Using warm compresses daily can be helpful for people with Sjögren’s. Tears are the eye’s natural lubrication. In dry eye, the eyelid oil glands (Meibomian) often become hardened and clogged; the oil becomes thickened preventing the oil from covering and protecting the surface of the tear film. Applying warm compresses over the eyelids assist in “liquefying” the oil (thinning the viscosity), allowing the oil to flow into the tear.
Warm, WET Compresses
Insert an artificial tear or gel into both eyes; blink several times. Place a warm, wet, clean facecloth over the eyelids for up to 10 minutes daily as needed. The cloth should be as hot as you are comfortably able to handle being careful not to burn yourself. Apply once per day as needed.
Warm, DRY Compresses
If you find using a wet cloth too irritating to the skin around the eyes, try using a dry facecloth instead. Insert an artificial tear or gel into both eyes; blink several times. Place a warm, DRY, clean facecloth over the eyelids for up to 10 minutes daily as needed. The cloth should be as hot as you are comfortably able to handle being careful not to burn yourself. Apply once per day as needed. There are also many eye compresses available on the market that also work very well.
Rice Sock Method
Another popular effective option is making up your own rice sock. Rice tends to retain the heat longer than a facecloth which makes it a good option. Insert uncooked rice (approx. ½C or as preferred) into a clean sock and tie. This may take a bit of experimenting at first. Put the rice sock into the microwave on high for 15-20 seconds to start; keep warming slowly until you have reached a temperature that is tolerable and comfortable. Place the sock over the eyelids for 5 to 15 minutes; apply once per day as needed.
CAUTION: Test the temperature cautiously when applying heat (dry or wet) to the eyelids to avoid burning or irritation.
Do not overuse. You are strongly urged to consult with your doctor to discuss specific concerns.