Ice Pack Eye Mask
Last updated: May 2023
Early on in my thyroid eye disease (TED) diagnosis, I got into using an icepack when my eyes were swollen or felt very uncomfortable. I bought an ice pack off the internet that resembles an eye mask and was meant to be used on eyes. I read somewhere that it would help with swelling and take away the pain. At that point, I was desperate for any relief from the pain I was feeling.
My ice pack routine for TED symptom relief
I had a routine for the times I would use the ice pack eye mask on my eyes. First, I would grab my headphones. This was very important because putting something extremely cold around my extremely sensitive eyes often caused a shock to my system. Having something playing in my ears helped distract me from what I was feeling.
Next, I would grab the ice-pack eye mask from the freezer. Often it would be mostly solid from sitting in the freezer for so long. I would have to move it around to get it to rest on my eyes the way I wanted it to. I tried not to touch it too much though because the more I would handle it, the faster it the ice pack would unfreeze.
I would then lie down on the couch and set the timer on my phone anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. The amount of time I chose to lay on the couch with an ice pack covering my eyes depended on a variety of factors. What time of day it was? What mood was I in? Was I in a rush to go somewhere? How uncomfortable did my eyes feel that day?
Feeling on my eyes
The feeling of an ice pack on my eyes was very uncomfortable, at first anyway. The freezing cold was so overwhelming that my brain kept on trying to forfeit this whole thing to get relief from the pain I was trying to get relief from in the first place. Hence the headphones. The headphones with music or a podcast playing served as a distraction from my thoughts begging for the ice pack to be removed from my eyes immediately.
After 1-3 minutes of uncomfortableness, from freezing cold ice on my eyes, I would go numb to the feeling. Suddenly a switch was flipped in my brain and this process with the ice pack eye mask became much more bearable. It was still cold but not overwhelming anymore. My thoughts would settle and stop trying to sabotage my plan.
After about 7-9 minutes, the ice pack began to melt from the heat of my eyes. The cold faded away, leaving the ice pack warmish and squishy on my eyes. I waited a few minutes, trying to squeeze out every last bit of relief from the reality of living with this unpredictable disease.
The more I did this, the more I realized it was not going to fix my swelling overnight. The puffiness under my eyes was not going to change and my wide eyes would remain wide for the foreseeable future. This routine was meant to relieve my uncomfortableness and numb me for a bit. There was a little time after I would do this, where the pain I was in from all the swelling lessened.
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