Options in Lid Hygiene
Though the below report was not published in a high impact journal, it does suggest an interesting alternative to just plain warm compresses. It also makes me think that the potency of Tea Tree Oil in its smell and molecules that cause the burning sensation when placed on the skin may also increase lacrimation. Neither Menthol or Tea Tree Oil, though, is meant to be put into the eye as it will cause a severe feeling of burning.
Sandra Lora Cremers, MD, FACS
2017 Apr 5;7:45848. doi: 10.1038/srep45848.
Effects of a warm compress containing menthol on the tear film in healthy subjects and dry eye patients.
, Morishige N3,4
, Sakamoto I5
, Imai N5
, Shimada Y5
, Igaki M5
, Suzuki A5
, Itoh K1
, Tsubota K2
- Itoh Clinic, 626-11 Minami-Nakano, Minuma-ku, Saitama, Saitama 337-0042, Japan.
- Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University, 35 Shinanomachi, Shinjyuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0016, Japan.
- Lid and Meibomian Gland Working Group, 2-11-15-1401 Koishikawa, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 1120002, Japan.
- Division of Cornea and Ocular Surface, Ohshima Eye Hospital, 11-8 Kami-Gofukumachi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, Fukuoka 812-0036, Japan.
- Personal Health Care Products Research Laboratories, Kao Corporation, 2-1-3 Bunka, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 131-8501, Japan.
Menthol is thought to stimulate lacrimation via activation of cold-sensitive primary afferent neurons in the cornea. We evaluated a warm compress containing menthol as a potential treatment for dry eye by examining its effects on the tear film in healthy subjects (n = 20) and dry eye patients (n = 35). Disposable eyelid-warming steamers that either did (MH) or did not (HO) contain menthol were applied to one eye of each subject either once only for 10 min or repeatedly over 2 weeks. Single application of MH significantly increased tear meniscus volume (P = 8.6 × 10-5, P = 1.3 × 10-5) and tear film breakup time (P = 0.006, P = 0.002) as well as improved meibum condition in healthy subjects and dry eye patients, respectively. Repeated application of MH significantly increased tear meniscus volume (P = 0.004, P = 1.7 × 10-4) and tear film breakup time (P = 0.037, P = 0.010) in healthy subjects and dry eye patients, respectively. Repeated application of MH thus induced persistent increases in tear fluid volume and tear film stability in dry eye patients, suggesting that repeated use of a warm compress containing menthol is a potential novel treatment for dry eye disease.