What’s an eye warmer? An eye warmer is an eye mask that warms the eyes.
I first discovered this eye warmer packet when I stayed at Ana Crowne Plaza, Osaka a year ago. Since it was complimentary, I took a couple home because I’ve no idea what it does and I’m eager to try it.
To use it, open the packet and tear along a perforated line to disengage the ear straps. Then wear the eye mask like you would a pair of spectacle. And slowly, you can feel the the mask warming your eyes!!! Like really? Yes, really! REALLY!
It was like you’re giving your eyes a good ole sauna. What a wonderful feeling. Haha I love the warm feeling enveloping my eyes. It does make me feel sleepy. Although stated in the packet that it will warms for 10 minutes, the eye warmer that I tried on still feels warm even after 20 minutes.
Right after enjoying this new technology, I was curious. What makes the eye mask emit heat once the package is opened? The only answer I know is something that reacts with the air and it has to do with a chemical element.
Hence, I became Sherlock Holmes for a few minutes. I deconstructed the eye warmer to find my answer.
The final reveal…
I scraped off some of the paper covering the panel. And there you have it, the secret to self-heated/self-warming/air-activated eye warmer is that brownish panels. The brownish thingy is rust aka iron oxide.
These panels (unopened) is most probably made of iron (Fe/Ferrum) and other compounds. Once the eye warmer is exposed to air, the reaction of iron plus other compounds (water/air moisture) and oxygen form heat and rust. Thus you get warming/steaming from the eye mask and the visual chemical reaction: rust. I believe the same technology is use in hand warmer too.
Now, what give me the ick is the rust part and the fact that it’s disposable and not reusable.
If convenience is not important for you and environment-friendly is your goal, you can try using warmed cloth/handkerchief. Other ways to soothe tired eyes are to look at plants, skies and beautiful things, close your eyes and relax, exercise your eyes and give your eyes a break from the screen every half and hour or so.