Almost everyone has felt the uncomfortable feeling of having dry eyes before.
Itchiness, inflammation, redness, and blurred vision are all common symptoms of dry eyes that can not only be painful but also disrupt our daily functions. If this is happening to you, there are simple home remedies for dry eyes that you can try.
Here, we’ll explore a few of them and get to the root of why you may be experiencing dry eyes in the first place.
Why are my eyes so dry?
There are a number of reasons why your eyes may feel dry. It may be because you’ve been staring at a screen for too long without blinking.
Or, it may be because you have dry eye — a condition that affects nearly 16 million Americans. Dry eye affects the glands above your eyes that produce tears. Dry eye can also occur when the tears your glands do produce dry up to quickly, which could be a result of your environment.
What causes dry eyes?
According to the National Eye Institute, dry eye occurs when your eyes don’t make enough tears to stay wet, or when your tears don’t work correctly.
Certain factors can put you at risk of developing dry eye syndrome, such as taking certain medications for depression, high blood pressure, or the common cold. Additionally, diabetes, thyroid problems, and autoimmune disorders like lupus or Sjögren syndrome can cause dry eye.
Still, these aren’t the only causes. You may be experiencing dry eye for any of the following reasons:
- Laser eye surgery
- Wind or smoke
- A dry environment
- Looking at a screen for too long
- Wearing contact lenses
- Nutritional deficiencies
Dry eye also affects women more than men and those over age 50 are particularly vulnerable. This is because as we age, our bodies have to work harder to produce the same amount of tears.
Dry eyes symptoms
Dry eyes can be quite uncomfortable. Symptoms of dry eyes include:
- A dry or scratchy feeling
- Blurry vision
- Red eyes
- Sensitivity to light
The good news is that dry eyes can be temporary. If you address the cause and seek relief in the following ways, you can be free from the itchy, burning, or sensitive feeling soon.
Home remedies for dry eyes
To relieve dry eyes, try any or all of the following remedies. The more you use, the more you can not only experience relief but also help prevent dry eyes from occurring in the future.
1. Dry eye drops
Eye drops are one of the quickest ways to relieve dry eyes in the moment. They provide the wetness your eyes need that they aren’t getting from tears.
In most cases, over-the-counter eye drops are sufficient. However, depending on the severity of your dry eye, you may need medicated eye drops. Prescription eye drops are available for those who experience dry eye chronically. Typically, this is because your glands aren’t producing enough tears. If this is the case, your doctor may prescribe cyclosporine (Restasis) or lifitegrast (Xiidra) to help you produce more tears.
2. Vitamins for dry eyes
As we mentioned above, one of the causes of dry eyes is nutritional deficiencies. For example, vitamin A deficiency is associated with a whole host of eye problems, including dry eye. While it won’t remedy the situation immediately, taking vitamins for dry eyes, such as vitamin D, A, and B12, can reduce your risk of developing dry eye.
In one study, vitamin D supplementation improved symptoms of dry eye after just two weeks. Other studies have shown that a B12 deficiency is associated with severe dry eye and that the combination of vitamin B12 supplements and artificial tears improved symptoms.
As with any supplements, it’s important to discuss taking them with your doctor or pharmacist first, to ensure they are right for you and won’t interfere with other medications.
You don’t necessarily have to take supplements to attain these crucial vitamins. Vitamin A is found in a variety of foods, such as leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, mangos, and eggs. You can also get ample amounts of vitamin D simply by stepping outside in the sunshine for 15 minutes a day. For vitamin B12, look to nutrient-rich foods such as salmon, yogurt, eggs, and clams.
Water makes up most of our bodies, and without it, our cells can’t function as they should. If you have dry eye, you may be able to relieve the symptoms by simply increasing your intake of water.
4. Shift your focus
Many of us are guilty of staring at a screen for too long, and for those of us who get dry eye because of it, simple tricks can help. First, alter the position of your screen slightly downward so that your eyes don’t have to open as wide to view it. Second, take regular breaks from looking at the screen. If you need to, set a timer to remind yourself to look away from the screen every 20 minutes. By diverting your attention away from the screen and letting your vision roam the room, you can give your eyes rest.
5. Increase the humidity in your environment
Another relatively easy way to remedy dry eyes is to increase the humidity in your environment. Running a humidifier is a great way to do this, but having live plants can help as well. Avoid things that make the air in your space drier, such as running the heater or air conditioner.
When to see your doctor
Dry eyes can be a product of your environment but they can also be the result of an underlying health condition. Additionally, if chronic dry eye goes untreated, it can cause damage to your cornea. For these reasons, it’s important to see your doctor if you experience dry eyes much of the time or if the symptoms interfere with your daily activities. If these simple home remedies for dry eyes don’t work, your doctor can also recommend a prescription treatment.
If you already have a prescription for dry eye, transfer it to NowRx and have it delivered to your door in hours. Because you shouldn’t have to wait for relief.