Many of us have eyes that are easily irritated and reddened from even the slightest provocation. You’ve tried those costly artificial tear drops that our GP or pharmacist recommends, but do they really work?
Dry eyes present with a number of symptoms. They start watering at the slightest exposure to smoke, light, and other environmental irritants.
- Having the feeling that there is a substance in your eyes
- Suffering from blurred vision after working on the computer or in the evening
- Frequent eye fatigue
- Formation of mucus in and around eyes
If you are suffering from all these symptoms, then chances are that you have the dry eye syndrome.
What causes it?
One of the primary reasons of being affected with this debilitating condition is the lack of natural tear formation in our eyes.
Tears are an essential blend of oil, mucus and water that our body produces to keep the eyes clean and protect it from foreign bodies.
- Quality: a problem in the chemical composition of tears could be one of the major reasons for a chronic dry eye.
- Quantity: there could also be a lack of aqueous (watery) tears, a condition better known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
- The reasons could also be as trivial as long working hours, viruses, or even problems concerning your eyelids.
- Dry eyes could also be a symptom of other chronic diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid imbalances, Vitamin deficiencies, and Diabetes.
- It can also be caused by recent laser eye surgery that hinders tear production.
- Excessive use of contact lenses can also lead to this condition.
- Some medications can also be the reason behind it. Medication for Blood Pressure, antidepressants, antihistamine and decongestants, etc. can be responsible.
Most over-the-counter dry eye treatments are not cheap, but neither are they particularly effective when it comes to permanently relieving the problem. They mostly reduce symptoms, which, more often than not, re-appear later.
Professional in-house treatments are your best bet, but if your symptoms are mild and you want to start with a more gentle approach, there are a number of alternative treatment methods available that can be effective. They are readily available, safe, and inexpensive.
So give the artificial tears a break and try these natural home remedies.
A Blueberry cousin, this shrub is known for its properties to ward off macular degeneration and retinal ailments. It is also a great remedy for irritable dry eyes. Extract of bilberry is known to increase oxygen absorption and blood circulation. This property helps your tear glands function better.
It is also a popular anti-inflammation and anti-swelling agent. You can add bilberry leaves to your tea, or have it in the form of supplements. Just keep a check to have 220mg every day.
You can prepare your own mint eyewash to get rid of irritable eyes. Add some mint leaves in a bowl of water and boil it for a while. Let it cool and then rinse your eyes with it. The menthol in the solution helps produce more tears and is also good for your eyes.
Chamomile is a famous tea ingredient. Chamomile leaves help you relax and restore essential moisture in your body. It also has important anti-inflammatory agents that make it a great ingredient to soothe eye inflammation.
There are many possible benefits of introducing Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet that range from effective prevention of blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. It is also very effective against dry eyes. They have anti-inflammatory properties and also help increase tear quality. Omega 3s can be consumed in the form of supplements or be introduced in diet. Ask us for our popular breakfast recipe, which contains 20g of omega-3 rich flax oil.
The consumption of probiotics in the form of supplementary capsules is also a natural remedy against eye irritation. Probiotics are good bacteria that enhance our natural body processes to keep us healthy.
Cucumber has very high moisture content. It is almost 97% water. Cucumbers can effectively cool and sooth inflamed eyes. Keep the cucumber in the fridge. Wash well before use and place cool cucumber slices on top of your eyes to reduce eye irritation.
Grate potatoes and apply them on your closed eyes before going to bed. Potato has high starch and moisture content. It also gives a cooling effect when applied to your eyes.
Turmeric is a very common Asian spice. It is a popular antibacterial disinfectant. It is known to be used against a number of ailments all over the continent. It is good for your skin and also your dry eye syndrome.
Add some warm almond milk with a teaspoon of turmeric, some cinnamon and a little clove. Add some raw honey to this mixture. Whisk lightly and enjoy as a bedtime drink!
Paprika is a natural ingredient to ward off dry eyes because of its high vitamin A content. Use paprika more often in your food to enjoy the benefits of the spice and treat your dry eyes.
This is one of the easiest solutions to better your dry eye syndrome. You will need to blink more often and more completely. Blinking restores moisture in your eyes and also clears the eye surface. That is why it is very important to blink if you want to keep your eyes clean and moist. Ask about our blink rehabilitation exercises.
You can use humidifiers to restore moisture in the air. If the air is too dry it might be hard to retain moisture in your eyes. Use humidifiers to keep a little moisture in the air and decongest your meibomian glands during the dry season to stop dry eyes.
Warm compresses are often prescribed for dry eyes, but as long as there is inflammation present, cold compresses can be a better option. A gel eye mask (available from pharmacies) kept in the freezer provides the most effective cold compress. Apply to closed eyes for up to 15 minutes once or twice a day.
Try these effective and affordable home remedies to soothe your dry eyes.
If problems persist, call The Eye Practice on (02) 9290 1899 or make an appointment online today.