How often do you clean your eyes? I’m not talking about trying to rub the dryness away. I am talking about physically washing out your eyes. Once a day? Once a month? Never? I’ll be completely honest; I have never washed my eyes. Sure, I’ve used eyedrops a couple of times, but not very often. However, washing our eyelids should be just as important as brushing our teeth!
You’re probably thinking, “this girl is crazy, my eyes are just fine!” That might be true, but let’s think a little harder. After you spend a day at work staring at the computer or a couple of hours binging Netflix or even just scrolling social media, your eyes might begin to feel a little fatigued. Almost like you need to blink more often or maybe close them for a few seconds? That is what we like to call dry eyes. The problem begins with these super small glands in our eyelids called Meibomian Glands.
We all know that particles, debris, dust, and even bugs can get stuck in our eyes. Gnats are the worst! All of this build up begins to clog our Meibomian Glands, which leads to unstable tear film and compromises the protective film on our eyes. This is called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, also known as MGD. Keeping our eyes clean allows the glands to do their job. Even spending more time on digital screens trains our glands to stop working because we don’t blink as often.
It seems like a hassle to have to clean your eyes, but in reality, it is quite simple. It takes less time to clean your eyes than it does to brush your teeth. Now you have no valid excuse!
How To Clean Your Eyes
You might be thinking, “ew, I am not touching my eye twice a day to clean it” or “I struggle with my contacts, how am I supposed to shoot water into my eyeball?!” It doesn’t have to be that hard or complex. You can simply fill a bowl with water and submerge your eye into the water. (I’ve never tried this and honestly it seems a little difficult. Plus, I’m trying to wash my eye…. Not my entire face.) Or you can use an eye wash cup. These little tools can be filled with a sterilizing solution (one that you would use for contacts) or water works fine too. You’ll then lean your head back and hold the cup over your eyeball. Keep your eye open and blink a couple of times to get the debris moving.
It’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it. It’s kind of like opening your eyes underwater when you’re swimming. At first its painful and you’ll probably hate it, but after several times you think to yourself, “how have I never done this before?! It’s awesome!” That’s how washing your eyes will go (probably not as exciting, but you’ll get the hang of it.)
Where To Keep Safety Precautions
- At Home: Clean your eyelids in the bathroom, right after you brush your teeth. When you associate a new task with one that is innate, it’ll help it turn into a habit. Leave your eye wash cup on the counter if you think you’ll forget and need a visual reminder.
- First Aid: Add an eye wash cup to your first aid kit, right next to your band aids. Just as you keep band aids for when accidents happen, that’s what your eye washing kit should be for too. You hopefully won’t need to flush a burning chemical out of your eye, but just in case.
- At Work: If you have an office job like me, this might seem a little silly because the only thing that might get stuck in your eye is a grass particle when you walk into the building. However, if you work in construction, a factory, somewhere with chemicals, or where you have to deal with sawdust you might want to keep one handy. There are numerous jobs that run the risk of needing an eye wash kit nearby. Some industries even have the big eye wash station in their facility because the risk is much higher. However, it is still beneficial to have one nearby you in case of an urgent emergency. You can start the cleansing process while you run over to the eyewash station.
What Not To Do
Whether you’re at work or just watching Friends at home, two of the most important things to remember NOT to do when a particle gets into your eye is to rub or patch it. Rubbing your eye with a foreign object inside, allows the object to move around on your eye causing a potential scratch to the cornea. Likewise, if you obtain a scratch to the cornea don’t patch it because that will allow the bacteria to grow faster. Therefore, the risk for infection is must higher.
When you do obtain a scratch to the cornea, it will be painful (even it is a tiny scratch). The cornea is the most sensitive part of our body, therefore, even the smallest scratch will feel like you have a pencil sticking into your eyeball (I apologize for the graphic image created in your head). You will have increased redness, headaches, blurry vision, eye twitching, and light sensitivity with an abrasion to the cornea.
Take Care Of Your Eyes
Our eyes do so much for us every day, we all know that. It’s one of those things that we take for granted, until it’s gone. By washing our eyelids every day, we can ensure that our vision stays clear. Cleansing your eyelids does not mean that you will have 20/20 vision (although, I do miss the days of no glasses). Normal vision issues will still happen, but we can reduce dry eyes and improve our overall health of our eyes. They will feel more comfortable and less tired (which I could use, because even writing this I can tell that I am blinking less by just staring at the screen. The blue light is just mesmerizing, right?)
The main takeaway? Washing your eyelids should become as important to you as brushing your teeth! Let’s embark on this clean eye journey together. Let me know how you’re doing in the comments below! As always, you know where to find me…. the comments, social media, or email.
A. (n.d.). Protecting Your Eyes at Work. Retrieved June 14, 2019, [Learn More at AOA]
D. (2017, May 31). I wake up, brush my teeth, and clean my eyelids. Retrieved June 14, 2019, [Learn More Here]
Hellem, A. (n.d.). Corneal Abrasion: How to Treat a Scratched Eye. Retrieved June 14, 2019, from [Read More Here]