Proper daily hygiene of the eye is crucial, both in patients receiving treatment and in healthy people, because proper cleansing is essential to ensure eye health.
The ocular surface and the eyelids have a high risk of contamination and proliferation by bacteria and other microorganisms. This condition of vulnerability is related to a range of factors, first of all the mainly watery nature of the eyelids and ocular surface micro-environment.
Moreover too fat or viscous secretion might sometimes partially or totally obstruct the Meibomian glands which are essential for a correct balance of the lachrymal film, that covers, feeds and protects the ocular surface.
Small scabs and keratinized substances, produced by the cell turnover, can then be accumulated on the eyelashes or the eyelid margins.
Washing with water and soap is not enough for a proper cleansing of the eyelid margin. Moreover the use of wet cotton or non-specific pads can in fact lead to discomfort and irritation resulting from contact with cotton filaments or with a rough and irritating pad surface, whereas a surface that is too smooth may not accurately cleanse.
It is instead recommended the use of disposable sterile gauzes, free from parabens and perfumes, which are specific for daily periocular hygiene. Sterile gauzes, properly refrigerated in the fridge, can be useful to relieve the discomfort caused by the prolonged use of smartphones, PCs and tablets.
In the case of small children and particularly in infants, proper ocular hygiene is essential since the natural systems of self-defense have not yet fully developed and it is recommended to remove conjunctival mucous secretion, which often, mainly in the morning is present on eyelids and eyelashes causing irritation of the delicate skin of the baby.
Finally, in patients with eye infections and inflammation (such as conjunctivitis, chalazions, styes and blepharitis) ocular hygiene is absolutely crucial, in association with the appropriate medical therapy. In surgical patients, both pre and post-op, thorough periocular cleaning is key in order to prevent infection and promote healing. In these cases, the characteristics of sterility and of being disposable are necessary requirements to ensure asepsis and safety.