Protecting Your Vision: The Importance of Cleaning Your Eyelids
Although many people don’t realize it, the eyelids play an important role in eye health. They protect the surface of the eye to block out dust, particles, and bacteria. By doing so, the eyelids promote a healthy tear film and help keep the eyes clean and healthy.
The eyelid does a good job of protecting the eye on its own, but people should do their part by making sure the eyelids stay clean. Here, optometrists from GW Eye Associates discuss the importance of cleaning the eyelids to preserve the vision, and offer our La Jolla, CA, Carmel Valley, CA, and San Diego, CA, patients tips for how to clean the eyelids properly.
Conditions That Affect the Eyelids
Most of the conditions that compromise eye health or impact the vision affect the actual structure of the eye, either on its surface or in the nerves and tissues behind the eye. However, there are also conditions that affect the eyelid, and these conditions can have an impact on ocular health and functions. The two most common conditions to affect the eyelid are blepharitis and demodex.
Blepharitis describes an inflammation of the eyelids. When someone suffers from blepharitis their eyelids may be sore, red, swollen, and/or crusty. Blepharitis is most often caused by a buildup of bacteria, which can occur when the eyelids are not cleaned properly. Blepharitis is not only an uncomfortable condition, but it can compromise the tear film and lead to dry eyes, a disease that can compromise the vision.
Demodex is a condition that can develop if blepharitis becomes more advanced. When demodex is present a parasite infects the eyelid and feeds on the bacteria that is present. Like blepharitis, demodex can cause the eyelid to become red, scaly, and inflamed. These symptoms tend to be even more severe and may also include light sensitivity and a burning sensation.
Why Keeping Your Eyelids Clean Is Important
Keeping the eyelids clean is essential to preventing the above mentioned conditions. In addition, clean eyelids promote eye health and help to preserve clear vision. More specifically, clean eyelids protect the glands of the eyelids that are responsible for secreting tears. Tears are essential to eye health because they contain oils that lubricate the surface of the eye and prevent dryness that increases the risk of corneal damage, which can ultimately impact the vision.
How to Clean the Eyelids
Keeping the eyelids clean is a simple process. First, people should cleanse the eyes of any make-up at the end of each day. If the eyelids are red, itchy, or inflamed, they may need to be cleaned several times a day, at least until symptoms improve. While there are many over-the-counter and prescription eyelid cleansers available, it is just as effective to clean them with warm water or diluted baby shampoo. Individuals should follow these steps when cleaning the eyelids:
- Wash your hands
- Moisten a clean washcloth or cotton swab with warm water or a cleaning solution
- Gently wipe the lid and eyelashes from the inside out
- Rinse with warm water
- Using a different washcloth or cotton swab, repeat the process on the other eye
Contact GW Eye Associates
At GW Eye Associates, our optometrists offer a wide range of services to promote eye health and preserve clear vision. To learn more about our comprehensive range of eye care treatments, send us a message online, or call (858) 283-5793.