Warm Compresses

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Warm compresses can hasten the resolution of inflammation and infection in the eyelids.

Types of warm compresses

The best way to warm the eyelids is to use a wheat bag eye mask. These provide both heat and moisture as wheat bags must be wet before heating. Wheat also holds its heat for longer than other methods. Dampen the outer covering of the wheat bag and place it in your microve. How long to heat your bag in your microwave will require a little experimentation. You want the wheat warm, not scalding.

There are three other common techniques:

  • The simplest method is to fill a bowl with very hot water from the kitchen tap, wet a flannel in this water, wring it out, and place it over the inflamed area. Unfortunately flannels cool quickly. Once again, be careful not to make the flannel too hot
  • A thermos can be filled with boiling water. The thermos mouth is placed underneath the eyelid, allowing steam to warm the affected skin. You must be careful not to place your eyelid too close to the thermos mouth
  • Finally, you can use a hot wooden spoon. The wooden spoon is heated by placing it in a boiling kettle or pot of water. After a minute or two the spoon is withdrawn and dried carefully on a towel to remove all boiling water. The warm wood is then placed over the eyelid

How long and how often?

Hot compresses should be applied for about 10 minutes, four to six times a day to begin with. After a few day, just one treatment is usually enough.

What to expect

Please note that due to the application of heat the skin around the area will look pink or reddened after treatment. It is important that you don’t confuse this with progression of infection or inflammation. An assessment of whether the changes in the lid are getting worse should be made an hour or two after treatment, not immediately following treatment.

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