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How to Unclog Eyelid Glands

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A woman wiping her right eye with a piece of white cloth.

The tiny meibomian glands in your eyelid can sometimes clog, which may be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience. Whether you suffer from dry eye syndrome or have noticed symptoms such as redness, blurry vision, or a burning sensation in your eyes, the underlying culprit could very well be a blockage in the glands of your eyelid. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will share effective tips and tricks on how to unclog those stubborn glands that could help alleviate the discomfort you may be experiencing. So grab yourself a warm compress, and let’s explore the world of meibomian glands!

Steps to clear clogged eyelid glands include:

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Use a gentle cleanser
  3. Wet a clean cloth with warm water
  4. Gently wipe your eyelids
  5. Apply a warm compress
  6. Repeat as needed

What Causes Eyelid Gland Clogging

Have you ever experienced a swollen or painful eyelid? If so, there’s a chance you could be dealing with clogged eyelid glands. These glands are called meibomian glands and are vital for your eye health and function. They are responsible for producing the oils that keep our eyes lubricated and healthy. 

However, various factors can cause them to become blocked, including stress, a buildup of makeup, and certain medications. The consequences of clogged eyelid glands can be uncomfortable and can lead to more serious issues like infections, blepharitis, dry eye syndrome, or styes. 

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Properly Clean Your Eyelids & Unclog Glands

If you’re dealing with chronic eyelid irritation or dry eye, it could be due to clogged meibomian glands, which sit behind the lashes of your upper and lower lids. By cleaning your eyelids daily and performing warm compresses and gentle massage techniques, you can help get things flowing normally again.  Here’s how:

Step 1: Wash Your Hands

Before touching your eyes, always make sure to wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly. This will prevent any external dirt or bacteria from being transferred onto your eyelids.

Step 2: Use a Gentle Cleanser

Choose a mild, non-irritating cleanser specifically made for the sensitive skin around the eyes. Avoid using harsh soaps or facial cleansers as they can dry out the delicate skin and exacerbate any existing irritation.

Step 3: Wet a Clean Cloth with Warm Water

Soak a clean washcloth in warm water and wring it out so that it is damp but not dripping wet. This warmth will help to soften up any hardened oil in your meibomian glands and allow for easier removal.

Step 4: Gently Wipe Your Eyelids

Using the damp cloth, gently wipe your eyelids in a sweeping motion from the inside corner to the outside. This will help to remove any debris or buildup on your eyelids and unclog your meibomian glands. Be careful not to rub too hard, as this can cause further irritation.

Step 5: Use a Warm Compress

For additional relief, you can also use a warm compress on your closed eyelids for about ten minutes. This will help to loosen up any hardened oil and soothe any discomfort.

Step 6: Repeat Regularly

After a compress it may help to use the cloth again, to clear anything that has been loosened.

To prevent future occurrences, it is crucial to make this eyelid cleansing routine a regular part of your daily hygiene. This will help to keep your meibomian glands functioning correctly and reduce the likelihood of inflammation.

Remember to always be gentle when cleaning your eyelids and avoid harsh chemicals or cleansers that can further irritate the delicate skin around your eyes.

If a washcloth feels too aggressive for sensitive eyes, spending time in the warm water and steam of a shower may also help improve flow and comfort of the glands in your eyelids.

A woman applying artificial tears on her right eye.

Tips on How to Prevent Future Clogs

Keep Your Contacts Clean

It is essential to properly clean and store your contact lenses to avoid any buildup of bacteria or debris. Follow the instructions provided by your eye doctor or the contact lens manufacturer on how to clean and care for your specific type of contacts.

Avoid Sleeping with Makeup On

Leaving makeup on overnight can clog the glands around your eyes, leading to irritation and potential infections. Make sure to fully remove all makeup before going to bed, especially around the eyelids.

Reduce Makeup Exposure

If you are experiencing this discomfort regularly, that may be a sign to reduce the amount of makeup around your eyes, or that it’s time to try a different brand or style. Makeup is a complex foreign material that can cause issues for sensitive organs like your eyes.

Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes

Rubbing your eyes with unwashed hands can introduce bacteria or irritants directly into your sensitive eye area, leading to infections or allergies. If you feel the need to rub your eyes, make sure to wash your hands first with soap and water.

Use Artificial Tears

If you experience chronic dryness or irritation in your eyes, consider using artificial tears throughout the day to keep them lubricated. These drops can provide relief and help prevent further irritation.

Blink Often

Blinking helps keep your eyes lubricated and prevents dryness. When staring at screens, or focussing intently, we tend to blink less frequently, so make a conscious effort to blink often throughout the day.

When To Get Help

When these meibomian glands become clogged or dysfunctional, it can lead to dry eye syndrome. This condition can cause discomfort, redness, and blurry vision. If you’re still experiencing frequent discomfort around your eyes, it could be time to get some professional help.

If you are noticing any of these symptoms, it is time to book an eye exam with Total Vision Del Mar. We can help determine the underlying cause of your clogged glands and potentially prescribe you medication that may alleviate symptoms. Book an appointment today!

Written by Total Vision

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