4.88 million Americans over the age of 50 suffer from dry eyes. Of this number, 1.68 million are men and 3.2 million are women.
Dry eye is caused by the inadequate production of tears or the body’s inability to produce tears of the right consistency and makeup.
The result? People suffering from dry eye often report feeling like there’s something in their eye along with burning or stinging. Their eyes may also appear red and even exhibit a stringy discharge.
These unpleasant symptoms can make daily tasks more difficult and lead to easily fatigued eyes and blurred vision, especially when using a computer or reading.
Fortunately, you’ve got options when it comes to ways to help or even prevent dry eye. Read on to learn more about 15 natural remedies for dry eyes that’ll have you seeing clearly and discomfort-free.
1. Go Fish
Simple dietary changes can mitigate the impact of dry eye. For one, incorporating more oily fish into your diet can help. These include menu times such as:
These fish pack a powerful omega-3 fatty acid punch that can help your eyes stay lubricated and less irritated.
2. Add These Foods to Your Diet
But what if you can’t stand fish? No worries! Nature provides many ways of getting more omega-3s in your diet.
Other sources of omega-3 acids include:
- Flaxseed oil and ground flaxseeds
- Vegetable oils (e.g. soybean and canola)
- Eggs supplemented with omega-3 fats
- Chia seeds
- Palm oil
These foods will help reduce eye irritation while ramping up tear production. You should also consider taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement if you have trouble incorporating enough of these foods into your diet.
3. What You Put in Your Body Matters
Besides boning up on your omega-3s, you need to avoid certain foods and medications. Stay away from processed foods.
Also watch out for the following medications, which can make dry eye worse:
- Some antidepressants
- Some overactive bladder medications
- Some anti-nausea medicines
- Some motion sickness medicines
But this list by no means proves exhaustive. If you’re on medications and are also struggling with dry eyes, you owe it to yourself to speak with your doctor.
They’ll be able to pinpoint potential issues so that you can move past the dry eye and take your life back.
4. Drink Up
When it comes to dry eye remedies, drinking water and staying well-hydrated represents another important strategy. Many people forget to drink enough water. And by the time you feel thirsty, it’s already too late because you’re dehydrated.
Instead, get an app that reminds you to drink another glass of water or set an alarm on your watch. Aim for eight to 10 glasses of water throughout the day. Also, incorporate water-rich foods into your diet such as watermelon and cucumbers.
How will you know whether or not you’re well-hydrated? When you urinate, the liquid will appear clear or pale yellow. If it’s highlighter yellow or orange, though, you need to up your water intake.
5. Think Air Quality
Is the air inside your home or office dirty or dusty? Dirt and dust can have an impact on your eye health over time.
But you can change the quality of your air by purchasing and using an air cleaner. Just remember to change out your air cleaner filters on a regular basis to avoid recirculating captured grime into the air.
6. Evaporation Is Your Friend
Home heating systems represent the nemesis of your dry eyes. Unfortunately, they’re difficult to avoid in today’s world. So, do yourself a favor and put some moisture back into the air.
You can counteract the effects of overly dry air by using a humidifier. Or, consider putting a pan of water near a radiator or heater, which will lead to similar results.
7. Turn Down the Heat or A/C
And while we’re on the topic of indoor air, it’s time to turn down your heater during the winter and A/C during the summer. Why? Because it’s mummifying your house and your eyes.
Not only will you use less electricity and leave a smaller carbon footprint, but your eyes will thank you.
What should humidity levels look like? For optimal eye health, aim for between 30 and 50 percent moisture in your home interior’s air. 45 percent remains perfect with anything below capable of causing dry eyes as well as nose and throat irritation.
8. When in Doubt Wraparound
Yes, we get it. Wraparound sunglasses may not be at the top of your fashion agenda. But they can do wonders for eyes by protecting them from drying winds and dust when you’re out and about.
What’s more, wraparound sunglasses (a.k.a. blades, performance running goggles, baseball glasses, shields, ski sunglasses) are enjoying a moment right now thanks to brands such as Oakley, Moncler, and Balenciaga.
So, why not embrace the new look while shielding your precious eyes from harsh elements?
9. Protect Those Eyes
In your daily activities, make a point of avoiding blowing air from devices such as fans, air conditioners, and hair dryers.
Places with lots of air movement can exacerbate your dry eyes, too. So, take precautions to limit your exposure to indoor blasts of air.
10. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Whether or not you like the Platters song, don’t let the smoke get in your eyes. And always avoid cigarette smoke, in particular. It can do a serious number on dry eyes.
Besides causing myriad health concerns and being downright unpleasant, cigarette smoke vastly increases your odds of suffering from dry eyes.
11. Don’t Forget the Compresses
When eyelids become irritated or inflamed, they may affect the oil-making glands around the edges of your eyes that are crucial to tear production. Using a warm compress on your eyes can help clean these glands and keep them moist.
For an effective eye compress, make sure you use warm water and wring it out. Then, place the cloth over your closed eyes for at least 60 seconds. Wet the cloth often because warmth remains key to this process.
After applying the compress, gently press each eye following the edge of your eyelids to help remove clogged oils. Even after your eyelids and eyes feel less inflamed and dry, keep up the compresses to promote optimal eye health.
Unlike remedies such as eye drops, which you can easily overdo, you can apply warm compresses to your eyes two to three times per day to rehydrate them.
And this treatment is effective when it comes to preventing other conditions such as blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction down the road.
12. Give Your Eyes a Break
Today’s technologies are doing a number on our eyes. From televisions to computers, these devices can lead to dry eye syndrome. One of the reasons? You don’t blink as much as you should when involved in these activities.
That makes it more important than ever to take regular breaks to allow your eyes to rest. So, move away from the electronics and give those peepers a chance to recover by staring out a window or taking a walk outdoors.
And to really up the rest factor? Pamper your eyes with this natural treatment for dry eyes. Enjoy some cooling downtime by placing hydrating cucumber slices over each eye.
13. Bust a Move
You’ve no doubt heard about the many benefits of exercise over the years. But did you know it can actually help out with dry eyes, too?
When you engage in regular physical activity, it leads to better circulation throughout your body (including your eyes). With better circulation comes increased nutrient delivery to your eyes.
So, make a point to get out the there and move at least three to four times per week. Just don’t forget the wraparound sunglasses if you’re heading outdoors!
14. Be Weary of Eye Drops
Although this tip seems a little counterintuitive, it can make all the difference when it comes to dry eye. Avoid overusing eye drops.
Why? When you use too many drops, you risk washing away important, naturally-occurring tear components such as proteins, lipids, and mucin. These help thicken tears and keep them from evaporating too soon.
What’s more, long-term use of eye drops can develop into a physical dependency on them. This can “teach” your eyes to stop making tears altogether, which really exacerbates an uncomfortable problem.
Dry eye drops can also come with many chemicals that could potentially make your eyes feel worse. So, always opt for natural eye drops recommended by your doctor.
15. Night Moves
While you sleep at night, all of the muscles in your body relax. This includes your eyelids. In other words, you sleep with your eyes partially open at night.
No wonder you wake up with eyes that feel like the noonday Sahara Desert! How do you counteract the impacts of half-lidded sleep?
With this remedy for dry eyes. Try wearing eye goggles at night to prevent dehydration. Eye gels also represent another remedy worth trying.
And whatever you do, don’t skimp on sleep. You need a solid eight hours each night in order to promote optimal eye health.
What You Need to Know About Natural Remedies for Dry Eyes
When it comes to natural remedies for dry eyes, you’ve got more options than you may realize. From simple dietary changes to warm eye compresses, take action today to start soothing your eyes.
The last thing you want to do is ignore dry eye. This can lead to a whole array of increasingly severe symptoms from inflammation and blurry vision to blindness in the worst cases.
Want to find out more about the causes of dry eye, and how to treat it? Read on for our complete guide to dry eye.