6 Remedies for Dry Eyes
Relieve Eye Irritation and Get Back to Enjoying Life
Even if all aspects of your life are going great, if your eyes look and feel inflamed, happiness is diminished. It makes it a little harder to be productive at work and harder to enjoy time with family and friends. Even small irritations, like having dry eyes, can impact your quality of life.
Dry eye, also called dry eye syndrome, is a common condition. The National Eye Institute estimates it affects millions of adults in the United States. The risk increases with age. Symptoms may include:
- Feeling as if something is in the eye
- Heaviness in eyelids
- Light sensitivity, sometimes accompanied by pain
- Eye fatigue
- Blurred vision
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
- Blood-pressure lowering drugs
- Hormone therapy and oral contraceptives
- Acne medication
- Anti-depressants/anti-psychotic and
- Medications for Parkinson’s
Learn more about causes of dry eye.
DIY Remedies for Dry Eye Syndrome
There are many causes of dry eye, and most of the common causes can be taken care of at home. If the condition continues, worsens, or if there’s an increase in your pain-level or change in eye color, see an eye doctor immediately.
In the meantime, you may be able to find relief yourself with these 10 home cures for dry eyes:
- 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. If your heating and air conditioning system is the cause, you can use a humidifier to infuse your environment with eye-soothing moisture.
- 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 fishes such as salmon and tuna
- Fish oil supplements
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Palm and soybean oil
- Rest your eyes: Constant connectivity could be contributing to your dry eyes. The light from your computer screen, smartphone and television can be irritating. Take a break, rest your eyes under a lavender mask or warm, damp towel to help your eyes regain moisture.
- Drink less alcohol: Too much alcohol consumption can be dehydrating, which can affect your eyes. Limit alcohol intake, or eliminate it entirely, to see whether it’s contributing to your dry eyes.
- Select the right over-the-counter (OTC) 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.
- Use gels and ointments: Lubricating gels and ointments coat your eye and bring longer-lasting relief than eyedrops. However, these remedies for dry eyes are thicker than drops, so they may interfere with vision and should be used before bedtime.
Next Steps: 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. Symptoms that suggest dry eye might be masking a more serious condition, such as blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) or inflammation of the surfaces of the eye.
When it comes to helping you manage your long-term eye health, Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center can help. Schedule an appointment to discuss any eye care issue.