Having dry eyes, also known as dry eye or dry eye syndrome, can seriously impact your quality of life. The condition makes it difficult to enjoy the simple things in life, and may impact your performance at work, or even your social life. Luckily, there are some simple home remedies that you can try to help relieve your dry eyes and get back that quality of life.
Before we start, it’s important to note that while these home remedies may help or completely relieve your dry eye(s), you should always speak to your GP or visit your optician for medical advice.
Symptoms of dry eyes
Before we dive into home remedies, let’s take a look at the typical symptoms of dry eyes:
- Light sensitivity
- “Scratchiness” in your eyes
- Feeling as if something is always in your eye
- Heavy eyelids
- Eye fatigue
- Discharge from the eye
- Blurred vision
If you’re experiencing any or all of these symptoms, you should seek advice from your GP or optician incase of infection.
What causes dry eyes?
A common cause of dry eyes is simply not having enough tears to lubricate your eyeballs. This is often due to underlying medical conditions, medications you take, or environmental factors. Let’s take a look at a few below:
- Antidepressant medications
- Acne medications
- Blood pressure medication
- Contraceptives (oral)
- Getting older - usually over 65
- The use of contact lenses
- Extended screen time, reducing the number of times you blink
- Autoimmune conditions
- Vitamin deficiencies
If one or all of the above apply to you, this may be why you’re experiencing dry eyes. But how can you relieve it?
Simple home remedies for dry eye syndrome
1. Drink more water
We all know that water is good for our health - and that includes our eyes! Water helps keep you hydrated, which in turn hydrates your eyeballs, keeping them lubricated. This also helps support the lacrimal glands, which is what allows your eyes to focus and produce tears.
If you’re dehydrated, you won’t be able to blink out debris or blink comfortably, so make sure you’re drinking the recommended 2 litres of water every day.
2. Get enough sleep
Easier said than done, right?! Lack of sleep alone is enough to cause more issues for those that experience symptoms of dry eyes.
Adults generally need around 8 hours of sleep every night. If you’re struggling to sleep, try these tips to help you drift off:
- Exercise earlier in the day, as this may be keeping you awake.
- Create an ideal sleeping environment. Make sure the temperature is right, as well as making sure you’re sleeping in a dark room that’s blocking out as much noise as possible. If you live in the city and it’s noisy outside, consider buying thicker curtains to dampen out the noise.
- Try a white noise machine. If you find yourself lying in bed full of thoughts, a white noise machine can help distract and soothe you to sleep
- Stick to a bedtime routine. Go to bed at the same time each night, and make sure you have time to relax for at least an hour before getting into bed.
- Switch to decaf after 5pm. Letting your body let go of the caffeine in time for bed will help you fall asleep easier.
3. Wash your eyes carefully
Taking extra time to wash your eyes and eyelids carefully is imperative to preventing dry eye symptoms. Many people don’t realise that the products they are using on their face, such as creams, make up and make up removers can be harmful to your tear ducts and tear film. Tear film is the clear fluid that protects your eye. If it’s damaged, your eyes can become dry and sore and present the symptoms listed above.
You should always use lukewarm water and a preservative-free cleanser to clean your eyes and eyelids. Use gentle motions to clean the area and once you’re done, follow up with an eye mask or a warm damp towel to help your eyes regain moisture.
4. Blink more often
While blinking may be uncomfortable at the moment, blinking more often helps promote eye health and opens up glands to keep your eyes lubricated.
This may feel unnatural, so try doing it when you’re alone and regularly. You’ll soon find your eyes feeling more lubricated and your symptoms reducing.
5. Eat more essential fatty acids
Omega 3 is amazing for your health, including your eyes! It can help soothe inflammation and boost healthy fats in your body. You can get extra omega 3 in:
- Fish oil supplements
- Flax and chia seeds
If the above isn’t possible due to dietary needs, you could try taking omega 3 supplements. They’re easily found at most chemists in the UK.
6. Drink less alcohol
Drinking alcohol causes your body to become dehydrated, which can affect your eyes. Lowering or limiting the amount of alcohol you consume will help your body stay hydrated, and therefore may eliminate your dry eyes altogether.
7. Quit smoking
We all know that smoking isn’t good for us, but did you know that smoking can change the composition of your tears? Smokers have more risk of dry eye syndrome than non smokers.
Even if you don’t smoke, it’s important to try and stay clear of areas where there is heavy smoking. Smoke can irritate your eyes, so where possible, stay clear.
8. Try OTC eye drops
You may be able to find some over the counter (OTC) eye drops to help keep your eyes lubricated. Your best bet is to always speak to your GP or optician, but if you can’t wait for that appointment, you can speak to a pharmacist about your symptoms, and they will be able to advise.
9. Wear glasses
Finally, sometimes dry eyes are caused because there is something in your eye. If you work in an environment where there’s a lot of debris in the air, then it’s a good idea to wear protective glasses. This can be in the form of your regular prescription glasses or protective goggles.