Does Eyelid Cleaning Improve Dry Eye?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, August 31, 2020

Over 50 percent of dry eye symptoms are caused by inadequate eyelid hygiene.

Dry eye can be a symptom related to many different conditions, but is commonly caused by a condition called blepharitis. Blepharitis occurs when the oil glands located on the edge of the eyelids are blocked with dirt and debris— preventing the oil from flowing naturally into the tear film. The oil is an essential part of the tear film, as it helps to maintain the moisture in the eyes by preventing the tears from evaporating too quickly.

When the tears evaporate before new tears are produced, dry eye symptoms will result.

Cleaning your eyelids everyday, especially if you wear makeup, can improve your dry eye symptoms, and prevent dry eyes from getting worse.

How to effectively clean your eyelids

Cleaning your eyelids on a daily basis is an easy and effective way to ensure that your eyelid’s oil glands remain clear.

  • Wash your hands with warm, soapy water.
  • Place a small amount of lid cleaner (recommended by your eye doctor) on a soft cotton pad.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Gently wipe the cotton pad across your top lashes in circular and horizontal motions for 10-20 seconds, ensuring that you reach every part of your eyelid.
  • Repeat for your lower lashes with a different cotton pad.
  • Rinse your eyes with water.

You can also apply a warm compress to your eyes to loosen any crust from your eyelashes, before beginning this regimen.

Follow this eye care routine as recommended by your eye doctor, typically up to four times a day during flare-ups, and twice a day to keep your symptoms under control.


Blephex is an in-office procedure that relieves chronic dry eye symptoms by eliminating the bacterial debris from the eyelids.

Blephex treatments improve tear production and relieve dry eye symptoms associated with blepharitis. When the inflammation from blepharitis is treated, your overall eyelid health will generally improve.

Benefits of Blephex treatments:

  • Removes bacteria, biofilm, toxins, and debris
  • Cleans eyelids
  • Eyelids remain clean with regular treatments
  • Quick, easy, and painless

Contact an eye doctor near you to find out the best way to clean your eyes to improve your dry eye.

SEE RELATED: Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

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Makeup do’s and don’ts to protect yourself from bacteria and dry eye syndrome

Did you know that your eye makeup may be contributing to your dry eye symptoms?

Take a look at these 10 tips to help you keep your eyes healthy:

  1. Do clean your makeup brushes regularly
  2. Do apply makeup outside of your eyelids, instead of on your lid line
  3. Do apply mascara just to the tips of your eyelashes
  4. Do use lubricating eye drops 30 minutes before applying makeup
  5. Do remove eye makeup before you go to sleep
  6. Don’t use eye makeup remover that contain oil or parabens
  7. Don’t share eye makeup, ever
  8. Don’t use dried-out mascara
  9. Don’t use eye makeup that has expired
  10. Don’t use eye makeup when you have an eye infection

When to see your eye doctor

Inadequate eyelid hygiene can also lead to a condition called Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). If you are experiencing dry eyes, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to determine if blepharitis is causing your symptoms. Speak with your doctor about an eyelid cleaning routine, and the products they recommend using.

Eyelid cleaning will not only improve your dry eye symptoms, but can prevent dry eye from reoccurring. 

LEARN MORE:  Guide to Eye Conditions

Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor to learn more about how to clean your eyes to improve your dry eye.