Ode to the Wheatie Bag

maisieEye Health

Written by: Shannon Tubman Wellington Eye Centre Optometrist

The staff laugh, I laugh too, at this obsession.
Two, three times a day I reach toward my collection.

A box of small cute jelly-bean shaped bags.
Choose your colour, pattern even zig zag!

At first you think it’s odd, perhaps she’s mad,
To offer you a small wheatie bag.

I leave you alone, two minutes I’ll take.
You scan the room, where’s her degree, is it fake?

But then…….

Oh the warmth, weight and smell
Five minutes o’bliss
Why can’t every dry eye treatment be like this?

Five minutes went fast, now for the lid squeeze.
She says it might pinch, just a tad I believe.

Ooooo that’s a pinch! But I know I can cope.
I’m feeling OK, this is giving me hope.

She’s right! Now my vision is smeary.
She’s been right so far, let’s hope they stay teary.

Why would you need a wheatie bag?

The wheatie bag is a very handy tool in the treatment of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). MGD is one of the common underlying causes of dry eye.

The wheatie bag is used to heat the eyelid area for 5 minutes, this melts the oils in the meibomian glands making it easier for them to be expressed with each blink. Expressing the glands with a tool, similar to a pair of tweezers helps remove even more oil, especially any stubborn thickened oils. 

This oil is very important in keeping your eyes moist, as the oil prevents the tears from evaporating. The oil is also very important in creating a smooth clear ocular surface for you to look through. The more consistent the oil layer is, the clearer and more stable your vision will be.

In the past eye care professionals have advocated warm compresses with a facecloth, warmed with water, or letting the warm water in the shower to run over your closed eyelids. These two options are safe and do help melt the oil, but neither heat the eyelid area enough, nor for long enough. The wheatie bag is a more effective method of heating the eyelids. Other products are available to heat your eyelids, like the Blephasteam Goggles. But none are as colourful as my beloved wheatie bags! Because accessorising is everything right?

If you suffer from dry eye, have any further questions about dry eye, or would like to see our specialists to talk through your symptoms and recommended treatments, you can call us on 0800 733 327 to speak to a member of our team.


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