Inner eyelid surface temperature as a function of warm compress methodology

Optom Vis Sci. 2008 Aug;85(8):675-83. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e318181adef.


Purpose: To (1) determine an optimal method of warm compress (WC) application to maximize heating meibomian glands in minimal time, (2) determine the maximum inner eyelid temperature achievable during 30 min of routine WC application, (3) examine the cooling curve for 10 min after WCs have been discontinued.

Methods: Subjects were randomly assigned to one of three WC methodologies. Group A (GrA), (n = 10): 15 min WC application without reheating. GrB, (n = 10): 30 min WC application with reheating every 2 min. GrC, (n = 12): 30 min WC application optimizing contact with the lower lid and reheating every 2 min. WCs were heated to 45 +/- 0.5 degrees C. Outer and inner lower eyelid surface temperatures were measured at baseline and regular intervals.

Results: GrA: the maximum outer and inner lower eyelid surface temperatures = 41.2 +/- 0.3 degrees C at 1 min and 38.8 +/- 0.2 degrees C after 4 min, respectively. GrB: the maximum outer upper eyelid temperature, 43.3 +/- 0.5 degrees C, was reached after 6 min while it required 30 min to reach the maximum inner lower eyelid temperature, 40.4 +/- 0.3 degrees C. GrC: it required 4 min to reach the maximum outer lower eyelid temperature, 42.2 +/- 0.4 degrees C, while it required 20 min to reach the maximum inner lower eyelid temperature, 40.8 +/- 0.3 degrees C.

Conclusions: To optimize WC efficiency, patients should (1) heat the WC to approximately 45 degrees C, (2) optimize contact between the WC and outer eyelid surfaces, (3) reheat the WC frequently and have a replacement heated WC on hand for exchange, and (4) perform the activity for at least 4 min in order to achieve an inner lower eyelid temperature > or = 40 degrees C. Longer therapy may be necessary for more severe obstructions. These data suggest that precise, customized, labor-intensive WC procedure is necessary to optimize treating meibomian gland dysfunction and obstruction using WCs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bandages*
  • Body Temperature / physiology*
  • Eyelids / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced / methods*
  • Meibomian Glands / physiology
  • Middle Aged