Dry eye syndrome occurs when your eyes produce insufficient or low quality tears, but there are home remedies for dry eyes that you can use to your aid. These are listed below and with the ever growing popularity of natural remedies – and even herbal remedies – it is only logical that we as well include some of them.
Having dry eyes simply means that your eyes are producing either low quantity or low quality tears – the liquid that helps to keep your eyes moist and free of dust and other debris, while fighting off harmful microorganisms.
Sometimes referred to as Dry Eye Syndrome or Dry Eye Disease, the condition is associated with symptoms such as eye dryness and reddening, an urge to scratch the eyes, feeling as though you have foreign objects in your eyes, and a burning sensation.
Dry eye syndrome is attributed to various factors that reduce the production of tears in the eyes and/or cause low secretion of oils in the meibomian glands, making the tears to evaporate very easily.
These include certain medications e.g. first generation antihistamines; living in dry, dusty and windy environment; heating and/or air-conditioning systems; less frequent blinking e.g. when using a computer, resulting in Computer Vision Syndrome; long-term use of contact lenses, and systemic diseases such as ocular rosacea, Sjogren’s syndrome (which also causes dry mouth) etc.
Home Remedies for Dry Eyes
Some people also get dry eyes after (an Lasik abbreviation for Laser-Assisted in-Situ Keratomileusis), a vison correction surgery. The best option in such a case is to talk to your surgeon.
Below is a list of some commonly used home remedies for dry eyes:
Run a Humidifier
A humidifier is not only a great home remedy for nasal congestion but also dry eyes. It helps to add moisture in the air which in turn makes your tears to evaporate at a lower rate, consequently keeping your eyes comfortable.
Dry air is typical in winter due to low humidity and running of furnaces indoors. It may also occur in summer a result of the air conditioning.
Warm compresses are one of those simple remedies that are nevertheless very effective for curing of dry eye syndrome. They are in particular helpful for dry eyes caused by rosacea, blepharitis, or poor meibomian gland function.
According to Stephen Pflugfelder, an ophthalmologist based in Houston, Texas, applying a warm washcloth to the eyelids helps to liquefy any plugs that may be blocking the oil secreting meibomian glands.
This ensure that the tears reaching the surface of the eye have adequate amounts of oil and thus doesn’t evaporate at an unnatural rate.
- Dip a clean washcloth in warm water.
- Wring out the excess water and then hold it over your eyes until the heat dissipates out.
- Continue doing this for 5-10 minutes.
- Repeat this once or twice daily to cure dry eyes.
Soapy Eyelid Cleanses
Soap cleansing of eyelids also ranks among the easiest home remedies for dry eyes and is particularly helpful for dry eye syndrome that is accompanied by flaking of the skin along the eyelids; a classic symptom of blepharitis.
Blepharitis patients tend to have overactive meibomian glands which produces excessive oil, leading to blockage of the glands and thus poor quality tears – that evaporate too easily.
Applying soapy water helps to reduce excess oils associated with blepharitis and eliminate the flakes of skin that accumulate on the eyelids.
Here is how to use this remedy to treat dry eyes:
- Pour or apply some mild soap product, such as a baby shampoo, on your fingertips.
- Close your eyes and massage the eyelids gently, paying close attention to the area of the skin along the base of the eyelashes.
- Rinse the soap off with water after a few minutes.
- Repeat the treatment once every day and you dry eyes will have cured in a few days. If symptoms have not cleared in 5 days’ time, seek medical intervention.
More Dry Eye Treatment Tips
Moving beyond the above home remedies for dry eyes, you may also want to try out the following lifestyle changes and intervention measures to reverse the condition:
- Avoid excessive air flow in your house by reducing the speed of fans. Air moving at high speed is known to have an eye-drying effect.
- For the same reason highlighted in the point above, you will also want to wear an eye protecting helmet or goggles when riding a motorbike or a convertible car.
- If you live in dusty or windy environment (and in winter), consider wearing sunglasses every time you have to go outdoors to keep wind, dust and other debris away from your eyes. Foam-lined varieties of sunglasses, e.g. Dioptics Eyesential, are particularly good.
- Avoid or stop smoking. This is not an exactly easy thing to do, but might just be the code you need. Cigarette smoking has been linked to heightened risk of dry eyes according to com.
- Avoid prolonged use of computers and smartphones. Take momentary breaks and blinks.
- Increase your dietary intake of Omega-3 fatty acids. A study conducted in 2005 published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed a 34% reduction in the risk of dry eyes among women who took the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon fish, soybean, and flaxseeds are rich sources of Omega-3s. Supplements are also available.
- If you live or work in a dusty environment, consider investing in air filters.
- Lubricating eye drops, gels, and ointments may also help if you don’t mind such OTC treatments. Gels are typically thicker than eye drops and ointments are the thickest of them all. While all of them are effective, ointments tend to stick around longer, but may cause blurred vision which makes them suitable for treating dry eyes at night.
- Get plenty of fluids including water, juices, and milk especially during hot, windy and dry weather. Inadequate water intake can worsen dry eye syndrome.
Home Remedies for Dry Eyes with Contacts
Contact lenses and dry eyes have been shown to have a kind of a vicious cycle. As the AllAboutVision.com website says, your eye care specialist may recommend either switching to a different lenses, shorter usage duration per day, or temporary discontinuation until the problem clears.
If you decide to use any of the home remedies for dry eyes highlighted in this guide, take caution not to damage your lenses.
You will in particular want to ensure that the lenses are off as you treat your eyes and for at least 2 hours thereafter, especially if using any at-home remedy that involves direct application to the eyes or skin as opposed to ingestion.
It is also a good idea to ask with your eye care provider before making your decision.
Natural Remedies for Dry Eyes
You may as well capitalize on the curing and soothing properties of the following natural remedies for dry eyes to moisten your eyes and get rid of the itching and foreign-body feel that characterize Dry Eye Syndrome:
Sometimes referred to as curcumin, this popular Asian spice has powerful soothing and healing properties and may be used to cure dry eyes naturally as explained below:
- Mix warm almond milk with 1 teaspoon of turmeric, one-eighth teaspoon of cloves, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon of honey.
- Stir them properly until you attain a mixture with fine consistency.
- Integrate the mixture into your diet.
Paprika to Cure Dry Eyes Naturally
Paprika is a rich source of vitamin A and makes for a great addition to natural remedies for dry eyes. The easiest way to use paprika for this purpose is to add a sprinkle of it to your meals e.g. eggs, chicken, fish, or salads, name it.
It will not only enhance the flavor of your delicacy but also help to curb the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
Bilberries also constitute an awesome natural treatment for dry eyes. In addition to aiding in the healing of retinal diseases the likes of macular degeneration, bilberries also help to clear symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
Extracts of this close cousin of blueberries help to boost blood circulation and function of meibomian (the tear producing) glands. In addition, bilberries are rich sources of flavonoids (sometimes referred to as vitamin P) as well as citrin, the two of which helps to lessen the inflammation often associated with dry eyes.
As for how to cure dry eyes naturally with bilberries, simply take 220 mg of bilberries extract each day until the dry eyes get cured. Taking bilberry tea also helps.
Herbal Remedies for Dry Eyes
Known for its soothing properties, thanks to the menthol in it, mint also makes it one of the best herbal remedies for dry eyes. It is in particular very helpful for itching. Here is how to cure dry eye syndrome with mint:
- Add 1 cup of water into a small pot and bring it to a boil.
- Drop in about 10 spearmint leaves and turn the heat off after 3 minutes.
- Allow the tea some time to cool and the strain it (optional) before dabbing it to your eyes using a clean washcloth
- Repeat this treatment 2 times daily until the symptoms have cleared.
With strong cooling and anti-inflammatory action, chamomile also makes for one of the best natural cures for dry eyes. It also helps to replenish the eyes with the lost moisture, thus relieving the discomfort. And the best part, chamomile is known to induce sleep and is thus a great way to close your day.
Other herbal remedies for dry eyes worth checking out are fennel, marigold, calendula, and thyme. All these are now widely available in health food stores.
Homeopathic Remedies for Dry Eyes
You may have noticed a surge in the popularity of homeopathy in the recent past. The main philosophy behind this form of holistic medicine is that “like cures like”. In that regard, proponents and users of homeopathy believe that when taken in small quantity, a substance will cure the symptoms it is known to cause when taken in larger quantities.
As part of this research, I took the time to check what is out there in the world of homeopathy in as far as dry eyes treatment is concerned.
The two main homeopathic remedies for dry eyes that I came across were aconite 6c and alumina 6c. I also came across some homeopathic eye drops such as Similasan Dry Eye Relief Drops, Natural Ophthalmics Homeopathic Eye Drops Tear Stimulation Forte.
When to See a Doctor
As you can see, the list of home remedies for dry eyes is pretty long. You should however seek medical attention if the symptoms are severe, seems to be worsening over time, or persists for too long even with at home intervention measures.
Joint pain and stiffness, eye discharge, excessive swelling and redness, and dry mouth also warrant the attention of a doctor.
Chronic or severe dry eye is often a sign of underlying medical conditions such as blepharitis, lupus, rosacea, and Sjogren’s syndrome.
It then follows that the appropriate severe dry eye treatment varies depending on the underlying condition and may involve the use of antibiotics, steroids, antibacterial shampoos, chemical scrubs, etc.
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