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How to Choose the Best Warm Compress

Views: 3747
Reviewed by Nymark M, PhD on November 2, 2016

Warm compresses are incredibly useful when it comes to finding natural ways of relieving the discomforts and issues caused by eye problems. Many people turn to warm compresses when they are suffering from dryness, redness, or irritation in the eye area. It should be noted that it is important to speak to your doctor about the treatment that is best for you if you are suffering from eye-related issues. Although a warm compress can help to relieve some of the symptoms of your specific condition, particularly if you are experiencing inflammation, suffering from allergies, or have a problem of blepharitis, your doctor may also recommend other forms of treatment and medication alongside your self-treatment.

What Is a Warm Compress?

A warm compress is a simple form of self-treatment that you can use at home to help yourself alleviate the various discomforts associated with common eye problems. Most of the time, a basic warm compress can be made using hot water and a soft flannel that can be draped carefully over the eyes. In some cases, it is possible to purchase a warm compress from a store that includes small beads within a soft casing. The substance within the compress can be carefully heated using a microwave oven and then placed over the eyes. It’s very important that you follow the instructions on the packaging when using this form of eye relief, as heating the product too much could lead to burns and other serious problems.

Warmth is a natural and therapeutic solution that people turn to regularly to help them with a wide range of health problems and discomfort. The right amount of heat applied with the right degree of pressure to certain areas on the body can do wonders for easing discomfort within muscles, promoting the proper secretions of oils within the glands of the eyes, and reducing tension that is caused generally from over use. In some cases, a warm compress can refresh the eyes after a long day spent reading or looking at a computer screen as tiredness and exhaustion can easily have a negative impact on the eyes.

Many people regard a warm compress to be particularly helpful when they are suffering from Meibomian gland dysfunction or blepharitis. These ailments are generally responsible for causing debris to form on your eyelids in the form of flaky skin or dandruff. Fortunately, the moisture that your eyes can absorb from the warm compress, particularly when you use a simple remedy such as a wet flannel, can loosen the debris and make it easier to remove. After all, the last thing you want to do when you are already suffering from eye problems is to pull and tug at your eyelids.

On top of that, it’s worth noting that warm compresses can assist the natural glands within your eyes to detoxify and begin working properly once again. This can be very important to those who are suffering from an oil buildup. Warm compresses enable your eyelid to make more fluid in the surrounding glands that will help to build up your tear film and relieve issues associated with dry eyes and flaking. On top of that, if you are suffering from a stye, then applying a warm compress to the affected area can assist in pushing the body to heal itself by increasing the amount of blood flowing to the area.

Choosing the Best Warm Compress

Choosing the ideal warm compress for your specific eye-related problems will be something that depends on your doctor’s recommendation and your personal needs. For instance, if you are looking for a way to remove eye debris, then generally it is best to go with a simple cloth found in the house and put it in warm water. This will help soften the dry skin around the eyes. In addition, if you are suffering from a stye, then a dry warm compress might be the right way forward.

Primarily, there are two types of warm compress that a person can use to alleviate an eye related problem:

  1. Dry warmth – this can be achieved by placing a protective layer of fabric between your skin and your warm compress, or using a product that has been specifically designed to provide warmth while staying dry. However, don’t try to use a hot water bottle or a product that has been designed for a larger body surface.
  2. Moist warmth – washcloths or towels can easily and quickly be soaked in warm water, then wrung out and placed on the affected area to provide some relief from various eye related symptoms. Many people find that moist warmth is far more effective when it comes to relieving muscle pain and increasing moisture around the eyes.

Commercial hot packs generally aren’t recommended for use around the eye as they are often too bulky and heavy and could put too much pressure on the eye itself. Also, if the pack is damaged such that it leaks, the chemical may get to the eyes and cause vision problems.

Doctors generally recommend warm compresses as a form of natural and safe treatment to alleviate a range of symptoms and treat a variety of different issues, from joint stiffness to muscle soreness, and eye problems. While it is possible to purchase heat packs and special eye packs from a pharmacy, many people find that it is just as simple and much cheaper to make one for yourself using cheap and simple materials that can be found in your home.

One important thing to keep in mind before you start searching for the ideal warm compress, however, is that you’ll need to consult with your doctor. Talking to a medical professional will allow you to learn whether the medical issue that you are experiencing is better treated by the application of hot or cold energy. It can also ensure that you have remembered to take the proper safety precautions in creating your own warm compress to avoid burns.

How to Make a Warm Compress for Yourself

Making a warm compress at home is incredibly simple. Simply follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to ensure that you do not accidentally transfer any bacteria onto the compress that you will be placing over your eyes. You don’t want to encourage any infection.
  • Fold a soft and clean washcloth into thirds, lengthwise so that it will drape comfortably over your eyes.
  • Fill a clean medium-sized bowl with lukewarm water from the top. Do not boil water or use scalding hot water from the tap.
  • Submerge your folded washcloth into the water to get it warm and moist.
  • Bend over the sink and remove your washcloth from the bowl of water. Wring the washcloth out somewhat so that it isn’t dripping wet, but remember that it should still be quite wet if you want to use moist warmth. Most people find that it is helpful to dip the washcloth back into the bowl of water every few seconds to keep it warm and moist.
  • If you want to use dry warmth then the best way to do this is to make the water in your bowl much hotter, then dip the fabric as usual. Once the fabric has been fully submerged, wring out as much of the excess moisture as you can, and wrap the material in a thin, clean cloth to press against your eyes. Preferably, you should look for a cloth that has a waterproof backing that should protect you from the moisture. On the other hand, it’s often easier to ask your doctor about microwaveable heat packs for your eyes that you can purchase and take home with you.

Remember, you should always launder the compress after you have used it to avoid the spread of germs in your household. This is particularly important if you are suffering from an eye condition that is contagious, such as conjunctivitis. It’s also worth noting that many experts agree that the best time of the day to start using a warm eye compress is when you wake up in the morning, and just before you go to bed. Keep in mind that you should always use your warm compress about 30 minutes before you’re going to apply any eye-related medications if you want to get the most out of the therapy.

Resources and References:

Warm Compress for Eye – Comprehensive information on the use of warm compresses for eye issues (NewHealthAdvisor.com)

How to Make a Warm Compress – An easy-to-follow guide on how to create your own warm compresses at home (WikiHow.com)