If your eyes feel gritty like they have sand stuck inside them, appear red, burn, and/or sting, then you could have dry eyes. Dry eyes occur when the tiny glands within and around the eyelids don’t produce enough tears to keep the eyes healthy and your vision clear. Healthy tears, which are produced by eyes, keep the surface of the eye hydrated, comfortable, and smooth, washing away debris and dust and protecting them from infection.
However, factors such as age, medications, and certain diseases tend to result in the eyes producing fewer tears. A person can experience dry eyes when the eyes do not produce the right kind of tears for clearing out dust/debris particles or keeping the surface well-lubricated. While there are cases wherein the doctor might have to treat underlying diseases or issues for helping your eyes produce tears, there are also some natural home remedies for dry eyes that one can follow to find relief.
- Warm compresses
Tears are made of mucus, water, and oil, all of which the eyes require for staying healthy and moist. Flaky, inflamed eyelids could end up clogging the oil-producing glands along the eyelid’s edge, resulting in dry eyes. To help loosen the clogged oils and ease the irritation, take a clean washcloth, wet it with warm water and wring it before placing it over your closed eyes for a minute. After that, gently press the eyelid’s edge with your finger for squeezing out the clogged oils. The heat and the moisture helps loosen up the glands that are clogged with oils. Warm compresses done every day also help lessen inflammation, long after your eyes feel better.
- Wash crusty lashes
Crusty lashes need to be cleaned. Cleaning out the eyelids and the surrounding hair and skin helps get rid of any eyelid inflammation. For helping the process along, take a bit of mild soap or baby shampoo on your fingertips and gently massage them on your closed eyes near the base of the eyelashes.
- Blink more
If you have a job where you have to sit and stare at a computer, then that tends to curb the number of times that you blink every minute. So, you need to blink often when you are in front of the computer. Try and follow the 20/20 rule – close your eyes for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Another simple trick for keeping your eyes moist when you use a computer is to set the screen below the eye level. This will allow you to see the screen more naturally without having to widen your eyes, helping the tear evaporation between blinks to slow down.
- Eat naturally oily fish
Fish such as mackerel, trout, sardines, tuna, and salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids. According to research, the healthy fat content in fish help the glands that produce oil in the eyes work better, which helps ease irritation. Other food items naturally rich in omega-3 fats include flaxseed, vegetable oils such as soybean oil and canola oil, and walnuts. You can also take omega-3 fatty acids in the form of supplements. Make sure you consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
Apart from the above, staying hydrated, using filters and humidifiers, and wearing wraparound sunglasses are some options to prevent dry eyes.