According to the National Health Service, 1 in 3 people experiences dry eyes at least once during their lifetime. Dry eyes usually occur when the eyes don’t produce enough tears to stay hydrated or because the tears evaporate too quickly. This usually happens due to hormonal changes, activities, environmental changes, contact lenses, or certain medications. Thankfully there are various natural ways to treat dry eyes without resorting to any medications.
Here at Bright Side, we compiled a list of natural home remedies that can help you treat dry eyes within a few days.
1. Get a humidifier.
An unhealthy environment is the main cause of dry eyes in most cases, so a humidifier is the answer to your problem. A humidifier adds moisture to the room in which it is placed and with more moisture in the air, the tears from your eyes will evaporate a lot slower thus keeping your eyes more comfortable. It is important however to ventilate the area by opening up the windows when you are not in the room to prevent mold from building up. In addition, if you live or work in a dusty environment, consider getting an air filter for cleaner air.
2. Try a warm compress.
Tears are mainly made of oil, water, and mucus in equal amounts. When your eyes become irritated and inflamed, the eyes then stop the production of oil in the eyelid glands thus resulting in dry eyes. An easy way to alleviate the irritation caused by this is by using a warm compress on the eyelids for a few minutes. The moisture from the warm cloth will help to loosen the clogged oils in the glands and alleviate the discomfort as well.
- Wet a clean washcloth with warm water.
- Squeeze the excess water out and place it over your eyelids for 5 minutes.
- Gently press it over your eyelids.
- Repeat daily for a week to reduce inflammation.
3. Drink more water.
Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is the most important factor for a healthier lifestyle. It ensures the normal function of almost all of our organs, including our eyes. Water helps the eyes to stay hydrated, it ensures that they produce enough tears, and it prevents them from drying out.
- It is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.
- Don’t wait until you are thirsty to sip some water because you might already be dehydrated. Have a bottle of water by your side at all times and sip regularly.
4. Adjust your computer screen.
If you use your computer regularly, make sure that the computer monitor is correctly positioned to minimize eye strain. It should stand at eye level or slightly below it but no more or less than that. In addition, staring at a computer screen limits the number of times you blink every minute, according to a recent study, people who stare at their computer blink 3 times less than people who don’t.
Adjust both your screen monitor and the brightness of the screen to a level that feels comfortable.
Take regular breaks while working. Take a 10-minute break every hour and do something that doesn’t involve staring at a screen.
5. Keep your eyes clean.
Good hygiene is key when treating dry eyes, particularly if you’ve been suffering from dry eyes for a long time. By cleaning your eyelids, especially the lid margins, you are essentially removing debris that can build up over time and clog the oil-producing glands in the eyes. When it comes to hygiene there are 3 steps you need to follow in order to keep your eyes clean and prevent them from drying out:
- Fill a bowl with boiling hot water and allow it to cool down and become warm.
- Add a teaspoon of bicarbonate soda (baking soda).
- Dip a clean cotton pad into the solution and wipe your eyelids and eyelashes.
- Repeat this process using a clean cotton pad each time.
- Do this every day for a week.
6. Apply cucumber slices.
We’ve all seen it and wondered why many people in movies apply cucumbers over their eyes during their pampering routines, and now our questions are finally answered. Studies have shown that cucumbers can reduce swelling around the eyes, hydrate them, and unclog oil-producing glands in the eyes. Due to their high water content, they can moisturize the eyes and penetrate the skin in order to keep it hydrated while relieving dry eyes.
- Get 2 fresh slices of cucumber and apply them over your eyes.
- Keep them there for 15 minutes, until the cucumber slices start to get dry.
- Repeat twice a week.
7. Double up on Omega-3s.
There is no doubt that Omega-3 fatty acids have many positive effects on health in general. The molecules in Omega-3s make-up parts of the cell membrane and they play a crucial role in fighting inflammation and promoting the production of natural oil in the eye glands.
According to studies that are currently conducted in ophthalmology, they have found that there is a significant improvement in patients who suffer from dry eye syndrome and who have incorporated Omega-3s into their diets.
- You can take supplements.
- Or, incorporate it into your diet through foods that are rich in Omega-3s like salmon, tuna, flaxseeds, chia seeds, soybeans, canola oil, etc…
8. Try out castor oil drops.
Castor oil is the only type of oil that works as a water retainer, which makes it an ideal medicine for dry eyes because it can prevent tear evaporation. By applying castor oil to dry eyes you will be able to get instant relief and reduce discomfort.
Castor oil creates a soothing feeling for irritated eyes as well. It reduces the burning sensation, redness, and swelling that is caused by dry eyes. Due to its antibacterial properties, castor oil can also treat eye infections and prevent bacteria from entering the eye.
- Right before bedtime, while you are lying down, apply 1-3 drops of castor oil into each eye.
- While your eyes are closed, massage the oil into your eyes for a couple of minutes
- Do NOT apply contact lenses for at least 12 hours after you’ve applied castor oil, this can irritate your eyes even more.
- Repeat every night right before bed for a week.
9. Eat some grapes.
In research conducted by the National Institute of Health it was found that in people who ate grapes and had symptoms of dry eyes, their symptoms decreased significantly after a week of consuming grapes. This research suggests that a diet enriched with grapes can moisturize the eyes and can protect the retina from deterioration while also providing excellent eye care. In addition to that, grapes decrease inflammatory protein levels and reduce oxidative stress in the system due to their high antioxidant content.
- The recommended allowance of grapes is approximately one cup a day. Which is not much at all considering the various health benefits they offer.
10. Prepare an Ayurvedic eye treatment with Netra Tarpana.
Netra Tarpana is an Ayurvedic specialized treatment which can cure a number of eye conditions including conjunctivitis, dry eye syndrome, watery eyes, corneal ulcers, and inflammations. It is mainly performed by an herbalist while the patient lies down. The herbalist creates a circular form made of black dram dough and places it around the eyes and then slowly pours warm ghee inside the form and lets it sit for 15 — 20 minutes.
- During that period of time, the patient needs to move their eyes in 4 different directions to allow the ghee to penetrate the eye socket and nourish it.
Have you tried any of these methods? What is your experience with dry eyes? Please let us know in the comments below.
Illustrated by Anastasia Pavlova for Bright Side