Natural remedies for dry eyes
If you suffer from dry eyes, you know how unpleasant it can be. Fortunately, there are various home remedies and practical tips that can help relieve symptoms without the need for medication. In this article, we’ll explore the most effective natural remedies for dry eyes, so you can go back to crying over Bill and Frank, like everyone else who watched The Last of Us.
In this article:
- Home-made natural remedies for dry eyes
- The causes of dry eyes
- Our top tips to help prevent dry eyes
Natural remedies for dry eyes: straight from grandma’s kitchen
Everyone’s grandma has at least one old wives’ tale that turns out to be true. Turns out some of their old, tried and tested methods for curing dry eyes actually have some merit to them. From the depths of Grandma’s cupboards, we’ve chosen those we think are the most effective (and they’re backed by science – “Yeah! Science!”).
No.`1: Hot compresses help dry eyes
Warm compresses can help stimulate tear production and relieve dry eyes. A study by Brandon Bzovey showed that warm compresses can increase tear production in people with dry eye syndrome.
To use this home remedy, simply soak a clean towel in hot water, wring it out, and place it over your closed eyes for 10-15 minutes. Repeat this technique twice a day for optimal relief!
Eye massage also can be beneficial for helping tired, achy or dry eyes.
No.2: Crack out the cucumber
Cucumbers are rich in water and vitamins, making them one of the great home remedies for dry eyes. Applying cucumber slices to the eyes can reduce inflammation and swelling of the eyelids by moisturizing the tissues.
To do this, cut slices of cucumber and place them on your closed eyes for about 15 minutes. You can repeat this several times a week and pretend you’re at the spa you can no longer afford (thanks, cost of living crisis).
No.3: Chamomile is useful for more than drinking
Chamomile tea is an excellent natural remedy for a variety of eye issues. It has anti-inflammatory and calming effects, making it an effective treatment for dry, irritated eyes. It is especially beneficial for relieving blocked tear ducts and helping to reduce the symptoms of conjunctivitis. Herbal teas are a great way to naturally address eye problems; but in this case, we’re not suggesting drinking the chamomile.
Instead, to use this method, steep chamomile tea bags in hot water and let them cool. You don’t want to burn your eyelids; you’re trying to soothe, not irritate! Then place the sachets over your closed eyes for about 10 minutes as an effective dry eye treatment.
No 4. Castor oil is effective at helping dry eyes
Castor oil is one of the most surprisingly effective natural remedies for dry eyes. I bet you didn’t know it’s a common ingredient in eye drops for this very reason.
Castor oil helps give eyes a more stable tear film and reduces the symptoms of dry eyes. If you want to use it though, it’s worth looking for an artificial tears eye drop that contains castor oil instead of applying it yourself.
If you do want to go old school however, dip a cotton ball in castor oil and apply before bed each night.
No 5: Blueberries are rich in anti-oxidants
Blueberries contain anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and improve dry eyes. A study done in South Korea in 2023 showed that anthocyanins can increase the time that tears stay in the eyes, increase the intraocular pressure in the eyes, and reduce dryness caused by disease.
You can use the exact same method for blueberries that you would for chamomile. Grab some tea bags, steep them in hot water and let them cool. You can then apply them to your eyes for 5 to 10 minutes and enjoy the calming sensation.
No 6: Rose water
Rose water is yet another of our highly recommended natural remedies for dry eyes. Like some of the other remedies mentioned, rose water is high in antioxidants and moisturizing properties; making it a super effective natural remedy for dry eyes.
A 2011 study on the pharmacological effects of the Rosa damascene plant it comes from found that patients reported reduced symptoms of dry eyes after using the plant effectively.
Like castor oil, soak a cotton ball in rose water and apply gently to your eyelids as a natural dry eye treatment.
Important note: Natural remedies for dry eyes can be really effective, but its important to address the underlying cause. If symptoms persist or worsen, please consult a healthcare professional.
The causes of dry eyes
Dry eyes can cause a variety of symptoms, including red eyes, itching, burning, stinging, sensitivity to light, itchy or watery eyes, blurred vision, and the sensation that there’s a foreign body stuck in your eye.
Here are some of the most common causes of dry eyes:
- 👵 Age: Dry eye is more common in older people. Sorry grandma.
- 🧬 Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during pregnancy or menopause, can cause dry eyes.
- 🤮 Certain diseases: Dry eye can be caused by certain diseases such as Sjögren's syndrome, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Always consult a doctor!
- 💻 Screens: If you work in front of a screen, it’s recommended to take regular breaks to rest your eyes and avoid digital eye strain. The 20-20-20 rule can help you: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.
- 🥏 Contact lenses: If you wear contact lenses, it’s important to maintain them properly and replace them regularly to avoid irritation and eye infections.
- 💧 Hydration: It's important to drink enough water to stay well hydrated, it’s good for everything, including your eyes. It’s recommended that you drink 6-8 glasses of water a day for a myriad of health benefits, including improving dry eyes.
- 🤡 Makeup: We’ve all woken up the morning after looking like the Joker… and it’s not a pretty sight. If you wear makeup, be sure to remove it carefully before going to bed to avoid eye irritation and scaring your loved ones.
- 🤓 Not protecting your eyes: Sunglasses help protect your eyes from the sun's harmful UV rays, which can reduce irritation and dryness. We also recommend wearing blue light blocking glasses that protect you from harmful light from screens, especially if you’re an avid user.
- 💤 Sleep: Lack of sleep can cause eyestrain and increase dry eye symptoms. Try to get enough sleep to allow your eyes to rest and recover.
We’ve already said it once, but we’ll say it again:
If you suffer from chronic dry eye disease or if your symptoms are severe, it is important to consult a healthcare professional to determine the cause and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Practical tips for eye care and reducing dry eyes
Did you know your eyes are the only organ not covered by skin? This leaves them exposed to a variety of external aggressions, such as sunlight, pollution, and computer screens. Despite this, we often don't think about how to properly care for our eyes.
That's why we also want to provide practical advice to help keep your eyes healthy and prevent the symptoms of dry eye. There are some simple steps you can take:
- 🙈 Avoid rubbing your eyes: Rubbing your eyes can irritate your skin and make dry eye symptoms worse.
- 🌵 Avoid dry environments: Dry environments can make dry eye symptoms worse. So don’t spend too much time in saunas or in a room with a high temperature. Use a humidifier to keep the humidity in the air or put a glass of water on your radiator (if it's not electric!).
- 🕶 Protect your eyes from wind and sun: Strong winds and the sun's UV rays can cause dry eyes and other eye problems. Wear Horus X sunglasses to protect yourself from UV rays and use goggles for your eyes if you work in windy environments.
- 🚭 Avoid cigarettes and second-hand smoke: Cigarette smoke can irritate your eyes and make dry eye symptoms worse. Avoid smoky environments and quit smoking if you smoke yourself (easier said than done, we know).
- 🥗 Maintain a healthy diet: A balanced diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants helps maintain good eye health.
- 👾 Take regular breaks when working in front of a screen: computer screens and other electronic devices can cause eye strain and worsen dry eye symptoms. Take regular breaks to rest your eyes and try to reduce your screen time if possible.
By following these tips, you can maintain good overall eye health and avoid a scolding from your optometrist (that’s your eye doctor).