Thu, Aug 08, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Use eye mask with heat, time control

By Huang Mei-chu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Ophthalmologist Chen Ying-shan, right, on Sunday shows a patient at China Medical University Hsinchu Hospital in Hsinchu County’s Jhubei City how to use a heated eye mask with adjustable temperature.

Photo: Huang Mei-chu, Taipei Times

People should use heated eye masks with adjustable temperature and time controls to relieve eye strain, an ophthalmologist in Hsinchu County has said.

When using mobile devices, people blink seven times a minute on average, far less than the normal 12 times a minute, said Chen Ying-shan (陳瑩山), the director of China Medical University Hsinchu Hospital’s ophthalmology department.

After long periods of use, they might experience eye soreness, swelling or pain, he said, adding that the best way to alleviate the symptoms is to apply a warm compress to the eyes to stimulate blood circulation and relax the muscles.

A warm compress can also melt oils blocking the meibomian glands, encourage the secretion of oils, reduce dryness and discomfort, and relieve the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, Chen said.

However, people should not use a hot towel as a warm compress, because it is difficult to control the temperature and the period of use, he said, adding that dirty towels could also pose an infection risk.

Single-use heated eye masks made of cotton are not recommended, due to the risk of allergic reactions where the cotton touches the skin, and redness and swelling from overheating or falling asleep with the mask on, he said.

The best time to apply a compress is at night after taking a shower, he said.

People should first use artificial tear drops to moisturize the eyes and then set the mask’s temperature at 40oC to 45oC for 10 minutes, he said.

Those who want to use a warm compress during the day can do so, but should wait two to three hours between sessions, he said.

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