Dry eyes are one of the most common and recurring health issues in people. It occurs when your tear glands do not produce enough tears to lubricate the eyes, according to American Optometric Association,
In medical terms, we can define dry eyes as an outcome of poor quality tears or diminished tear production.
As average as the problem sounds, it can become equally uncomfortable and painful. The problem of dry eyes can be experienced by anyone, regardless of age and sex.
Symptoms of dry eyes
- scratchy, dry, and painful sensation in both the eyes
- feeling like there is something in the eyes
- mucus in or around your eyes
- light sensitivity
- fatigued eyes
- blurred vision
Causes of dry eyes
While the most common cause of dry eyes is less or no lubrication of eyes, there are many other factors associated. These are-
As the age increases, the lubrication and tear-producing glands start diminishing resulting in dry eye syndrome.
- Certain medications
There are certain prescription medicines which when consumed, can cause poor quality tear production and thus hold back the lubrication of the eye causing dry eyes.
Some of the regularly used prescription medications that can be the underlying reason for dry eyes are-
- Nasal decongestants
- Drugs to lower blood pressure
- Hormone therapy and oral contraceptives
- Acne medication
- Medications for Parkinson’s disease
Environment and the weather around you play a very important role in maintaining your vision and eye health. If it’s too windy or foggy outside, it can disturb the eyes.
Moreover, cigarette smoking is also considered a potential reason for dry eyes due to the smoke it releases.
- Contact lens
Many times, contact lenses cause too much itching and become uncomfortable. Continuous use of contact lenses without taking care of the eyes can lead to dry eyes.
Allergies are a common reason why you may suffer from a dry eye. Dry sand and dust are some of the most common allergens. Some foods can also be a cause of allergies and lead to dry eyes.
10 DIY home remedies for dry eyes
A medical consultation is important to administer the problem of dry eyes and treat it. But if your condition is not too severe and it’s still in the mild to moderate stages, you can try these simple DIY remedies to give your eyes some relief.
- Keep your eyes blinking from time-to-time
Blinking is generally an involuntary process but consciously blinking more regularly is generally a good practice to relieve dry eye.
A normal, healthy person should blink about 10-15 times a day as recommended by AOA. Blinking helps renew tear film, which is important in protecting and moisturizing eyes.
- Wash your eyes
Even without dry eyes, washing eyes at least 2 times a day is in general good practice. Make sure you use a mild soap or baby shampoo to wash your eyelids and surrounding area. This helps in preventing inflammation.
Use lukewarm or cold water to wash your eyes. Do not rub your eyes too often. Use a towel or a napkin and massage gently.
- Take care of your diet
Food is by far the best source to maintain overall health in a good shape. Even for your eyes, the right diet is very crucial.
Make sure your everyday meals are rich in essential fatty acids ( sources including salmon and tuna, fish oil supplements, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, palm and soybean oil, etc.).
Also try incorporating an adequate amount of Vitamin A, B12, and D in your diet. You can get these easily from milk and milk products, fruits and vegetables, nuts, cereals, etc.
- Stop smoking
Cigarette smoke has more than 7,000 chemicals that are harmful to the eyes and potentially increase the risk of dry eyes.
Smoking can also change the composition of your tears which can lead to even worse conditions. The solution is to avoid smoking and stay away from areas of heavy smoking.
- Proper sleep
We all know the importance of good sleep for our mind and body. According to the National Institutes of Health, lack of sleep robs your eyes of tears. And that ultimately leads to dry eyes.
Eight hours of peaceful sleep is necessary for the eyes to work properly and if you are not able to follow this, make sure you adjust your daytime routine, set a good sleeping environment around you and limit your screen time.
- Onion glasses
Originally created for cooks, these goggle-type devices are designed to keep eyes from tearing while chopping onions. And they are also a good option for people with dry eyes.
These onion glasses act like a low-cost moisture chamber that actually prevents the pollutants and dirt from entering your eyes.
- Switch your environment
As we discussed above, the environment plays an important role in your eye health. Make sure you use a cool-mist humidifier to sustain moisture in the air.
Avoid opening windows now and then and avoid going outside if it’s too windy or foggy. Use filters to block pollutants and other foreign particles from entering your eye.
- Watch out for your eye drops
Eye drops are a popular choice among people with red eyes and reduced vision problems. According to The Mayo Clinic, eye drops containing preservatives can cause eye irritation and can lead to dry eyes.
Make sure you choose preservative-free eye drops and particularly those which are fit for dry eye syndrome only.
- Keep yourself hydrated
Undoubtedly, water is the pioneer for every health problem especially if there are conditions involving drying or headaches, or fatigue.
Water lubricates your eyes, which allows them to produce tears, focus, and everything else they do. Enough hydration is necessary to remove debris and dirt from the eyes and maintain a clear vision.
- Give rest to your eyes
With the present, digitally-driven generation with your eyes stuck in front of screens almost all the time, it is important to give them rest in between.
According to the National Institute of Health, numerous studies show computer users having reduced blink rate due to their excess screen time which may lead to dry eye syndrome.
When to see a doctor
The above-mentioned home remedies for dry eyes may work well on a temporary basis for you.
But if the symptoms persist for an unusually long time or get worse, seek help from a qualified medical eye professional.
The possible clinical treatments your doctor would suggest would be certain gels and ointments, eye drops or oral medications.
Dry eyes in particular is not a very big health problem if it is in the initial stages. But if you do not pay attention to the uncomfortable signs and symptoms, then it may lead to much worse conditions.
Ensure taking proper measures beforehand to prevent dry eyes in the first place itself. Be regular with a good diet and proper hydration and seek medical help whenever required.