Warm compresses heat the debris and crust on the lid margin to or above the melting point of their individual components so that they are easily removed with the lid scrubs.
Technique: Soaking a washcloth in water as warm as the eyelids can stand, and then placing the cloth on the lid surface (eyelids closed) for a five to ten minute period. In the acute phase this is performed 2 to 4 times day.
There are many variations/innovations in the way warmth may be applied to the eye. One method described is the use of a fresh-boiled egg (in its shell wrapped in a washcloth). Another method described is to use a stocking filled with grains of uncooked dry rice heated in a microwave oven to a comfortable warm temperature.
Warm compresses may be combined with eyelid massage. This is especially important in people who have Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). An analogy here will clarify the issue. In MGD the meibomian secretions are turbid and the gland openings are clogged. Think of a toothpaste tube which has butter (instead of toothpaste). When cold, you will not be able to express the butter out of the tube. However, once you heat it, then the butter will soften enough to come out of the tube, but pressure on the tube (squeezing) would still be necessary. Going by this analogy, after warm compresses, the turbid meibomian gland secretions are more fluid, but massage is necessary to express them. Therefore after every 1 minute of warm compresses, massaging the eyelid as follows will be useful: