Home remedies for dry eyes can significantly improve your enjoyment and quality of life throughout the day. Dry eyes may just be the result of allergies, low relative humidity in your environment, or spending too much time on the computer. Contact lens wear, clogged tear ducts and malformations in the tear ducts are all common causes of chronic dry eye. The level of discomfort can range anywhere from slight dryness that just makes you blink a little more often, to an itchy, painful feeling similar to having grains of sand stuck in your eye. Regardless of the level of discomfort, these home remedies may help.
Apply herbal eye compresses
Soak soft cloths or cotton balls in soothing herbs and place them over your eyes. This can be a quick time out during the day or part of your pre-bedtime routine, but try to keep them on your eyes for 10-15 minutes at a time. You can use commercially prepared eye mask products, or prepare your own out of chamomile tea, calendula, or other gentle soothing herbs. Try slices of cucumber placed over your eyes, or make the compresses warm to help loosen any clogs that might be in the tear ducts.
Make sure your eyes get the most benefit out of natural lubrication
Take some time to roll your eyes around, blink rapidly, or pause in a dark area to give your eyes a chance to rehydrate. Your body might be producing plenty of tears and they might be flowing through the tear ducts just fine, but your eyes will still be dry if you don’t redistribute the fluid over the corneal surface.
Use non-medicated eye drops
Add a few extra “tears” by using non-medicated eye drops whenever the dryness in your eyes gets uncomfortable. While medicated drops can actually produce dry eye, the non-medicated ones are formulated to simulate natural tears as closely as possible. This is especially useful if your eyes are dry due to allergies or dry weather.
Consume Omega-3 fatty acids
Studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids have a number of benefits for your body, including encouraging the production of more – and better – tears. Enjoy meals that include tuna or ground flax seed to get plenty of those wonderful Omega-3s. If you really don’t like those, can’t get them, or have allergies, then consider Omega-3 supplements.
Develop healthy eye habits
Dry eye may be caused by micro abrasions or other damage to the cornea, or surface of the eye. Without even realizing it, you may be causing the damage – and re-damaging your eyes on a regular basis. Rubbing your eyes when you’re tired can scratch the eyes. Prolonged use of contact lenses (beyond the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer) can cause scrapes and swelling in the cornea. Many people also don’t realize that your eyes can get sunburned, which may be the cause of discomfort if you spend prolonged amounts of time outside without sunglasses or other eye protection.
It’s common for dry eye to come and go with seasonal allergies, summer dry spells, and other temporary occurrences. If you experience chronic dry eye – that is, dry eye that doesn’t go away over time – you need to consult your physician. Chronic dry eye can be caused by clogging, health issues that impact tear production, and potentially serious damage in and around your eye. With treatment, most severe cases of dry eye can be relieved for better comfort and to prevent further damage to your eye.