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01/04/2020

Eyelid inflammation, also known as blepharitis, as well as chalazion (stye), are very common eye conditions, the best form of preventing them is with hygiene of the eyelids.

In patients who already have symptoms of any of these pathologies, it is recommended to  perform the cleaning twice a day, in the morning and at night. But it is equally recommended that patients without discomfort incorporate eyelid cleaning into their hygiene routine, doing it once a day.

Currently, there are three methods to perform a correct cleaning of the eyelids, although some are newer and therefore less known:

Wipes

They are the method used by most patients and also the oldest. They are specifically designed for eye hygiene and achieve a double action:

1. Chemical effect thanks to the soap with which they are impregnated, since it dissolves the greasy and flaky material that is generated in the eyelids, around the eyelashes, without causing itching.

2. Mechanical effect thanks to the movement we make when using them, managing to drag and remove excess dirt.

To perform good hygiene with the wipes, it is counterproductive to go from the inner edge of the eye to the outer one, despite being the most intuitive, since all we will do is displace the from one site to another. Remember that scales, fat and inflammation settle at the base of the eyelashes, so if we make a horizontal movement, the only thing we will do is move this excess, instead of removing it.

What ophthalmologists recommend is to wrap a finger with the wipe and perform top-down maneuvers, so that we can comb the eyelashes from root to tip, as if it were hair, to drag the accumulated excess. First, we perform the maneuver with the eye closed, to comb the upper lashes, and then we repeat with the eye open to do the same with the lower ones. In this way, we will observe how the dirt that we have removed accumulates in the wipe.

Soaps

There are a series of cleaning products that incorporate specific characteristics, do not cause irritation and prevent the patient from feeling itching after application. Like the wipes, with these soaps we also achieve the dissolution of secretions in a chemical and mechanical way. But this is an easier cleaning to accomplish than wipes, since it only requires our clean hands, and it is also smoother and faster than the first method.

Soaps are a good option for patients without symptoms, who do not have a very severe blepharitis or who have never had styes, and who simply want to include the eyelids in the cleaning routine.

Sprays

They are the newest method of eyelid cleaning that has recently entered the market. Like the wipes and soap, their action also dissolves the content of blepharitis, but they offer a great differential point, since they manage to modify the characteristics of the base of the eyelashes in the long term so that the patient has less incidence in the future.

In addition to the eyelid cleaning methods at home, there are also medical treatments such as eyelid microexfoliation, an in-depth cleaning of the eyelid margins. This option is recommended for cases of anterior blepharitis, a condition in which there is inflammation of the eyelids, accompanied by the presence of flaky fatty material (similar to dandruff), which in some cases may be infected. In the presence of any discomfort or abnormality, it is essential to go to the ophthalmologist to assess the best option in each case.

Dr. Marta López Fortuny, ophthalmologist at the Barraquer Ophthalmology Centre

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