Why is Eyelid Hygiene So Important?— You Must See

02.12.2022 | Leah | TTDeye Care

Do your eyelids feel irritated or itchy, and look oily? Do you wake up with dry tears around your eyes and feel something is irritating your eyes? Then it's time to pay attention to your eyelid hygiene!

The eyelids are thin, layered structures consisting of skin on the outside, cartilage for structure, mucous membranes to protect the eye, and oil-secreting glands to enable tear stability and minimize friction. They serve to protect and shield the ocular surface from dirt and bacteria and block light so you can sleep comfortably at night. The tear film prevents your eyes from drying out and is produced by the lacrimal glands.

The eyes are delicate structures, and our eyelids which protect them, are exposed to a variety of irritants in our environments. This is why you should care about good eyelid hygiene.

People tend to take eyelid hygiene for granted. However, many eye complications are caused either directly or in part by dirty eyelids. That's why we would remind you to take care of your eyelids.

Read on to learn about the dos and don'ts of eyelid hygiene.

What's the Primary Function of Your Eyelids?

Your eyelids protect your eyes from dirt and all kinds of debris and also block light to help you sleep. In addition, they help keep the cornea moist. Whenever you close your eyes, the eyelids help spread tear film, a lubricant and antimicrobial secretion produced by lacrimal glands, across the surface of the cornea, keeping it from drying out.

We blink approximately every 5 seconds. Together with the eyelashes, the eyelids help protect the eyes from foreign elements that can impact them. They also act as a barrier against exposure to too intense lights or high heat sources.

Here's a lesser-known fact: your eyelids contain the thinnest skin on the body, being made of intricate layers of muscle, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels, and fat. This complexity, combined with their constant exposure to the elements, makes them vulnerable to a number of conditions.


What is proper eyelid hygiene?

Eyelid hygiene involves cleaning habits as simple as removing all traces of eye makeup or using cleaning pads to prevent the overgrowth of bacteria on the lid margins. There are many ways to maintain good lid hygiene.





What happens when you don't pay attention to eyelid hygiene?

People may not always be conscious about eyelid hygiene, but this is something that eye care professionals would like to promote further. Obviously, the lids play an important role in protecting the ocular surface and ensuring a healthy tear film. 

It's important to carry out eyelid hygiene in order to prevent the build-up of oil secretions on the lid margin that is a great environment for bacteria to grow and breed. Failing to give your eyes a thorough clean can cause dirt and debris to accumulate beneath the eyelid, leading to the following eye conditions:

  • Blepharitis
  • Stye
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Marginal Keratitis
  • Dry Eye


Eyelid hygiene involves cleaning habits as simple as removing all traces of eye makeup or using cleaning pads to prevent the overgrowth of bacteria on the lid margins. Without proper lid hygiene, the risk of blepharitis can increase.

Blepharitis is a condition characterized by inflamed eyelids, specifically red, sore and crusty eyelids. This is often caused by an overgrowth of bacteria on the lids, which can then lead to an inflammatory reaction or a disruption of the tear film. In some cases, it may also contribute to the worsening of dry eye symptoms.

Luckily, simple treatment can help relieve the symptoms. Just wash your eyes and place a warm compress on your eyelids to reduce inflammation. If, however, the symptoms don’t subside after cleaning and treating the infected area, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. Blepharitis can be caused by other skin conditions, so you may need to undergo a comprehensive eye exam to rule out the other possible causes.



A stye is a painful red bump on your eyelid edge. Similar to an acne pimple, a stye forms when a tiny oil gland near the eyelashes becomes blocked and gets infected.  A stye is caused by a bacterial infection in your eyelid's oil-producing glands. The oil-producing glands line the eyelids and help lubricate the surface of the eye.

Styes are very common and in many cases, A stye will usually go away on its own. But in cases where it doesn't, you may need to rely on an eye care provider to drain it. They may also prescribe antibiotics to reduce the infection.



Conjunctivitis, also called "pink eye," is defined as an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelids and the whites of the eyes (called the sclera). Conjunctivitis can affect children and adults. The most common symptoms of conjunctivitis include a red eye and discharge.

There are many potential causes of conjunctivitis, including bacterial or viral infections, allergies, or a nonspecific condition (eg, a foreign body in the eye). All types of conjunctivitis cause red eyes, although not everyone with red eyes has conjunctivitis.

Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are both highly contagious and spread by direct contact with secretions or contact with contaminated objects. Simple hygiene measures can help minimize transmission to others:

  • Do not share handkerchiefs, tissues, towels, cosmetics, or bedsheets/pillows with uninfected family or friends.
  • Hand washing is an essential and highly effective way. Washing your hands before and after eating and after touching the eyes, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Alcohol-based hand rubs are a good alternative for disinfecting hands.


Marginal Keratitis

Marginal keratitis is an inflammatory disease of the peripheral cornea, characterized by peripheral stromal infiltrates which are often associated with epithelium breakdown and ulceration.


Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye disease is a common condition that occurs when your tears aren't able to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. Tears can be inadequate and unstable for many reasons. For example, dry eyes may occur if you don't produce enough tears or if you produce poor-quality tears. This tear instability leads to inflammation and damage to the eye's surface.

Dry eyes feel uncomfortable. Without sufficient tears, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Difficulty with wearing contact lenses or driving at night

Treatments for dry eyes may make you more comfortable. Optometrists usually prescribe tear-stimulating drugs to patients suffering from dry eye, but if the underlying cause is inflamed eyelids, your doctor might prescribe some eye drops or ointment. These treatments can include lifestyle changes. You'll likely need to take these measures indefinitely to control the symptoms of dry eyes.



Quick Tip: 

You can also get dry eyes from not blinking enough, which can happen when you stare at a digital screen for too long. Remember, your eyelids are responsible for spreadinommend following the 20-20-2g tear film over your cornea. To prevent your cornea from drying out, eye doctors suggest: look away from your device and focus on something about 20 feet away from you for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes.


Clean your eyelids

An essential part of managing eyelid infections and preventing them is eyelid hygiene. However, you need to take extra care when cleaning your eyelids are extremely thin and sensitive.

Treating Eyelid Infections

Treatment of eyelid infections should almost always involve a warm compress. Heat improves blood flow to an injured or inflamed part of your body, relieving pain and discomfort. It can also melt blocked residue near the oil glands in your eyelids. To prepare a warm compress:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Dampen a washcloth with warm, not hot, water.
  • Close your eyes and place the washcloth over your eyelids for a few minutes. If you have an eyelid infection, your doctor will tell you how long you need to place the compress over your eyes.
  • Gently rub the washcloth over the edges of your eyelids, taking care not to press too hard, before opening your eyes.

Everyday Cleaning 

Remember, your eyelids are thin and sensitive, which is why you should only use a mild cleaning solution to clean them as well as the sensitive skin surrounding your eyes.

  • After washing your hands, moisten a washcloth with a mild cleaning solution.
  • Carefully wipe your eyelashes and eyelids
  • Gently rub the washcloth over the edges of your eyelids, taking care not to press too hard, before opening your eyes.
  • Rinse using warm water.
  • Repeat the same process for the other eye using a different washcloth.

You should clean your eyelids once or twice a day in order to maintain good eyelid hygiene. Cleansing your eyelids daily will ensure that bacteria, dirt, and debris don't accumulate on your eyelids and lashes.

Other Tips for Keeping Eye Hygiene

If you put on makeup as part of your daily routine, eye doctors recommend going through your drawer every six months and replacing all your cosmetic products, especially makeup brushes and mascara. You can also clean your makeup brushes regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria and mites.

If you need to wear contact lenses every day, make sure to clean them daily. Check this blog for How to clean your contact lenses.

We strongly recommend undergoing a routine eye examination to check for underlying eye conditions, including eyelid problems. As you age, the risk of contracting vision-related conditions increases. Through early diagnosis and treatment, you can prevent complications from developing and preserve your vision and quality of life.