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
• 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
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 effective.
Who 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
Talk with your doctor before using heat
treatment on your eyelids.
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.
SAFETY WARNING: Heat rice baggies in a
microwave, - NOT in a conventional oven!
NON US CUSTOMER
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
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