Dry eye is a problem that afflicts many people. What to do for relief? Of course it is possible to resort to artificial tears but there is a very simple and powerful remedy, applying a warm moist compress on closed eyelids. This may seem like just an old method, but in reality it has been studied by the science that has shown its effectiveness. In addition, it is also a remedy that can also be used at home. There are numerous researches that have verified the usefulness of hot compresses against dry eye, we can cite the research published a few years ago in the journal Optometry and vision science by a group of American scientists (Murakami et al, Optom Vis Sci, 2015 ), or the research published in the journal Eye and Contact Lens by a group of the prestigious Harvard Medical School in Boston (Olson et al, Eye Contac Lens, 2003).
Dry eye, the main causes
Dry eye is a condition that can create discomfort, a burning sensation and blurred vision. One of the main causes of dry eye is a dysfunction of the meibomian glands. These glands are located at the base of the lashes, on both the upper and lower eyelids. Their task is to secrete an oily substance that has to curb the too rapid evaporation of tears. If the functionality of these glands is altered due to a blockage in the leakage of this substance, then the consequence may be dry eye. What to do in these cases? As we had the opportunity to mention at the beginning, a simple but really effective method can help, the hot compress.
Warm compresses for dry eye
Studies have tested the effectiveness of several types of compresses on adults, without ongoing eye inflammation and who had not undergone eye surgery in the last six months. Typically, the tests were carried out on one eye while the other was used as a control. The tested compresses were hot and dry applications, namely in this case a cloth was only heated, hot and humid, in this case the cloth was immersed in hot water, or even compresses whose heat was chemically activated. Well, only hot and humid compresses have been shown to increase, even up to 80%, the thickness of the lipid component of the tear film, so as to be able to more effectively counteract the rapid evaporation of the aqueous part of tears and the dry eye. And this after only 5 minutes of applying the compress. After 15 minutes of application, the thickness of the lipid layer increased by another 20%.
Warm compresses, warnings
The same scientific studies have observed that, for the compress to work effectively, the heat of the water in which to immerse the cloth should be around 40° C. However, it is necessary to be very careful not to heat the water too much above this temperature to avoid damage to the eye itself. In this case, in fact, it is not the hotter the better. In addition, it is necessary to change the compress often to ensure temperature stability. Always ask your doctor for advice if you have recently undergone eye surgery.