Dry eyes occur when your tears do not provide enough lubrication for your eyes. This condition causes a lot of discomfort and produces several signs and symptoms. Such signs and symptoms include a stinging or burning sensation in the eyes, stringy mucus in or around the eyes, eyelids stuck together when waking up, an increased sensitivity to light, red and sore eyes, a sensation that something is stuck in your eye, difficulty driving at night, blurred vision, or eye fatigue.
Dry eyes can be caused by medical and environmental factors, usually due to a lack of adequate tears – not tears as a result of crying, but rather tears that are produced by your tear glands with the sole purpose of keeping the surface of your eyes smooth and clear, as well as protecting your eyes from infection.
Your tear glands may produce inadequate tears for a number of reasons: aging, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, thyroid disorders, vitamin A deficiency, certain medications, laser eye surgery, and tear gland damage as a result of inflammation or radiation.
Sometimes, an increase in tear evaporation or some sort of imbalance in the composition of your tears can also lead to this problem. This can be as a result of wind exposure, smoky or dry air, high altitude, reduced blinking when concentrating, and some eyelid problems. In short, there are many reasons why you might be suffering from dry eye syndrome.
Certain risk factors increase your chances of having dried eyes. Such factors include being above 50, being a woman (due to hormonal changes), chronic allergies, sleeping with partly open eyes, wearing contact lenses, and eating a diet which is low in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids.
Luckily, there are many natural home remedies that can be used to treat this uncomfortable eye condition.
Here are the top 10 ways to get rid of dry eyes naturally.
1. Frequent Eyelid Washing
Those who suffer from dry eyes constantly rub their eyes. This should be avoided as it just leads to more inflammation. To relieve this discomfort, while maintaining proper eye hygiene at the same time, it is recommended that you wash your eyelids a few times a day.
1. Place a few drops of baby shampoo on your clean fingertips or on a cloth.
2. With closed eyes, gently massage your eyelids at the base of your eyelashes.
3. Rinse the soap off completely using lukewarm water.
4. Do this one or two times a day.
2. Warm Compress
This is a very comfortable way with dealing with dry eyes. The heat from the compress increases blood circulation and promotes the formation of tears. This will soothe any irritation and provide relief from the annoying symptoms.
1. Soak a clean and lint-free cloth in hot water and wring out any excess water.
2. Place this warm, moist cloth over your closed eyelids for around 10 minutes at a time (no longer).
3. Give your eyes a nice rinse with some lukewarm water.
4. Repeat twice a day until your symptoms have subsided.
3. Castor Oil
The ricinoleic acid in the castor oil acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that relieves the irritation, itching, burning, and pain that is associated with the condition. The oil can also help decrease tear evaporation.
1. Purchase some pure, organic, hexane-free castor oil.
2. Using an eye dropper, place a drop of the oil in each eye.
4. Eat More Foods Rich in Omega-3
Dry eyes may be due to a lack of essential fatty acids in your diet, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s reduce inflammation and stimulate tear production. Furthermore, these fatty acids are a very important component of fat molecules, which help keep your eyes healthy.
Include foods which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Such foods include fatty fish and fish oils, ground flaxseed and flaxseed oil, sesame seeds, chia seeds, almonds, and walnuts.
You can also take omega-3 supplements (consult your doctor beforehand).
5. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can play a key role in reducing the irritating symptoms of dry eyes, as it forms a protective layer over the tear film layers to reduce tear evaporation. Furthermore, it has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the discomfort that’s inevitably caused by dry eyes.
1. Soak a cotton ball in coconut oil.
2. Place on your closed eyelids for 15 minutes.
3. Repeat this at regular intervals throughout the day.
6. Blinking Exercise
Regular blinking can help moisten the eyes, reducing the symptoms of dry eyes.
Perform this blinking exercise 5 times every day for a few weeks. You can then reduce the frequency to 4 times a day.
1. Close your eyes and count to 2.
2. Squeeze your eyelids together and count to 2 again.
3. Open your eyes and count to 2 once more.
This will help wash your eyes with a fresh layer of tears.
7. Turn on the Humidifier
Using a humidifier, especially during the winter, can help prevent dry eyes. The central heating system in your home dries the air out, which can aggravate the symptoms of dry eyes. Therefore, turning the humidifier on can add some much needed moisture to the air – this in turn will provide moisture for your eyes.
If you do not have a humidifier, you can simply place a pan of water in front of your heat vent. Furthermore, if you add plants to the room, they will help increase the moisture in the air through transpiration. The best plants for this purpose include peace lily, areca palm, and Boston fern.
8. Rose Water
Rose water is another great remedy for dry eyes as it acts as a natural relaxer for tired and strained eyes, which can lead to the formation of poor tears. Furthermore, rose water contains vitamin A, a deficiency of this is linked to dry eyes.
1. Dip some cotton in rose water and apply it to your closed eyelids.
2. Leave for about 10 minutes.
3. Repeat 2 to 3 time a day.
9. Aloe Vera
Thanks to its alkaline nature, aloe vera gel works as a great home remedy for dry eyes. Not only does it help moisturize your eyes, but it has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce redness, swelling and inflammation.
1. Rinse an aloe vera leaf and extract the gel.
2. Place the extracted gel on some tissue paper and gently wipe it on the outside of your eyelids.
3. Leave it there for 10 minutes.
4. Rinse it off with some lukewarm water.
5. Repeat this 2 to 3 times a day.
Note: Do not put aloe vera directly into your eyes!
Massaging your eyelids will stimulate your tear glands and will help prevent dry eyes. A massage will even improve blood circulation to your eyes and will relax the muscles surrounding them.
1. Place a few drops of olive oil or coconut oil on your fingertips.
2. Gently rub the oil over your closed eyelids and massage for a few minutes.
3. Place your palms over your eyelids and cover them completely for another couple of minutes.
4. Repeat this 2 to 3 times a day.
- Dehydration is one of the most common causes of this annoying condition, so make sure to increase your fluid intake to keep your body hydrated.
- Take plenty of breaks when using the computer, reading or watching TV.
- Try to stay indoors when it is windy.
- Stop smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Acidic foods can aggravate the symptoms of dry eyes, so avoid such foods until your symptoms have disappeared altogether.
- Avoid dry environments as dry air acts as an irritant.