Researchers examine effect of warm compress prior to ophthalmic surgery

Patients undergoing cataract surgery, trabeculectomy and pars plana vitrectomy were randomly assigned a warming eye mask or placebo mask

A woman wearing a blue surgical apron, hairnet and facemask casts her gaze down to a task being performed out of shot. Behind her, two clinicians stand next to a patient lying on a gurney.
Pixabay/Jason Shivers

Scientists have highlighted the potential of patients receiving treatment with a warm compress prior to ophthalmic surgery.

Writing in BMJ Open Ophthalmology, Japanese researchers described the effects of applying a warming eye mask for 20-minutes.

A total of 100 patients were treated with a disposable eyelid warming device that warms the eyelid surface to approximately 40 degrees.

In the mask used within a control group of 100 patients, a small hole was made in the mask to terminate the oxidation reaction that generates heat.

The patients then underwent different types of ophthalmic surgery; 176 patients had cataract surgery, five patients had a trabeculectomy and 19 patients underwent a pars plana vitrectomy.

The researchers found that in the group that received the intervention, the non-invasive tear break-up time, tear meniscus height and obstruction score of the meibomian gland all significantly improved. There were no significant changes in these measures within the control group.

“This study found that a single warm compress for 20 minutes prior to surgery improves the condition of the ocular surface,” the researchers highlighted.

Additionally, the bacterial detection rate was similar between the control and intervention groups.