs (along with a few other techniques) can help to relieve the symptoms quickly.

Who Needs Eyelid Scrubs?

According to the Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation, "There are two major types of blepharitis: Anterior Lid Margin Disease (ALMD) and Posterior Lid Margin Disease (PLMD).

ALMD is crusting on the eyelashes due to a superficial infection by any of a number of micro-organisms. ... PLMD is a problem with the glands within the eyelids producing an irregular, thick, oily and unstable tear film to cover the front of the eye."

Treatments for Blepharitis

Hot compresses and eyelid massage can be helpful in treating the symptoms of blepharitis. In addition, supplemental flaxseed and/or fish oils can sometimes reduce blepharitis.

Eyelid scrubs can be effective for relieving dry, itchy, flaking eyelids due to either ALMD or PLMD, though PLMD is more likely to return over time. Eyelid scrubs are exactly what they sound like: a process for removing material from the eyelids in order to treat blepharitis. Since they're inexpensive and easy to perform at home, eyelid scrubs are a great way to keep your eyelashes clean and alleviate symptoms.

It's easy to find over-the-counter eyelid scrubs in pharmacies, and these can be very handy in the office or on the go.

There's no reason, however, to purchase eyelid scrubs for in-home use: it's easy to make your own for a fraction of the cost.

How to Make Your Own Eyelid Scrub

Most doctors currently recommend commercially prepared eyelid scrub packets. They tend to contain anti-bacterial soaps or chemicals that do a better job than baby shampoo.

If you don't happen to have a packet handy, however, try this approach:

What You Need

  1. Clean washcloth, or Q-tip
  2. Warm water
  3. Baby shampoo

What to Do

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Soak a clean washcloth in warm water.
  3. Apply a small amount of baby shampoo to the washcloth.
  4. Close one eye and gently rub the base of your eyelashes with the warm washcloth, being careful to rub the entire area. Do this for one minute. (A Q-tip may be used in place of the washcloth, a gentler option if you have marked inflammation.)
  5. Carefully rinse your entire eyelid with clean, cool water.
  6. Repeat with your other eye, using a clean washcloth.

Useful Tips

  1. Your eye doctor may recommend performing an eyelid scrub two or three times each day to help alleviate your symptoms.
  2. Some eye doctors may suggest an over-the-counter cleansing agent to use in place of baby shampoo.
  3. Always use a clean washcloth for each eye to avoid spreading germs or bacteria from one eye to the other.
  4. If you suffer from blepharitis, eyelid scrubs might become part of your daily eyelid hygiene routine.

Sources:

Sparker, Charles et al. Blepharitis. Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation (BEBRF). Web. 2016.

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