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Can a Bruder Mask help with Dry Eye Disease?

In this article we’ll explain what a Bruder Mask is, how it can help with dry eye symptoms, and we’ll address some other frequently asked questions about the Bruder eye mask.

What is a Bruder Mask and what does a Bruder mask do?

A Bruder mask is a warm compress eye mask specially designed to help to relieve the symptoms of dry eye disease and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.  It delivers warmth to the eyelids and heats up the Meibomian glands in the lids to help soften any crusty blockages that may be obstructing these important little glands.

Once they are warmed up and cleared of any blockages, your Meibomian glands can properly expel their oily secretions onto your eye. (This sounds weird, but it is very important for a stable tear film.) The beads inside the Bruder mask help provide a more steady, consistent warmth to the eyelids compared to a DIY warm compress like rice in a sock. (And it is much easier and more convenient to use.) The soft, antibacterial and hypoallergenic fabric of the Bruder mask helps ensure a comfortable experience while you’re wearing the mask.

Keep reading to see a more thorough explanation of how a Bruder mask may help you.

How does a Bruder mask help with dry eye?

To understand how a Bruder mask helps relieve dry eye symptoms we first need to understand a bit about our tears.

The tear film coating our eye has three layers: 

1) Mucous layer: innermost layer closest to the eye that helps the tears stick to the eye.
2) Aqueous layer: a watery layer over the mucous layer. This watery aqueous layer helps hydrate
and lubricate the eyeball.
3) Lipid layer: the outer layer is a lipid layer – aka an oily layer – that coats the aqueous layer and
prevents the underlying watery layer from evaporating so quickly. It helps lock in moisture.

The oily substance that makes up the lipid layer is called Meibum and is made by the Meibomian
glands in the eyelids.

What happens if our Meibomian glands get plugged or don’t work properly?

 

If your eyelids’ Meibomian glands don’t produce enough of their oily secretion – Meibum – to coat the aqueous layer, your tears will evaporate too fast, drying out your eye and causing those annoying stinging, burning and irritation symptoms of dry eye.

 

How does the Meibomian gland work?

The Meibomian glands are near the edge of the eyelids called the lid margins. Their job is to produce Meibum: the oily stuff that coats the watery layer of tears preventing evaporation.

In simple terms, every time you blink, your eyelids compress the little Meibomian glands causing some of the Meibum to be secreted out onto your eyes. You can think of it like squeezing the trigger on a spray bottle. Every time you blink it is like squeezing that trigger and the Meibum coming out.

But if you don’t blink enough, this means the glands don’t properly expel the Meibum. And the stagnant Meibum remaining in the gland and can harden and solidify. This results in blocked Meibomian glands.

Essentially, the glands and their outlet ducts get clogged up with hardened, crusty Meibum so they can’t produce a nice oily coating for your eye.

Without this oily coating (aka the lipid layer) of your tears, your eyes will quickly dry out due to evaporation.

You may have heard your optometrist say you have “evaporative dry eye” or “mixed dry eye”. These types of dry eye mean that to at least some extent your Meibomian glands aren’t producing enough of the oily secretion Meibum to properly coat your tears. This is sometimes called “Meibomian Gland Dysfunction” or MGD for short.

What are some causes of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)?

How to unclog plugged Meibomian Glands

If you have Meibomian gland dysfunction then the oils produced inside the gland may have solidified and could be blocking the gland’s ducts. If these ducts are blocked, then the Meibum can’t be secreted from the glands, your tears won’t have that proper tear film layer, and you could experience symptoms of dry eye.

That’s a quick summary of the problem, so you’re probably wondering, ‘How can I unclog my eye glands?’ And one way to help “unclog” your eye’s Meibomian glands is to use HEAT to loosen up the “crusty” blockages.

Research has shown that heat will cause the solidified oils that are blocking the ducts to soften. Once softened, these secretions can be expelled from the glands thereby allowing a better flow of Meibum onto your eyes. (4)

Basically, heat will unclog the blocked glands and get those much-needed oily secretions flowing again. This is sometimes referred to as Meibomian gland expression.

But there are specific temperatures required to melt the hardened Meibum. 

 You want to raise the temperature of your eyelids to 40-45-degrees Celsius (4)
 At these temperatures the solidified Meibum blocking the ducts should liquify and flow out onto
the eye.

And you want to apply this heat to your eyelids for 10-15 minutes. People use a variety of homemade warm compresses to treat Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. But the problem with such DIY compresses – like rice in a sock – is that it is difficult to get the required temperature. And then it’s tricky to maintain that consistent temperature for long enough to have a beneficial effect.

There has to be a better way. And thankfully, now there is.

The Bruder Mask can help if you have Meibomian Gland Dysfunction 

All these shortcomings of the DIY warm compresses led to the invention of the specially designed, patented Bruder eye compress
mask.

Inside the eye pouches are unique beads called MediBeads that warm up when microwaved to provide the consistent heat you need to get the oily secretions flowing. This will help stabilize your tear film and provide relief of those irritating dry eye symptoms.

The MediBeads absorb water from the air, and when you microwave the Bruder mask, the water heats up providing consistent moist warmth for up to 15 minutes. And you don’t need to wet the Bruder mask…the MediBeads absorb the water from the air. (5)

With the Bruder mask there is no need to continually heat up face cloth after face cloth to use as a warm compress.

So, if you have Meibomian Gland Dysfunction or symptoms of dry eye, you’ll want a Bruder mask to help get your eye’s oily secretions flowing properly again. Put another way, the warmth of the Bruder mask helps with Meibomian gland expression.

This oily layer will coat your tears, protect your tears from evaporating so quickly and help ensure your eyes get better hydration and lubrication.

Patients who buy and use a Bruder mask love the convenience of it compared to preparing DIY warm eye compresses. Just put it in the microwave and it’s ready to go.

Honestly, we understand that sticking to a daily eye compress regimen can be tricky…that’s why we want to make it as easy as possible, and that is why we recommend the Bruder eye compress mask.

References

#1) Tear Film Article on American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-

health/anatomy/tear-film-3

#2) TFOS DEWS II – Pathophysiology. https://www.tfosdewsreport.org/report-

pathophysiology/106_36/en/

#3) Meibomian gland dysfunction, dropout and distress: emerging therapies.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41433-020-0865-5

#4) TFOS DEWS II – Management and Therapy. https://www.tfosdewsreport.org/report-

management_and_therapy/147_36/en/

#5) Bruder.com Website – https://bruder.com/eye-care/dry-eye/bruder-mask/

#6) Review of Optometry – “Rubbed the Wrong Way”

https://www.reviewofoptometry.com/article/rubbed-the-wrong-way-43097

#7) Bruder.com Frequently Asked Questions Page – https://bruder.com/faq/

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Dr. Shiv Sharma

Dr. Shiv Sharma

Dr. Shiv Sharma is a practicing Optometrist in British Columbia, Canada. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in M.B.B. from Simon Fraser University and Doctor Of Optometry degree from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN. His clinical areas of interest include ocular disease, pediatric optometry, dry eye disease, and primary eye care. He loves technology and incorporating cutting edge care in to his practice. He has lectured and consulted for several eye care industry companies in the dry eye, contact lens, and practice management space.

Disclaimer: Please note this article is not to be taken as medical advice and is solely for informational purposes. Please see your healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.

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