How to Do an Eyelid Massage for Dry Eye and Styes

Published on
April 3, 2023

Dry eye is a multifactorial eye disease, which means there are a variety of causes and symptoms. The result is a lack of moisture or too much moisture on the eye's surface. It can cause discomfort, blurry vision, and even affect your day-to-day activities. 

The purpose of a dry eye evaluation is to understand what is causing the dry eye which then indicates the ideal treatment. This is especially important for the discussion of eyelid massage, which can be an incredible tool for someone who has dry eye due to clogged oil glands (MGD, /dry-eye/everything-you-need-to-know-about-meibomian-gland-dysfunction/) while making symptoms worse for someone who has corneal conditions among others. 

And treatments for dry eyes are abundant. In this blog we will discuss one successful treatment that can help with dry eye and styes. 

Styes are a condition that can affect the eyelids with an infection of one of the oil glands along the eyelid. 

Fortunately, there is a way to help alleviate these symptoms, and it's an eyelid massage.

In this blog, we will be discussing the benefits of eyelid massage, the proper way to perform it, and how to make the most out of it to improve your eye health. We always recommend doing a comprehensive dry eye evaluation before beginning any form of treatment. Under the guidance of an optometrist you can enjoy the freedom from dry eye. 

The Proper Way to Perform Eyelid Massage for Dry Eye and Styes-Using Heat!!

The first thing to remember when performing eyelid massage is to use a warm compress on the eyelids first. Our optometrist can guide you on the best types of compresses to use. A warm compress will help melt the solidified oils in those oil glands, so that when you massage you are gently expressing them. This loosens the clogged glands and improves natural production of essential lipids for the tear film. 

To truly get the most out of this technique, melting the glands will greatly enhance the outcome of the massage. There are recommended home products as well as in office treatments, we welcome you to speak with our optometrist about the best options. 

At American Family Vision Clinic we highly recommend performing heating and eyelid massages at home to alleviate symptoms (under the direction of an eye doctor). 

These simple techniques can help stimulate the oil glands by removing blocked or clogged meibomian glands in your eyelids. This then improves the quality of your tears and reduces dryness.

Getting Started: 

To perform the massage, you'll need to start by washing your hands thoroughly to avoid introducing any bacteria to your eyes. 

Once your hands are clean, follow these simple steps:

  • Find a comfortable position and close your eyes.
  • Follow the heating recommendations provided by our optometrist to heat the eyelids. 
  • You can use either your fingers or a clean washcloth to do the massage.
  • If you are using your fingers, start at the top of the eyelid and gently apply pressure, pushing down towards the eyelashes. This will help stimulate the oil glands and encourage them to release.
  • Work your way around the eyelid, starting from the inner corner of your eye and moving all the way to the outer corner.
  • Repeat this process for the lower eyelid, this time pushing upwards towards the eyelashes.
  • You have about twenty to thirty oil glands on the superior eyelid, so make sure to move around and apply pressure to each of them.
  • Repeat the process for 1-2 minutes, at least twice a day, for best results.
  • Alternatively, you can start with your finger at the top and then roll down. This can also help stimulate the oil glands and promote the flow of tears.

By performing these simple techniques regularly, you can help alleviate dry eye symptoms and improve the overall health of your eyes. Remember to always wash your hands before touching your eyes and speak to our optometrist before trying any treatment for dry eye. 

Benefits of Eyelid Massage for Dry Eye

The main goal of eyelid massage is to encourage the oil glands of your eyelids, called the meibomian glands, to release the solidified oils that clog them. This will help produce healthy new oils, which is really important for anybody who's struggling with evaporative dry eye disease, chalazion, or stye.

One of the most significant benefits of eyelid massage is that it can help improve the quality and quantity of the meibum. The meibum is the oil that is produced by the meibomian glands, which helps keep the tears from evaporating too quickly. When the meibum is thick and not flowing correctly, it can cause dry eyes and other related issues.

Make the Most Out of Eyelid Massage for Dry Eye

Aside from performing the massage correctly, there are a few things you can do to make the most out of it:

  • Do eyelid massage daily to help prevent dry eyes and styes from occurring.
  • Combine eyelid massage with other treatments like warm compresses, lid scrubs or wipes,  or in-office treatments..

If you have any questions or concerns about your dry eye or stye, you can schedule a dry eye evaluation with our eye doctor by calling (360) 491-2121.

Take Our Online Dry Eye Quiz

Take our dry eye assessment to see if your symptoms indicate that you are suffering from treatable dry eye disease /dry-eye/dry-eye-quiz/

Improve Your Vision and Relieve Dry Eyes with Eyelid Massage - Tips from Olympia Optometrist

At American Family Vision Clinic, we want to help you take care of your eyes and improve your vision. If you are struggling with dry eyes or styes, eyelid massage can be a great way to help alleviate your symptoms. Try incorporating eyelid massage into your daily routine, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at (360) 491-2121.

Patients with dry eye visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of dry eye services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.



Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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