I'm looking for the perfect moisture-proof, quick-warming electric heating pad for my eyelids.
December 30, 2006 6:20 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the perfect moisture-proof, quick-warming electric heating pad for my eyelids.

I am extraordinarily prone to chalazions. I've had maybe two dozen minor surgeries for them as they crop up. I'm doing the eyelid washes, the omega-3 fatty acids, I'm even looking around for some reservatrol. Meanwhile, my eyes are still dry enough that I will occasionally scratch my corneas in my sleep, as I sleep with my eyes open.

My eye doctor has told me that I should do really hot compresses on my eyes, "as hot as you can stand it," several times a day, for quite a bit of time. ("As hot as you can stand it" turned out to be a little inaccurate; I gave myself a lovely first degree burn the first time.) Hot pads will, apparently, open up my blocked meiobian glands and allow the oils to go where they should, minimizing the dry eye and the chalazions.

My current heating pads just don't seem to get very warm and are very awkward to lay on my face. They don't seem to heat up very fast. I need something where I can lay a wet washcloth over my eyes, for better thermal conduction, and then put this hypothetical heating pad on it.

Of course, just buying heating pads and trying them out hasn't worked very well for me. Google hasn't given anything specific, although it's entirely possible that I'm just not using the right vocabulary. Does anyone have a brand of moisture-proof heating pad that has worked for their eyes that could get fairly toasty?

What's out:

1) hot, wet washcloth - they get cold too fast
2) hot water bottle - too much prep work for the early morning, plus balancing one on your face for half an hour sucks
3) microwaving a sock full of rice, or some gel pack - I need to be able to wake up, wet down a cloth, turn this device on, and slap it on my face, then relax for a bit longer. If I have to go through the hassle of microwaving it, I probably won't end up doing it.

Alternately, a magic device that makes my meiobian glands secrete a more liquid oil, rather than a waxy one, but I kinda doubt anyone has that.
posted by adipocere to Health & Fitness (18 answers total)
Could you plug in a small crockpot on your nightstand filled with water and warm washcloths, or is that still out? You would always have a fresh supply of hot compresses nearby.
posted by LoriFLA at 6:29 PM on December 30, 2006

Response by poster: No, I had given that a thought, but it's also coming into the prohibitively bothersome zone, and if I am going to be spending the rest of my life doing it ...
posted by adipocere at 6:43 PM on December 30, 2006

LoriFLA that is the perfect solution for my problem. Sorry it does not work for you adipocere.
posted by JayRwv at 7:06 PM on December 30, 2006

Clicker hand warmers might work. They get very warm very quickly when activated.
posted by essexjan at 7:08 PM on December 30, 2006

Response by poster: My crockpot experiences have not been of the good. Also, one thing I left out that is, well ... I have a tendency to fall asleep when warm washcloths are placed on my eyes. I had a year long staph infection when I was very, very small. They would put compresses on my eyes before bed and now I have a tough time staying awake with anything like that on my face.
posted by adipocere at 7:22 PM on December 30, 2006

You can get reusable instant heat packs. You have to recharge them bu boiling but if you had a bunch you could just do it once a week or so and it wouldn't be a big deal. They don't get too hot and sound perfect for you. I googled and got these, I have a different brand but it looks like the same thing.
posted by fshgrl at 7:41 PM on December 30, 2006

What you need, as you are already aware, is something that is weighted a bit so it can rest on your closed eyeballs.

I was thinking that you could fashion or sew a waterproof cover that you could place over a thin electric heating pad. Thin so it is pliable. Then you could place that over a moist cotton flannel, and then place some sort of weighted eye mask over the pad. That all seems like a pain in the ass though, doesn't it? It's worse than microwaving, and the heat from the pad may not permeate the layer of cotton beneath it.

Or you could buy those things that skiers put in their gloves and slip them under an eye mask.

Good luck with your hunt and good health to you.
posted by LoriFLA at 8:21 PM on December 30, 2006

When I was having chalazia I found a facecloth thoroughly wetted by water, then rung out and sealed inside a couple of ziplock bags (for extra leak-protection) would stay warm for at least 10 minutes, was pliable enough to reach all the crevices it needed to, and it wouldn't leak water all over my face and clothing. It also would cause and trap a lot of sweat between my skin and the plastic which made for a moist heat. Total heat up time in the microwave was between 10-15 seconds and the cloth could stay inside the bag for weeks without needing to be changed for some reason--maybe heating it killed off all the potentially stinky bacteria ont he cloth.
posted by cardboard at 9:12 PM on December 30, 2006

#adipocere: I gave myself a lovely first degree burn the first time ... I need to be able to wake up, wet down a cloth, turn this device on, and slap it on my face, then relax for a bit longer.

I really would advise against an electric heater if you are sleeping, especially since you have burned yourself before.

Stripping of the cover and reading the warnings on my simple heating pad I find.
This pad is not to be by or on a invalid, a sleeping or unconscious person, a person with poor blood circulation, a paralyzed person, or a person with diabetes
The warning is to protect the manufacturer from being sued because burning has happened in such situations.

Even if you are not burned, I've heard of cases where the skin next to excessive heating pad use becomes somewhat cooked - e.g. it becomes hard/scaly (this might be the rational for "moist heating pads" because the skin changes could result from heat drying. Then again the changes could just be caused by excessive heat).

Anyway, I would never go to sleep with an electric heater over my eyes.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 9:42 PM on December 30, 2006

Response by poster: Oh, they come with timers now. At least, the good ones do. Plus, I have timing devices I can use.

I've seriously considered using some thermostats, a fish tank pump, and a helmet to pump hot water through tubes to my eyes, but that is starting to seem a tad excessive.
posted by adipocere at 9:45 PM on December 30, 2006

Have you considered one of those conical facial steamer sauna thingies? you only need to adjust somehow to being face down, rather than lying back.
posted by hortense at 9:58 PM on December 30, 2006

Response by poster: Hortense, that's a pretty keen idea. I didn't know they made them ... face-sized? Saunas for heads? However, I think I may have to check that out.

I suspect I'll end up cycling through everyone's suggestions.
posted by adipocere at 10:03 PM on December 30, 2006

#adipocere: Oh, they come with timers now. At least, the good ones do.

Yeah? Would you provide some links to manufactures' sites and their safety sheets that say it is ok to sleep with a timed heating pad? Especially over your eyes?

I could have given some hackish electrical solutions for heating your eyes but I would not want to be responsible for cooking your eyeballs.

The first symptom that I would expect in over heated eyes would be eye floaters because excess heat could coagulate proteins in the vitreous humour.

Have you noticed any increase in floaters?
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 10:24 PM on December 30, 2006

Response by poster: No floater problem at all. I doubt you'll see a safety sheet that specific, though.
posted by adipocere at 10:31 PM on December 30, 2006

cone thingy
posted by hortense at 10:49 PM on December 30, 2006

I'm seconding essexjan's suggestion, since you didn't mention it. Those things are ridiculously easy to activate, they warm well, but noit excessively hot, they start to cool in about 20 minutes (mine do, anyway), they are reusable, and they're cheap.

You should try one.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:00 AM on December 31, 2006

In addition to essexjan's apparently gell-filled hand warmers there's also ones that use charcoal and which may mold themselves better to your eyes. The brand I purchase is named Hot Hands but only because they had the big box deal at Costco - I am sure other brands are equally good.

I can say with certainty you won't burn yourself; when I am doing outdoor craft fairs I usually masking-tape one to the back of my neck, where it stays for about 6 hours. They're small enough that you'd probably have to use one for each eye, however.

Check your local Army-Navy store for these.
posted by phearlez at 9:47 AM on January 2, 2007

It occurs to me that saying they use charcoal might make it sound like they burn. They do not - it's a chemical reaction that starts when you open the containing packet and expose them to air.
posted by phearlez at 9:48 AM on January 2, 2007

« Older What do I do about my stalker?   |   Low-budget auteurs Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.