Eyelid massage is a therapy you can try at home to help alleviate dry eyes.

Are your eyes often dry, itchy, or simply uncomfortable? It’s a common issue for people and may be related to an underlying health condition or additional factors, such as aging or environmental conditions.

Dry eyes can occur when there is a lack of sufficient moisture and lubrication on your eye’s surface. While various treatments are available, one emerging method that has garnered attention is eyelid massage.

Eyelid massage involves gentle manipulation of your eye area to stimulate blood flow and potentially improve tear production. Proponents of eye massage claim that it can provide relief from dry eyes and offer additional benefits for overall eye health.

According to a 2019 study, massaging your eyelids can stimulate the meibomian glands, which are responsible for producing a protective and moisturizing type of oil in your eyes. This oil helps retain more water in your eye, which creates a comfortable level of hydration.

The American Optometric Association attributes most cases of dry eyes to decreased tear production or the quick evaporation of tears. Stimulating the meibomian glands through self-massage is recommended as one way to improve tear production and protect against tear evaporation.

Massaging the eye area can also help relax the muscles around your eyes. This, in turn, can reduce eyestrain and promote better blood circulation, which can be beneficial for your overall eye health.

There are different types of eye massages, but here’s one simple technique for an effective eye massage to help with dry eyes:

  1. Start by washing your hands thoroughly to prevent any bacteria from getting into your eyes.
  2. Then, warm your eyes by applying a warm compress. You can make a warm compress by first running warm water on a facial towel and then wringing it out.
  3. Using your index or middle finger, gently massage your closed eyelids in a circular motion for up to 30 seconds. You can repeat this several times.
  4. Next, massage the area between your eyebrows and your eyelids in a circular motion.
  5. Finally, massage your temples in a circular motion. This can help relax the muscles around your eyes and improve circulation.

Be sure to apply gentle pressure and stop immediately if you feel any discomfort.

Dry eyes can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of these include:


As you age, your tear production naturally decreases, making dry eyes more common in older individuals. This is especially true if you’re 65 or older.

Environmental factors

Dry, windy, or smoky conditions can cause tears to evaporate more quickly, leading to dry eyes. Additionally, exposure to certain chemical fumes and pollution can also exacerbate the issue.

Screen exposure

Prolonged screen time can reduce the frequency of blinking, which can cause your tears to evaporate and result in dry eyes.

Certain medications

Some drugs, such as antihistamines and decongestants, can reduce tear production. If you first noticed dry eyes since starting a medication, it could be from the medication’s side effects. It’s worthwhile checking the side effects of any medications you may be currently taking.

Health conditions

Some health conditions, like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus, can affect tear production, leading to dry eyes. This may have to do with increased eyelid or eye surface inflammation caused by these conditions.

While it may not be possible to permanently eliminate dry eyes, several natural strategies may help manage your symptoms. These mostly involve supporting the oil glands in your eyes.

How do you unblock oil glands in your eyelids?

Here are some basic strategies to unblock the oil glands in your eyelids:

  • Drink plenty of water to help keep your body and your eyes well hydrated.
  • Consume a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids to help improve the quality of your tears.
  • Regularly perform blinking exercises to help stimulate tear production and keep your eyes lubricated.
  • Doing regular eyelid massages and using warm compresses can help stimulate your oil glands.

While dry eyes can be an uncomfortable condition, adopting eyelid massage techniques and lifestyle changes can help alleviate symptoms.

Eyelid massage may help stimulate tear production and oil gland function, which may provide relief for your dry eyes. Remember, it’s important to approach eyelid massage gently to avoid potential harm to the delicate eye area.

Additionally, consuming a healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, staying well hydrated, and taking regular breaks from screen time can aid in dry eye management. Always consult with a healthcare professional if you have persistent dry eyes, as this can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health condition.