Benefits of a Warm Compress for Your Eyes

Updated on October 12th, 2020
Warm Compress for eyes

When you have an itchy, dry, or painful eye issue, you want to feel good. One method to do this is with a warm compress. What’s it? Plainly speaking, it’s a warm, wet cloth. You apply it to your eye to relieve the discomfort or pain of eye problems. A warm compress is soothing. It can make your eye feel better instantly. 

What is a warm compress?

A warm compress is a traditional, longtime home remedy for various mild ailments.  Medical professionals and doctors also prescribe compresses for managing specific conditions. Compresses involve clean cloth soaked in warm water.

The warm cloth is then compressed and applied to the wound, skin, or another site. Bringing moisture and heat to specific conditions can help relieve inflammation, pain, and other conditions. Warm compresses can help mild eye problems, too. These include itchiness, styes, red-eye, dryness, and infections.

How to use a warm compress for eyes ?

Applying a warm compress for the eye is easy. Apply it directly to the eye while keeping your eye closed. You may use it to both eyes at once if the cloth is big enough.

Apply it there for as long as it betters symptoms and comfort. Re-apply or re-soak it in warm water and as and when required, or when the compress becomes cold.

Benefits of warm compress on eyes

Warm compresses have been a well-known home remedy for multiple reasons. For the eye, they can soothe inflammation, improve circulation, and unclog swollen eyelids. For this reason, they will be beneficial for the following eye problems:

DIY warm compress

Warm compress for stye

A warm compress is a general approach to treating styes. These may also be called hordeolum singular (hordeola) or chalazion (singularchalazia).

Styes appear when a localized part of the eyelid becomes swollen, either due to infection or gland blockage [1].

Warm compresses are a general approach for relief. They may drain away and soften any blockages.

[Read: Benefits of Warm Compress for Stye]


Besides styes, eyelids can become swollen or inflamed for other reasons. The swelling of the eyelids is termed as blepharitis. According to a 2012 review of various research studies, compresses have been proven to help relieve blepharitis symptoms [2].

Swollen eyes

Though blepharitis and styes involve swollen eyes, swollen eyelids,  or eyelids may occur for other reasons. Warm compresses can relieve these symptoms, too.

Causes for a swollen eye may include:

  • allergies
  • injury
  • orbital cellulitis
  • bug bites or stings
  • Rarer causes include eye cancer or Graves’ disease, which can also cause the condition.

With each of these conditions, applying a warm compress may offer some relief of symptoms. It is not proven to treat any of these issues.

[Read: How to Treat a Swollen Eye]

Dry eye compress

Warm compresses can even aid with dry eyes. The heat from the compress supports glands that secrete tears to function better. Warm compresses are a general approach to dry eye-related disorders, including meibomian gland dysfunction. They can provide relief, but they cannot treat dry eye disorders [3].

[Read: Benefits of Warm Compress For Dry Eyes]

Pink eye

Using a compress can also be useful for a common type of pink eye, eye inflammation. Pink eye (also known as conjunctivitis) is a swelling of the inner conjunctiva of the eye. Viruses, bacteria, or allergy typically cause it. Warm compresses may help with itchiness, pain, inflammation, and discharge. It will not treat any infection.

Be sure to use infection-fighting medicines or antibiotics if recommended by your ophthalmologist, in addition to your warm compress if you have been diagnosed with an infection.

Black eye

Periorbital hematoma (also called a black eye) is caused by trauma to the eye. It causes subcutaneous (under the skin) bleeding and bruising, inflammation, pain, and discoloration around the eye.

A warm compress can help with pain from a black eye. It is often suggested as a first-aid measure, particularly a few days after the significant primary swelling has subsided [4].

How to prepare a warm compress at home

  1. If applying a compress isn’t simple enough, making one at home is even easy. 
  2. To begin, you can warm water in a clean bowl on a cooktop. You may also run warm water from your faucet.
  3. Soak a clean cloth in the water at the optimal temperature. Right between warm and comfortably hot is suggested or at a temperature most convenient for an individual receiving treatment.
  4. Be careful not to make the water extremely hot because the skin around the eyes is susceptible.
  5. Then, apply the compress, as mentioned earlier.

Adding herbs to warm compresses

  1. Teas and herbal extracts can be used for those who want to add additional benefits to their warm compresses.
  2. Add 5 drops of tinctures or herbal extracts.
  3. Compresses can be prepared from an infusion or herbal tea before being applied, too. Just make sure to strain out any herbal matter before applying it to the eyes entirely.
  4. Herbs like echinacea and garlic have antibacterial properties. They could help reduce infection in the styes, pink eye, or other conditions.
  5. As with any warm compress, be sure to keep your eyes closed and be aware that certain herbs can irritate the skin.

Bottom Line

Warm compresses are prevalently accepted home treatments for several mild medical conditions. They’re particularly prevalent and beneficial for eye conditions. Physicians may recommend them for relieving uncomfortable eye symptoms at home.

This includes styes, pink eye symptoms, infections, black eyes, allergies, swelling, blepharitis, and dry eyes. They are not proven or known to treat any of these conditions. Still, warm compresses are believed to improve mild symptoms like pain, inflammation, dryness, itchiness, or swelling.

Make sure to see your ophthalmologist if your symptoms persist, if you experience pain around your eyes or if your vision becomes blurry.

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