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How To Make a Warm Compress for the Eye

How To Make a Warm Compress for the Eye
Warm eye compresses help a sty drain. Photo Credit H_Barth/iStock/Getty Images

Warm eye compresses are key components of treatment for some common eye ailments including sties, chalazia and meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). These conditions differ but share in common the blockage of oil glands of the eyes. Applying warm compresses to the affected area promotes resolution of the blockage.

It may seem that making a warm eye compress is quite simple -- just dip a cloth in warm water and apply it to the eye. However, this method is not very effective because it fails to adequately heat the eyelid for a sufficient period of time. The warm compress bundle method is a bit more involved but proves much more effective, as it ensures sustained heating of the eyelid at the appropriate temperature for the time necessary to be helpful.

Step 1

Fold each cloth in thirds, such that each resulting rectangular piece of cloth is approximately the same size.

Step 2

With the narrow end of one of the folded cloths facing you, wrap the end around the drinking straw. If you don't have a drinking straw, use a pencil. Roll the rest of the cloth tightly around the straw then slide the straw out.

Step 3

Taking one folded cloth at a time in the same orientation, roll each cloth tightly around the previously rolled cloth to create a bundle that includes all 5 cloths. Loosely secure the bundle with a large rubber band or piece of string.

Step 4

Dampen the bundle with warm -- not hot -- water from the tap. Squeeze or press out excess water so that the bundle is not dripping wet.

Step 5

Place the dampened cloth bundle into the baking dish and cover with the lid. Microwave for 1 minute and 50 seconds. Heating times may vary, depending on the power of your microwave and the cloths used.

Step 6

Remove the heating dish from the microwave and set aside to cool for 1 to 2 minutes with the lid in place.

Step 7

Remove the lid from the baking dish. Cut the rubber band or string off the cloth bundle. Peel off the outermost cloth. Replace the dish lid to keep the rest of the bundle warm.

Step 8

Test the temperature of the cloth by placing it against your inner wrist. It should be hot but not uncomfortable. If the cloth feels uncomfortably hot, allow it to cool for 10 seconds and recheck the temperature. Repeat as necessary until the cloth reaches an appropriate temperature.

Step 9

Place the cloth on the affected eye. Set a timer for 2 minutes and keep the warm compress in place for this period of time.

Step 10

After 2 minutes, remove the first cloth and set aside. Open the dish holding the other cloths in the bundle. Take the next cloth off the rolled bundle and replace the dish lid. Place the new cloth on the affected eye, set the timer for 2 minutes, and leave the compress in place for this amount of time.

Step 11

Repeat previous step for the remaining 3 warmed cloths. Total application time of the warm compress bundle will be approximately 10 minutes -- 2 minutes per cloth.

Step 12

Repeat the warm compress bundle method 2 to 4 times daily as directed by your doctor.

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