Management of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) traditionally involves warm compresses as primary therapy. The exact temperature for a warm compress is unknown, but it has been advocated temperatures of between 40-45 degrees over 5-10 minutes are clinically effective.
CONCLUSION- A HOT WASH CLOTH IS JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the heat retention properties of commercially available eyelid warming masks over a 12-minute interval. Five eyelid-warming masks (MGDRxEyeBag, The Eye Doctor, Bruder Eye Hydrating compress, Tranquileyes and TheraPearl Eye-essential) and a warm facecloth were selected for this study to investigate their heat retention properties.
Not surprisingly, the facecloth is poor at maintaining the desired temperature for the prescribed 5-10 minutes without reheating. All the commercially available masks reached above 40°C within the first 2 minutes after heating and remained so for 5 minutes. The Bruder and Tranquileyes reached >50°C, after heating and the Bruder maintained >50°C for nearly 6 minutes. The MGDRx EyeBag and TheraPearl have the most stable heat retention (in targeted ranges) between 2 and 9 minutes.
Eye doctors prescribe warm compresses regularly for patients, and this study is an important reminder that facecloths are not a stable means of providing sustained heat to be clinically effective without reheating. The commercially available masks all provide sustained heat, though clinicians need to warn their patients that microwaves have different “strengths” and the patient needs to tailor their mask heating depending on the microwave wattage.
This is an abstract from Ocular Surface News, April 9th, 2015