Chambered warm moist air eyelid warming devices – a review

Morten Schjerven Magno*, Jonatan Olafsson, Marie Beining, Emily Moschowits, Neil Lagali, James S. Wolffsohn, Jennifer P. Craig, Darlene A. Dartt, Jelle Vehof, Tor P. Utheim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Eyelid warming is an important treatment for meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Specialized chambered devices, using warm moist air have been developed. Purpose: To critically evaluate the literature on the safety and efficacy of chambered warm moist air devices in MGD treatment and pinpoint areas of future research. Methods: PubMed and Embase were searched on 06 June 2021. The search term was ‘(warm OR heat OR steam OR goggle OR spectacle OR moist air) AND (meibomian OR MGD OR blepharitis OR eyelid OR dry eye OR DED)’. All relevant articles with available English full text were included. Results: Eighteen articles assessing the application of chambered warm moist air eyelid warming devices were identified. In single‐application studies, steam‐based eyelid warming increased the eyelid temperature and improved symptoms, lipid layer thickness, and tear film breakup time (TBUT). In treatment studies, the steam‐based devices improved TBUT and symptom scores. However, in the only randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing chambered steam‐based heat to hot towel treatment, there was no difference between groups for the primary outcome measure; the proportion of subjects noting symptom improvement after 4 weeks. Conclusion: Currently available chambered warm moist air eyelid warming devices are safe and effective at raising eyelid temperature to therapeutic levels and improving signs and symptoms of dry eye. However, it is not clear if they provide a greater benefit than other eyelid warming therapies. Further well‐conducted RCTs comparing moist and dry heat devices should be conducted on patients across the range of DED severities and subtype spectrum.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Early online date8 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Authors. Acta Ophthalmologica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Acta Ophthalmologica Scandinavica Foundation.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.


  • Review Article
  • Review Articles
  • Blephasteam
  • dry eye disease
  • eyelid warming devices
  • meibomian gland dysfunction
  • warm moist air


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