Please Don’t Shave the Inside of Your Eyelid
By Beatrice Shelton
Nov. 29, 2017
Chinese street barber Xiong Gaowu uses a straight razor to scrape along the inside of willing customers' eyelids. The procedure is intended to promote ocular health and cleansing. This is a traditional Chinese practice also known as eye cleaning or eye washing.
Whatever you call the cringe-inducing procedure, American ophthalmologists say, don’t do it.
There are sound medical reasons for eyelid hygiene. Your eyelids are lined with small glands that produce an oil that keeps tears from evaporating too quickly. When these glands are blocked, your eye becomes dry and uncomfortable. Blocked glands are a common cause of dry eye. Blocked glands also cause an eyelid problem called blepharitis.
When eyelid glands are blocked, opening them can greatly reduce the symptoms of dry eye and blepharitis. But there are much safer ways to do this than a straight razor.
“The idea of eyelid hygiene is something we do advocate—but in the street with a non-eyecare professional is not something we recommend,” Academy clinical spokesperson Anat Galor, MD, told Men’s Health, noting that in doing so, you put yourself at risk for infection by either cutting the actual eye or catching an infection via un-sterile tools.
Dr. Galor’s eyelid hygiene advice:
- Gently wash your lids with baby shampoo and warm water.
- Use a warm compress. It may help to loosen any debris in the eye.
- See an ophthalmologist or certified eye care professional if at-home remedies do not work.