As the term suggests, dry eyes describe the sensation you experience when your eyes are excessively dry – burning, redness, blurry vision, eye fatigue, and so on. The condition surfaces when the tear glands cannot produce enough tears to keep the eyes lubricated. In cases, the symptoms can be severe enough to cause pain. Dry eyes can be acute or chronic and may be caused by a variety of factors. Fortunately, it’s easy to cure the condition at home. Listed below are some of the most effective and simple home remedies for dry eyes.
Causes of Dry Eyes
The main causes of dry eyes can be broadly divided into two categories (1).
Decreased Tear Production:
- Aging and certain pre existing conditions like allergic eye disease, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, lupus, and Sjogren’s syndrome
- Nutritional deficiencies, specifically vitamin A deficiency
- The use of certain medications
- Contact lens use induced Corneal nerve desensitivity
Increased Tear Evaporation:
- Blocked meibomian glands or posterior blepharitis (reduced oil production leads to faster tear evaporation)
- Reduced blinking which is associated with the onset of diseases like Parkinson’s disease.
- Eyelid problems, wherein they turn outward or inward
- Eye allergies and vitamin A deficiency
- Exposure to preservatives in some eye drops
- Environmental conditions like smoke and dry air
Dry Eye Treatment at Home
OTC eye drops to lubricate the eyes are the most obvious choice of home treatment for dry eyes. Inexpensive and safe, artificial tears can provide quick relief from the problem. Artificial tears need to be used regularly when dealing with chronic dry eyes. Try to use drops that are free of preservatives as preservative drops may aggravate symptoms.
A viable alternative to tear drops, ointments must also be considered when you look for a cure for dry eyes. They can provide longer lasting relief but they aren’t as convenient or comfortable. As they are thicker than liquid eye drops they can be messy and can also cloud vision after being applied.
Vitamin A and Omega 3 supplements can also be used to treat dry eyes, but will need to be taken consistently. Studies suggest that higher dietary intake of more omega-3 fatty acids can relieve dry eye symptoms due to anti-inflammatory effects (2). This allows improved tear production.
More importantly, supplementation with carotenoid pigments like lutein and zeaxanthin has been shown to lower the risk of various eye diseases (3). So, in addition to protecting against dry eyes, these nutrients also protect against the risk of macular degeneration.
Dry Eyes Remedies
- Avoid irritants should be a no-brainer. Before using any other treatment, try to avoid or limit exposure to conditions that cause dry eyes. This means avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke and dry windy air.
- Protect your eyes from the elements by using high quality eyewear when you are outdoors, especially when traveling on bikes.
- In addition to nutritional supplements that correct dry eye associated deficiencies, consider taking multivitamin supplements that are known to promote vision. Supplements for eye health should include carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin (4).
- Indoor heating and cooling systems can cause excessive dryness, which can trigger dry eyes. To counter this risk and treat or prevent dry eyes simply install a humidifier in your room.
- Warm compresses can be applied over the eyelids to help unclog blocked oil glands and tear ducts.
- Give your eyes adequate rest. While there’s no proof that reading and watching screens actually causes eye damage, eye strain from these habits is known to increase dryness of the eyes.
If your symptoms are severe or if the condition does not respond to home treatments make sure to consult your doctor. Physicians can prescribe medications to reduce eyelid inflammation, eyedrops to relieve cornea inflammation, tear-stimulating medications, and eye inserts. Your doctor will also be able to diagnose and treat any other underlying condition that could be responsible for dry eyes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can dry eyes cause blindness?
If left untreated, dry eyes may cause severe damage to the cornea which may lead to eye inflammation, corneal ulcers, abrasion of the corneal surface and even vision loss.
What is a good vitamin for dry eyes?
Along with omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins B6, B12, C and E may help relieve the symptoms of dry eyes.
Does drinking water help dry eyes?
Keeping the body hydrated can help your overall health and it may even prevent, or minimize the chances of dry eyes.
Does dry eyes go away?
Dry eyes can either be temporary or chronic. Temporary dry eyes can be treated. However, the symptoms of a chronic condition may get better or worse, but may never go away. The condition can be managed with a healthy diet and supplements to support the diet. Setu’s Eye Max and Lutein & Zeaxanthin are known for supporting eye health, moisturizing the eyes and preventing such eye diseases.