- Home Remedies for Dry Eyes
- 13 Remedies for Dry Eyes
- What Causes Dry Eyes?
- Risk Factors For Dry Eye
- DIY Remedies for Dry Eyes
- 1. Wash Your Eyelids and Lashes
- 2. Rest Your Eyes
- 3. Blink More Frequently
- 4. Add Essential Fatty Acids to Your Diet
- 5. Add Vitamins A, B12 and D to Your Diet
- 6. Drink Less Alcohol
- 7. Stop Smoking
- 8. Drink More Water
- 9. Get More Sleep
- 10. Pick the Right Eye Drops
- 11. Use Gels and Ointments
- 12. Change Your Environment
- 13. Wear Wraparound-Style Sunglasses
- Talk to Your Doctor
- 8 Do-It-Yourself Ways to Manage Dry Eye
- Home Remedies for Dry Eyes That Actually Work (& Myths)
- Eye Drops
- Heat & Massage
- Vitamin Supplements
- Eyelid Wash
- Environmental Changes
- Medical Remedies for Dry Eyes
- Dry Eyes Home Remedies
- Avoid places with a lot of air movement
- Turn on a humidifier in the wintertime
- Rest your eyes
- Stay away from cigarette smoke
- Use warm compresses then wash your eyelids
- Try an omega-3 fatty acid supplement
- How to Get Relief for Your Dry Eyes With Natural Remedies
Home Remedies for Dry Eyes
If your eyes sting and burn, look red, or feel gritty — as if some sand is stuck in them — you may have dry eye. This condition can happen when the tiny glands in and around your eyelids don't make enough tears to keep your peepers healthy and vision clear.
When tears do their job well, they keep the surface of the eye smooth, comfortable, and hydrated, and wash away dust and debris and protect it from infection. Healthy eyes make tears all day, every day, to stay moist.
But sometimes certain diseases, medications, or even just getting older causes your eyes to make fewer tears. Dry eye can also happen when your eyes don't make the right type of tears to clear out particles or keep the surface well-lubricated.
What you do to make your baby blues, browns, or greens more comfortable depends on what's causing your dry eyes.
In some cases, your doctor may need to treat an underlying issue or disease; or she may prescribe special medications to help your eyes make more of their own tears, or suggest ways to stop tears from draining away from your eyes too quickly.
There are also steps you can take yourself to ease the scratchy, irritating symptoms of dry eyes. Try these simple home remedies to find relief:
Tears are made of oil, water, and mucus. Your eyes need all three parts to stay moist and healthy. Inflamed and flaky eyelids may clog the oil-making glands along the edge of your lid and lead to dry eye.
To help ease irritation and loosen clogged oils, wet a clean washcloth with warm water, wring it out, and place it over your closed eye for at least a minute.
Gently press the edge of your eyelid with your finger to help squeeze out the clogged oils. The moist heat helps loosen up the clogged oils in the glands. Wet the cloth often, so it stays warm.
You may need warm compresses every day to help lower inflammation, even after your eyes feel better.
Cleaning your eyelids, as well as the surrounding skin and hair, can help get any lid inflammation under control. Drop a bit of baby shampoo or mild soap on your fingertips and gently massage your closed eye, near the base of your eyelashes.
Staring at a computer curbs the amount of times you blink per minute. So try to blink often when you’re online.Follow the 20/20 rule: close your eyes every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.
Another simple trick to keep your eyes moist when at the computer: Set your screen below eye level. You won't have to open your eyes as wide, which may help slow tear evaporation between blinks.
Salmon and tuna, for example, or sardines, trout, and mackerel all contain omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests these healthy fats help the oil-making glands in your eye work better, which can ease irritation.
Other foods naturally high in omega-3 fats include walnuts, vegetable oils ( canola and soybean oil), and flaxseed. You can also take omega-3 fatty acids as a pill or tablet. Talk your doctor before you start any new supplement, just to make sure it won’t affect any conditions you have or medicines you take.
Every part of your body needs water to stay healthy, including your eyes. Drinking water helps keep them moist.
But don't wait until you're thirsty to sip water. By then, you may already be slightly dehydrated.
Instead, aim for eight to 10 glasses throughout the day. If you don’t plain water, any other liquid that doesn’t have alcohol or caffeine will do. Water-rich foods — cucumbers and watermelon — also count.
One way to know if you are well-hydrated: Check your pee. If it's colorless or light yellow, you're ly getting enough fluids.
This style can help protect your eyes from drying winds, which cause tears to evaporate more quickly. At home, avoid blowing air from your hair dryer, air conditioner, or fan toward your eyes.
This can add moisture to dry indoor air. Putting a pan of water near your heat or radiator has the same effect. An air cleaner that filters dust and other particles may also help prevent dry eyes.
Over-the-counter eye drops work just your own tears and may help. There are many different brands. Some have preservatives added so they last longer, but using those too often may irritate your eyes. Non-preservative eye drops are also available, as well as thicker ointments. Your doctor can let you know if these would help or if you need something else.
What doesn't work for dry eyes: drops that take away redness, which, over time, can irritate your eyes more.
National Eye Institute: “Facts About Dry Eye.”
The Mayo Clinic: “Dry Eyes,” “Do You Drink Enough Water?” “Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day?”
American Academy of Ophthalmology: “Dry Eye,” “Facts About Tears,” “Blepharitis,” “Can Fish Oil Help Dry Eye?”
American Optometric Association: “Dry Eye.”
International Journal of Ophthalmology: “A randomized Controlled Trial of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Dry Eye Syndrome.”
Cleveland Clinic: “Drink Up: Getting the Water Your Body Needs.”
© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. Eye Drop Types
13 Remedies for Dry Eyes
Dry eye, also called dry eye syndrome, is a common condition that can impact your quality of life. It can make it a little harder to be productive at work and diminish your time with family and friends.
The American Journal of Ophthalmology estimates that 16 million adults have been diagnosed with the disease, and a 2012 Gallup poll suggest that 29 million Americans will suffer from the disease by 2022.
Adopting lifestyle changes or seeking simple home remedies for dry eyes is a good first step toward treating this disease. However, if your condition continues, worsens, or if there is an increase in your pain level or change in eye color, see an eye doctor immediately.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
The most common cause of dry eye syndrome is not having enough tears to lubricate the eyeballs. Dry eye syndrome can also be caused by medical conditions, environmental factors and even certain medications such as:
- Nasal decongestants
- Drugs to lower blood pressure
- Hormone therapy and oral contraceptives
- Acne medication
- Medications for Parkinson’s disease
Risk Factors For Dry Eye
- Advanced age: 65 and over
- Gender: Female
- Frequent use of contact lenses
- Low blink rate due to prolonged screen time
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Autoimmune conditions such as lupus
- Chronic diseases such as diabetes
- Environmental extremes
Learn more about what causes chronic dry eye .
DIY Remedies for Dry Eyes
Testing and diagnosis are required in order to understand the underlying cause of your condition. However, in the meantime, you may be able to find relief yourself with these simple home remedies for dry eyes:
1. Wash Your Eyelids and Lashes
Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information
When you wash your face, pay careful attention to your eyelids and eyelashes.
Use warm water and baby shampoo, or a preservative-free eyelid cleanser to gently clean your upper and lower eyelids.
Special attention should be paid to areas with makeup or facial creams that could get into the tear film and potentially irritate your eyes.
Follow up with a mask or warm, damp towel — using it as a compress — to help your eyes regain moisture.
2. Rest Your Eyes
Constant connectivity could be contributing to your dry eyes. The light from your computer screen, smartphone and television can be irritating. Furthermore, reduced blink rate or incomplete blinking can contribute to dry eyes.
According to the National Institutes of Health, numerous studies show computer users sometimes have reduced blink rate, which may contribute to dry eye syndrome.
Another study says inefficient blinking – where your upper eyelid does not cover your entire corneal surface – can impede the layer of fluids designed to nourish and lubricate the eye.
This layer of lipids may evaporate completely due to inefficient blinking.
Take regular computer breaks to rest your eyes and avoid computer-related eye strain.
3. Blink More Frequently
Deliberate, forceful blinks help promote eye health and open up glands, according to Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. But those blinks can seem and look unnatural.
Instead, try practicing normal-looking complete blinks to get the hang of blinking enough.
4. Add Essential Fatty Acids to Your Diet
According to the American Association of Ophthalmology, Omega-3 oils improve the function of the gland that produces tears, and they can naturally reduce the symptoms of dry eye. Omega-3 can be found in:
- Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna
- Fish oil supplements
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Palm and soybean oil
5. Add Vitamins A, B12 and D to Your Diet
A lack of vitamin D has been linked to dry eye. Vitamins B12 and A are also considered vital for eye health.
Other vitamins important for your eye health include:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
- Vitamins B6 and B9
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin
To help with eye issues, you can eat a more balanced diet or add supplements.
6. Drink Less Alcohol
Too much alcohol consumption can be dehydrating, which can affect your eyes. A study by the National Institutes of Health found a connection between alcohol and dry eye syndrome.
Limit alcohol intake, or eliminate it entirely, to see whether it’s contributing to your dry eyes.
Take our dry eye self-evaluation now
7. Stop Smoking
Cigarette smoke has more than 7,000 chemicals, which can irritate eyes. In fact, smokers have double the risk of dry eyes.
Smoking can also change the composition of your tears, which can cause more dry eye symptoms. It’s clear that smoking and eye health don’t mix.
If you’re a smoker, consider quitting. If you don’t smoke, try to avoid environments where there is heavy smoking.
8. Drink More Water
It’s no surprise that drinking water is good for your eyes. That water lubricates your eyes, which allows them to produce tears, focus and everything else they do. Without proper hydration, your eyes can’t clear out debris, blink comfortably or even see without straining.
For proper eye health — and overall health, too — drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.
9. Get More Sleep
A study by the National Institutes of Health says lack of sleep robs your eyes of tears. That’s enough to cause more issues for those with dry eyes.
Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests the following:
- Change your daytime routine e.g. exercise in the morning instead of the evening
- Create a comfortable sleep environment, preferably dark and quiet
- Set a bedtime routine, and go to bed at the same time every night
10. Pick the Right Eye Drops
The Mayo Clinic recommends preservative-free eye drops when choosing eye drops to alleviate red eyes.
Eye drops that contain preservatives can cause eye irritation, especially if they’re used more than four times daily. Eye drops for redness may cause your eyes to become even more irritated, so make sure the drops you use are for dry eyes.
You can also look into artificial tears.
Are you overusing eye drops?
11. Use Gels and Ointments
Lubricating gels and ointments coat your eye and bring longer-lasting relief than eye drops. However, these remedies for dry eyes are thicker than drops, so they may interfere with vision and should only be used before you go to sleep.
Gels and ointments come with their own warnings:
- Thicker gels and ointments can interfere with meibomian glands, making dry eye worse
- Long-term use can mask a root cause of dry eye
- Lack of good lid hygiene can cause more eye irritation
- Patients can overuse gels and ointments when they don’t actually need them
12. Change Your Environment
Sometimes low humidity, high winds, dust, air conditioning, or heat and smoke can cause temporary dryness and irritation. Step away from the situation, if you can.
Here are a few ways to reduce eye irritation:
- Use a cool-mist humidifier
- Avoid dry or blowing air, as air conditioning can irritate eyes
- Use filters to block pollutants and allergens
- Keep windows closed
13. Wear Wraparound-Style Sunglasses
Dry eye syndrome can cause another condition called photophobia. It’s an abnormal sensitivity to light. There are several types of eyewear that can help ease your dry eye symptoms and keep it from getting worse:
- Wraparound sunglasses
- Onion glasses, which lock out irritating vapors
- FL-41 filtered lenses and blue-blocking lenses
Talk to Your Doctor
DIY remedies may take care of mild and temporary instances of the condition. If the symptoms persist or get worse, or if you develop new symptoms, it’s time to see a qualified medical eye professional. These symptoms may suggest that dry eye is masking a more serious condition, such as blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) or inflammation of the surfaces of the eye.
At Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center we have dry eye specialists who are committed to finding the right solution for you. Our doctors are focused on your well-being, preserving your vision and comfort, and helping you manage your long-term eye health. To schedule an appointment with an eye doctor, fill out an online request or call 602-603-4247 today.
In the meantime, download our comprehensive free guide to dry eye treatment to learn more about the condition.
8 Do-It-Yourself Ways to Manage Dry Eye
2. Frequent computer breaks: Many jobs require hours in front of the computer on a daily basis. Taking breaks to rest the eyes should be used in conjunction with intentional and more frequent blinking.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, spend at least 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. Since staring at things close up puts more strain on your eyes, this exercise gives them a little break.
3. Washing your eyes: If you have dry eye, give that area a little extra TLC when you wash your face. Cleansing your eyelids and the surrounding area with a mild soap or baby shampoo can help cut down on lid inflammation.
Simply close your eyes and gently massage the area with cleaners and rinse with cool or lukewarm water. This method of washing is recommended before applying a warm compress.
4. Warm compresses: Applying a moist, warm compress to your eyes can help your eyelids produce more lipids, which can boost tear quality and relieve some dry eye symptoms, according to the AAO.
Finding the sweet spot for temperature is key — not too hot but warm enough to be therapeutic. Make sure that you prepare your compress in an environment that is as clean and sterile as possible.
5. Onion glasses: Originally created for cooks, these goggle-type devices are designed to keep eyes from tearing up while chopping onions. They have since been discovered by the dry eye community, and they are often recommended by eye-care professionals as a low-cost moisture chamber that can also keep irritating pollutants away from your eyes.
6. Fish oil: You can get fish oil through supplements or by eating fatty fish. It appears that omega-3 fatty acids can improve the eye’s oil film that’s produced by the meibomian glands, which are found on the edge of the eyelid. “Essential fatty acids such as fish oil are anti-inflammatory and might help with dry eye,” says Dr. Akpek.
Fish oil is generally safe, but the Mayo Clinic cautions that too much can increase the risk of bleeding and suppress the body’s immune response. If you’re thinking about taking fish oil supplements, talk to your doctor.
7. Humidifiers and air filters: Controlling your environment by keeping air moist and clean may ease dry eye symptoms. According to the National Eye Institute, windy, smoky, or dry environments increase tear evaporation and contribute to dry eye.
A 2014 study published in the journal Ophthalmology found that people living in or near cities Chicago and New York City, where air pollution was higher, were three to four times more ly to be diagnosed with dry eye syndrome compared with people in less-polluted areas.
The study also found that people who live in higher-altitude zip codes, where the air is typically drier, have a greater chance of developing dry eye.
8. Changing diet and sleeping habits: Akpek states that an anti-inflammatory or gluten-free diet can help in reducing dry eye symptoms. These diets eliminate foods that lead to inflammation.
“Lowering caffeine and alcohol is also good,” she adds, “as well as an overall healthy lifestyle, including good sleep habits.”
According to a 2014 study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, sleep deprivation reduces tear secretion and impairs the tear film.
Home Remedies for Dry Eyes That Actually Work (& Myths)
Dry eyes is a condition that can occur due to environmental factors or medical issues. It can also be a chronic syndrome that happens when your eyes don't properly manufacture tears or maintain the necessary oil and moisture levels in your eyes to keep them lubricated properly. Dry eyes can lead to irritation, redness, and vision problems.
Close to 30 million Americans are estimated to suffer from dry eyes.
There are numerous home remedies out there claiming to help with dry eyes. These range from artificial tear solutions to diet changes. Some of these approaches work, and some are ineffective.
The most popular home remedies for treating dry eyes are:
For chronic and severe dry eyes, there are several medical interventions that can be explored as well. (Learn More)
If you suffer from dry eyes, one of the most common remedies is to use some form of eye drops, often in the form of artificial tears.
There are both over-the-counter and prescription medicated eye drops designed to manage dry eyes. If you suffer from chronic dry eyes because your eyes are not making enough tears on their own, this can be helpful. You may need to administer drops several times a day to keep your eyes moist.
Dry eyes are not always caused by a lack of tear production or maintenance, however. In these cases, using eye drops may offer some temporary relief, but it is not ly to be a permanent or lasting solution. Oftentimes, dry eyes are actually the result of a lack of oil production, and eye drops do not increase the level of necessary oils in your eyes.
Eye drops often contain preservatives that can further irritate your eyes. There are single-use eye drops that are preservative-free and come in small one-dose vials.
Ointments are also available that can be placed into your eyes to coat them and provide a longer-lasting moisture seal than eye drops can. Ointments are thicker and can therefore blur your vision. It is typically recommended to only use them at night.
Heat & Massage
Blocked tear ducts can lead to issues dry eyes. A well-known home remedy for this is to apply a warm compress or washcloth on the eyes for several minutes a few times a day. This helps to loosen debris and unclog your tear ducts to release the natural oils.
It’s also recommended to gently press down and massage the corners of your eyes with the compress. While warm compresses and gentle massage can provide temporary relief and feel good, they may not actually help with your dry eyes.
If your dry eyes are the result of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), for instance, massage and warm compresses aren't enough to stimulate oil production or clear out your tear ducts. There are some in-office medical procedures that apply heat directly to the source of the problem. These approaches can break up waxy deposits in your tear ducts to improve dry eyes resulting from MGD.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet aids in whole body wellness, which includes your eyes.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods fish and flax seeds, and they can also be taken in supplement form. The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids can potentially reduce symptoms of dry eyes when taken in conjunction with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
Vitamin A and D deficiencies may contribute to dry eyes. Taking vitamin A and D supplements may therefore improve symptoms. More research is needed to confirm this link, however. Consult with a health care professional before adding supplements to your regime or drastically changing your diet.
Another common natural treatment for dry eyes is to use mild or baby shampoo to wash your eyelids and eyelashes. There are also over-the-counter eyelid and eyelash washes to clean these areas.
This can help to keep your eyes cleaner and remove crust from your eyelids and eyelashes. The practice may reduce inflammation. However, it is not ly to cure your dry eyes.
Frequent eye washing can be a great form of preventative medicine though, helping to keep your eyes clean and functioning properly. Eye washes can keep your tear ducts and eyelids from getting blocked as easily. If this is what is causing your dry eyes, these washes can be a home remedy to treat the issue.
Dry eyes can be triggered by many different things. Understanding the root cause of your dry eyes can help you to manage and treat them. It can be as simple as changing some of the things in your environment, for example.
These are some things you can do to minimize dry eyes that are related to your environment and lifestyle:
- Limit your screen time. The more time you spend staring at a screen or in the digital world, the more you can dry out your eyes. If you work on a computer, take frequent breaks to rest your eyes. Look away from the screen at least every 20 minutes.
- Use a humidifier or filter. Dry air can dry out your eyes. By introducing moisture into the air and purifying it, you can keep your eyes from getting as irritated and dry.
- Drink plenty of water. The more hydrated you are, the more moisture will be in your body. This translates to more moisture content in your eyes as well.
- Limit exposure to forced air and cigarette smoke. Fans, air-conditioning units, hair dryers, heaters, and cigarette smoke can all be eye irritants that can cause dry eyes.
- Protect your eyes from the sun and wind. UV light can lead to dry eyes. Wearing sunglasses, especially wraparound sunglasses, in windy and sunny conditions, can help.
- Change your contacts frequently, and use lenses formulated for dry eyes. Wearing your contacts too long, not cleaning them properly, or not wearing the right contacts for your eyes can all contribute to dry eyes. It can also help to give your eyes a break by wearing glasses for a few days.
- Blink often. Your eyes dry out as you hold them open for long periods of time. Frequent blinking can increase tear production and keep them from getting too dry.
Medical Remedies for Dry Eyes
When looking for a treatment for dry eyes — whether a home or natural remedy or a medical intervention — the first thing to consider is what is causing the condition.
If your dry eyes are the result of a medical condition or medication, you ly need a medical intervention to manage the issue.
The root cause of dry eyes needs to be understood in order to ensure that the treatment will fit the cause.
There are several procedures that can be performed to manage and even potentially cure dry eyes permanently.
- Eyelid surgery: This can be necessary if your dry eyes are caused by an inability to blink properly.
- Surgical plugging of tear ducts: This procedure can keep your tears on the surface of your eyes for longer. This can help to manage the moisture content of your eyes if your dry eyes are caused by the ducts draining your tears too quickly.
- Specialized contacts: Several manufacturers design contacts specifically to help with dry eyes. These range from scleral lenses that are larger and vault over the cornea to silicon hydrogels and other soft contact lenses with specific moisture content levels.
- Thermal pulsation: This is an in-office procedure to break up wax and unclog oil glands in your eyes.
- Medications: If you suffer from chronic dry eyes that are the result of inflammation, infection, or another medical condition, treatment of the underlying issue is necessary to manage your dry eyes.
Discuss all potential eye-related issues with your eye care provider to ensure that your dry eyes are being managed optimally. In many cases, you can combine natural and medical remedies to keep your eyes clean and functioning as best as possible. Your doctor can help you to develop an eye care plan to manage your dry eyes.
Dry Eye Disease: Higher Rates in View. (May 2017). Pharmacy Times.
What Is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction? WebMD.
How to Treat Dry Eyes Naturally. (February 2017). Medical News Today.
A Holistic Approach to Treating Dry Eyes. (December 2018). Natural Medicine Journal.
Dry Eyes Home Remedies
Dry eyes occur when your tear glands don’t produce enough tears to lubricate your eyes. This condition can be uncomfortable and painful. It can be caused by both medical and environmental factors.
Dry eye syndrome is a general term used to describe dry eyes caused by either poor quality tears or diminished tear production. The symptoms include:
- scratchy, dry, and painful sensation in both of your eyes
- feeling something is in your eyes
- mucus in or around your eyes
- light sensitivity
- fatigued eyes
- blurred vision
There are a number of factors that can cause dry eyes. These include:
- certain medications
- certain medical conditions
- environmental factors
Environmental factors are a common cause of dry eyes. Avoid cigarette smoke, and stay indoors when it’s windy.
Use appropriate eyewear to protect your eyes from wind when engaging in activities such as riding a bike or motorcycle, skiing, or riding in a convertible.
It may also be helpful to get a humidifier for your home to add moisture to the air.
Research indicates that eating more omega-3 fatty acids may relieve the symptoms of dry eyes. This fat is known to reduce inflammation in the body. It may help relieve dry eyes by reducing eye inflammation, allowing for more tear production and higher quality tears.
You can use omega-3 supplements, or eat more foods rich in this nutrient, such as:
- ground flaxseed and flaxseed oil
- palm oil
- soybean oil
- chia seeds
- fatty fish, including salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel
- eggs that have been supplemented with omega-3 fats
There are a number of nonprescription products for dry eyes that may bring you relief. Eye drops, or artificial tears, can bring you temporary relief. Keep in mind that some eye drops contain preservatives.
These usually come in multidose vials and contain preservatives to prevent bacterial growth once a vial is opened. If your eyes react badly to drops with preservatives, or if you apply eye drops more than four times a day, you should use preservative-free drops.
Preservative-free drops usually come in single dose vials.
Ointments are thicker than drops and are designed to coat the eyeball and provide longer-term relief from dryness.
However, ointments can impair your vision while you’re using them. It’s best to use them before bedtime and stick to drops during the day.
If these remedies don’t bring you relief, or if you think you have a more serious condition causing your dry eyes, it’s time to see your doctor. Here are some symptoms that should prompt you to call your doctor for an appointment:
- redness and swelling
- pain beyond mild irritation
- an eye injury
- flaking or discharge from the eye
- joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
- dry mouth
- continued dryness after a few days of self-care
Dry eyes are usually temporary, and are a natural part of aging for most people. But in some cases, the condition is caused by something more serious. Try home care for relief and see your doctor if needed.
Besides using eye drops or ointment, there are several simple ways to help prevent dry eyes. These include:
Avoid places with a lot of air movement
This means limiting your exposure to fans and hair dryers, and by wearing wraparound sunglasses when outside on windy days to protect your eyes from drying out.
Turn on a humidifier in the wintertime
Home heating systems can cause the air in your home to dry out, and dry out your eyes. But using a humidifier can help the air stay moist. If you don’t have a humidifier, you can put a pan of water on your radiator to add water into the air.
Rest your eyes
Frequent reading, TV watching, and computer use can dry out your eyes, so it’s important to take breaks so your eyes can regain some of their moisture.
Stay away from cigarette smoke
Cigarette smoke can irritate dry eyes and increase one’s risk of developing dry eyes in the first place.
Use warm compresses then wash your eyelids
Placing a warm compress on your eyes then washing your eyelids with baby shampoo helps to release some of the oil in your eyelids’ glands, this improves the quality of your tears. Be sure you completely rinse soap from your eyes when finished to avoid irritating them.
Try an omega-3 fatty acid supplement
Some people report dry eye relief after adding omega-3 fatty acids to their diet. These can be found naturally in foods oily fish and flax seeds, but can also be purchased in liquid or pill supplement form.
How to Get Relief for Your Dry Eyes With Natural Remedies
If you get dry eyes, you probably know how uncomfortable and even painful the condition can be. When the eyes don't produce enough tears to stay properly lubricated or if tears are poor quality and evaporate too quickly, you may get irritation, inflammation, and blurred vision.
The dryness, scratchiness, and stinging that you feel can be caused by factors in your environment ( the humidity in your home or the position of your computer monitor) or by underlying medical conditions.
Tears play a key role in promoting clear vision, warding off infection, and keeping the front surface of the eye clean and moist. Symptoms of dry eye can include:
- Stinging, burning, or gritty feeling in the eye
- Excess watering of the eyes, followed by periods of dryness
- Stringy discharge from the eye
- Blurry vision, double vision, or vision loss
- Light sensitivity
- Redness of the eye
- Decreased tolerance of activities requiring prolonged periods of visual attention (such as reading or working on the computer)
- Eye fatigue
- Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
There are a number of reasons why you may be getting dry eyes. As we get older, the risk of getting dry eyes increases, but there are some medical conditions, medications, and lifestyle factors that can make you more ly to develop dry eye:
- Medications such as antihistamines, nasal decongestants, hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, antidepressants, retinoids, diuretics, and blood pressure medicines
- Allergies that affect your eyes
- Infrequent blinking due to staring at computer screens or electronic devices for long periods of time
- Long-term use of contact lenses
- Complications resulting from rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren's syndrome, and other autoimmune disorders
- Chronic conjunctivitis
- Skin conditions, such as psoriasis or rosacea
- Fat malabsorption or deficiency
- Nutritional deficiencies ( vitamin A or vitamin B12 deficiency)
- Cigarette smoking and alcohol
- Wearing contact lenses
- Other conditions, such as thyroid disorders and diabetes
Although there's currently a lack of large-scale clinical trials exploring the use of vitamins and supplements, a growing body of research suggests that not getting enough vitamins and nutrients may be linked to dry eye syndrome:
People with vitamin D deficiency may be prone to dry eye, according to several studies that have examined the association between vitamin D or vitamin D deficiency and dry eye syndrome. A 2017 study that included 17,542 adults in Korea, for instance, found that vitamin D levels in those with dry eye syndrome were significantly lower than in those without dry eyes.
A small study published in Medical Science Monitor in 2017 also examined the association between vitamin D levels and dry eye syndrome and found that levels were lower in people with dry eye syndrome.
Correcting a vitamin D deficiency appears to improve dry eye syndrome, according to a study published in 2016 in Scientific Reports. For the study, vitamin D supplementation promoted tear secretion, reduced tear instability, and reduced measures of eye inflammation in people with dry eye syndrome who hadn't responded to conventional treatment.
Further research is needed, however, as not all studies have found an association between low vitamin D and dry eye syndrome.
A significant problem in developing nations ( Southeast Asia and Africa), vitamin A deficiency causes vision loss (particularly at night), dry eye, light sensitivity, the sensation of a foreign body, corneal ulcers, and blindness. Crying without tearing is another symptom.
Vitamin A is found in green leafy vegetables, orange vegetables and fruit (carrots, sweet potatoes, mangos, cantaloupes), and eggs.
In developed countries, most vitamin A deficiency is linked to inflammatory bowel disease, short bowel syndrome, cystic fibrosis, chronic diarrhea, alcoholism, chronic liver disease, pancreatitis, fat malabsorption, restrictive diets, kidney or liver failure, eating disorders, Sjogren's syndrome, vegetarian diets, and surgery on the upper gastrointestinal tract (the esophagus, gallbladder, and stomach), such as bariatric surgery and gallbladder removal.
Dry eye is a common side effect of a class of medications called retinoids (compounds that are related to vitamin A). Retinoids are commonly prescribed for skin conditions acne.
Preliminary research suggests that the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) show promise as a natural approach to dry eye relief.
A research review published in Medical Science Monitor in 2014 analyzed randomized controlled trials published between 2007 and 2013.
While there was no difference found in the ocular surface disease index (a 12-item scale for assessing dry eye symptoms), omega-3 fatty acids were associated with better tear break-up time and result on the Schirmer’s test (measuring the moisture in the lower eyelid pouch).
Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation was found to improve dry eye somewhat in people undergoing Lasik treatment, according to a small study published in 2017. Supplementation improved tear secretion but didn't affect tear film stability.
In a study published in Cornea in 2015, three months of treatment with eye drops, lid wipes, and omega-3 fatty acid supplements significantly improved dry eye syndrome and meibomian gland function (glands in the eyelids that produce the oil in tears) compared to warm, wet compresses applied daily.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found naturally in oily fish (such as salmon, sardines, trout, and mackerel).
You may be able to ease dry eyes by making sure that your habits and home and/or office environment are conducive to eye health:
- Stay Hydrated. For some people, simply drinking enough fluids throughout the day can help reduce dry eye symptoms by keeping mucous membranes in the eyes moist.
- Blink More Frequently.
- Position Your Monitor.
- Avoid Dry or Blowing Air. Avoid dry conditions.
Use a humidifier to increase the moisture of dry, indoor air. Keep air from fans, heaters, or air conditioners and smoke from blowing into your eyes. Wear sunglasses when you're outdoors.
Although dry eyes can be temporary (and affect everyone at some point or other in their lives), in some cases, the cause can be more serious and/or require medical treatment. If it's left untreated, dry eye syndrome can lead to pain, corneal damage, and loss of vision.
Here are just some symptoms that should prompt a call to your doctor:
- Eye redness and swelling
- Dry mouth
- Joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
- Blurry vision, double vision, or vision loss
- Seeing halos
- Dryness that continues after a few days
- Yellow skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
- An eye injury or infection ( pink eye)
If you have had recent laser eye surgery, such as Lasik or photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK, you should consult your surgeon or ophthalmologist.
If you have a medical condition ( diabetes, hypothyroid, hepatitis, or kidney disease) and are experiencing dry eye, be sure to consult your doctor.
If you have dry eye syndrome, make sure to consult your healthcare provider to identify the cause and to discuss your treatment options. Dry eyes are common, but the treatment depends on your symptoms and whether you have an underlying cause that needs to be addressed. Although having dry eyes may only be a minor annoyance, it should be properly treated to avoid complications.