Dry eyes is a medical condition in which the tear ducts do not produce enough tears. The eyes may be itchy and watery most of the time, but many sufferers shrug this off as sinuses due to allergies or a cold. Dry eyes may be due to changes in the weather, or certain working conditions (staring at a computer screen). Dry eyes often cause eyes to feel itchy, as well as symptoms of pain, redness, swelling, mucous, blurred vision, eye fatigue, and a feeling like something is in the eye or under the eyelid.
Thankfully, there are several home remedies to help treat dry eyes:
1. Use a warm compress
Leave the compress on for four or five minutes as you massage the eyes. This can be done several times during the day. After the massage, wash the eyelids with a mild soap or baby shampoo to remove all the dried mucous that usually accumulates in the eyes. This method may help reduce some of the symptoms of chronic dry eyes.
2. Omega 3 fatty acids
Eating food that contains fatty acids, or taking an omega 3 fatty acid supplement has been found to relieve the symptoms of dry eyes. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body, and will also reduce the inflammation from dry eyes causing better tear production, and a higher quality of natural tears. Eating nutrient rich foods like flaxseed, palm oil, soybean oil, sardines, tuna, salmon, and walnuts will provide much of the needed omega 3 fatty acids.
3. Castor oil drops
Using eye drops in the eyes can relieve the symptoms of dry eyes. Artificial teas are close to natural tears. Castor oil or other ointments will provide temporary relief and may contain preservatives. If the eyes have a negative reaction to this type of ointment, use a preservative free ointment instead. Gel eye ointments are usually thicker than eye drops, but they are designed to coat the eyeball which will provide a longer lasting relief from dryness. Castor oil and ointments are best used at bedtime because they can make the vision impaired. Drops are better to use during the day.
Simple ways to prevent dry eyes are to avoid being in places that have a lot of air movement such as being exposed to hair dryers and fans. Use a humidifier during the winter months because heating systems can cause the air in the home to dry out, thus, drying out the eyes. Other preventative measures are to stay away from cigarette smoke, and rest the eyes as often as possible.
Dry eyes happen to a lot of people, and is not just a condition that comes with aging. Only your eye care professional can determine if the symptoms you have are dry eyes.