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DESCRIPTION & FEATURES
The Rice Baggy is based on a simple, classic homemade
tool used over the years by many of our Dry Eye Zone members who
have dry eye symptoms due at least in part to chronic meibomian
gland syndrome or blepharitis.
Our Rice Baggy is a soft oblong organic cotton ‘bag’
partially filled with uncooked rice. It is heated briefly in the
microwave, placed in a luxurious cotton knit slipcover, and then
placed over the eyes. Its purpose is to heat the eyelids enough to
loosen up thickened oil secretions (meibum) plugging the oil glands
so that the oil in the glands can once again flow into the tears
and perform its vital role of slowing evaporative tear loss. It can
also be used, warm or cold, for its soothing effects.
• Soft, dye-free organic cotton
• Comfortable and soothing
• Retains heat for 10-20 minute use
• Low-hassle, effective alternative to “warm
• Washable organic cotton knit slipcover
• Convenient drawstring travel sack
WHAT REBECCA SAYS
I first discovered the Rice Baggy concept when an
ophthalmologist friend gave me one! Regular compresses with a baggy
have been part of my standard eye ‘maintenance’ ever since. It was
so simple and I found it very effective. When I get a symptom
flare-up for no obvious reason, it’s typically because I have
slacked off my heat regimen.
There are a number of us ‘rice bag connoisseurs’ on
Dry Eye Talk
and I’ve found there are many ways to make and use them. Homemade
disposable rice baggies are easy to do (see below).
However, for those who would prefer a ready-made,
longer-use product, I finally decided to try to design something
and add it to the Dry Eye Shop. (I figured, there must be many
people out there who, like me, are simply too lazy to
do-it-themselves.) So, I went back to the maker of my original Rice
Baggy – a nice lady in a small town in west Texas where everyone
has dry eye – and asked her to work with me on some ideas. What we
ultimately came up with is intended to combine practicality with a
touch of luxury. The fabric of the baggy and the cover are all
dye-free organic cottons. The cotton knit slipcover was an
innovation to improve hygiene (wash as often as you desire!) as
well as comfort. Interestingly, of all the products we stock at the
Shop... and of course we all know different things work for
different people... this is the only one with truly unanimous
Why heat? Many people have dry eye symptoms as a
result of chronic meibomian gland dysfunction (often called
evaporative dry eye). That is, the oil glands in the lids do not
secrete sufficient oil onto the tears, so the tears evaporate
rapidly, resulting in classic dry eye symptoms even if the lacrimal
glands are producing plenty of tears. (Want to know more? Or
struggling with medical jargon? See our Dry Eye Encyclopedia.) When the meibomian glands start
to become disabled, the oil secretions thicken, creating “plugs” in
the gland orifices and preventing the constant flow of oil that is
so crucial to a healthy tear layer.
Heat treatment with warm compresses is a classic,
frequently prescribed way to improve meibomian gland function by
softening/loosening hardened oil secretions. (Some people combine
this with lid massage or manual gland expression; please do not
attempt this without medical advice and careful instructions
first.) The most frequently suggested method of heat treatment is
warm washcloths. While this seems to work well for some users, it
never did anything at all for me – other than sometimes it just
felt soothing on a bad eye day. The washcloths did not stay warm
long enough; it was a nuisance to keep getting up and running them
under the tap; and doing compresses frequently seemed to irritate
my skin. For me, dry heat, with some weight to it, is simply more
am I? My name is Rebecca Petris and I have had
chronic dry eye since undergoing LASIK in July 2001. I founded
The Dry Eye
Company as a result of my experiences, hoping to make useful
information and effective products more accessible to others with
You can make your own rice baggy very simply. Check out
Cindy’s directions for homemade compresses on our Warm Compresses page in The Dry Eye
Incidentally, if you think the rice baggy is overpriced,
I just want to mention that this is not a mass-produced item with
an obscene profit margin. Each and every Rice Baggy is lovingly
hand made for us by a Texas cotton farmer from domestically milled
organic cottons that we purchase from family owned businesses. I
like supporting small businesses wherever possible.
Talk with your doctor before using heat treatment on your
Exercise extreme caution when heating a Rice Baggy. The
eyelids are very thin and not only is there risk of burning the
lids and surrounding skin, but even the corneas. Rice Baggies
should be heated a little at a time and tested carefully before
being applied over the lids.
Some people experience temporarily blurred vision after
using a Rice Baggy, either because of oil or because of the weight
of the rice. You may find it most convenient (and beneficial) to
use it just before bed.
NON US CUSTOMER ALERT
A shipment to Australia in Feb 2010 had the rice baggy
removed for unknown reasons. Sometimes customs have an issue with
this thinking it is a food item.If you're ordering this for
shipment abroad, put a note on your order so that it can be
relabeled as a warm compress before shipping.
7/16/2014 – Could using the rice baggy cause punctal plugs to fall out because of the heat and weight factors?
3/5/2014 – my doc told me to use moist heat. can i use a warm washcloth and put the heated rice baggy on top of it?
1/7/2014 – Hi,Thanks so much for turning me on to rice bag therapy. I've been using it with good success for a year. My question . . .
11/12/2013 – I overheated my rice baggy by mistake - almost 2 minutes. Will this damage it or cook the rice & make it unsafe? (I let . . .
11/6/2013 – Hi, I live in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Do you know where I can get the Rice Baggy here, or alternatively in Dubai? Thanks
A MUST HAVE
From Daniel Moca of Dubai, United Arab Emirates on 5/14/2012.
Worth Every Penny!
From Valerie of Painted Post, New York on 3/29/2012.
FINALLY SOME RELIEF
From Kate of Smyrna, Delaware on 11/8/2011.
From lisa baker of las vegas, Nevada on 10/7/2011.
From Silver Kat of Charlestown, Massachusetts on 3/16/2011.