Dry eyes affect everyone from time to time. Most often, they can be treated with home remedies, such as lubricating eye drops, warm compresses, environmental changes, and resting your eyes.
How Common Are Dry Eyes?
Dry eyes occur when your eyes do not produce enough tears to lubricate the eye. Millions of people are affected by dry eyes each year.
Dry eyes are usually not indicative of a serious medical issue, but they can be uncomfortable and negatively impact your vision.
Home Remedies for Dry Eyes
There are many home remedies that you can implement in order to manage symptoms of dry eyes. Here are some of them:
Good eye hygiene can help to alleviate eye dryness, particularly if irritants around the eyes are irritating them. Keeping your eyelids clean can induce tear production and increase the quality of your tears.
Baby shampoo works well for this purpose. Try rubbing a small amount between your fingers until a lather forms. Then, close your eyes and begin massaging at the base of your eyelids, close to your eyelashes. Rinse with warm water with your eyes shut.
Johnson’s Baby Shampoo is a popular and highly rated product, and it costs between $3 and $5.
Coconut oil may be an effective remedy for dry eyes because it creates a layer of protective tear film over the eyes. This layer can reduce the evaporation of tears that are produced.
Coconut oil also contains a range of other properties that are beneficial to your health. It has these properties:
Virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil works best, and it costs between $10 and $20, depending on the brand and quality. Soak a tissue or cotton ball in virgin coconut oil and apply it to your eyelid while keeping your eye closed. Do this multiple times each day until your symptoms improve.
What you eat and drink can affect your tear production and the severity of eye dryness. Here are some of the dietary changes you may consider if you experience dry eyes on a regular basis:
- Increase consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids. A lack of essential fatty acids is one cause of dry eyes. Consuming these fatty acids, commonly found in fish and seafood, can help to stimulate tear production and lead to more complete lubrication of your eyes.
- Increase caffeine intake. While caffeine is a diuretic and commonly linked with dehydration, it can also increase the production of tears and may be a temporary solution to dry eyes.
- Increase fluid intake. Dehydration can result in dryness in the eyes. Make sure to consume at least 64 fluid ounces of water every day to ensure you are adequately hydrated.
Your environment can be a cause of dry eyes. The following environmental factors may increase the risk of dry eyes:
- Arid climates, such as the desert
- Very hot climates
- High altitudes
- Areas where there are high amounts of wind or dust
- Heavy smoke
- Air-borne toxins, chemicals, or pollutants
- High levels of UV radiation
If you have these in your environment, they may exacerbate your eye dryness. Attempt to limit exposure as much as possible. For example, wear eye protection when outdoors and consider an air purifier in your home or office.
The application of a warm compress to the eye with gentle pressure generates heat and induces circulation to the eye, which will stimulate the production of tears.
Additionally, a warm compress can provide relief from pain and itchiness via the release of oils that have accumulated around the eyes. A steam mask offers additional relief, and costs approximately $2 to $5.
Eyewear & Protection
If you live or work in any of the environments mentioned above and cannot modify your environmental circumstances, it is essential to wear proper eye protection to prevent dryness of your eyes. Always wear UV-blocking sunglasses if you are exposed to high amounts of sunlight or radiation.
Wear protective eyewear if you work in an area in which there is a chance that heavy dust, pollutants, chemicals, or toxins are in the air. Some jobs and activities in which there may be a high risk of airborne pollutants and toxins include the following:
- Laboratory work
- Air traffic control
When to Talk to Your Doctor
Dry eyes are common, and not usually a significant health threat, but they may be indicative of an underlying medical issue. Make sure to see your doctor if you have tried these home remedies and your symptoms do not go away after two to three days.
Also, see your doctor if your dry eyes are accompanied by any of the following:
- Significant pain
- Swelling and redness
- Vision impairment or blurred vision
- Loss of vision
There are many potential causes of eye dryness, so it is likely that you will need to implement two or more of the recommended strategies to address the issue. Here are some additional things to consider if you are experiencing dryness in your eyes:
- Reduce your consumption of alcohol. Alcohol causes dehydration and can induce inflammation, both of which may contribute to dryness in the eyes.
- Quit smoking. Smoking increases the risk of dry eye syndrome twofold. Additionally, cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals that can all irritate your eyes. If you are not a smoker and suffer from dry eye syndrome, make sure to avoid situations and environments in which you may be exposed to heavy tobacco smoke, such as some bars, gambling establishments, cigar clubs, and casinos.
Don’t rub your eyes. Your hands may contain bacteria and other potentially harmful agents that can induce dryness in the eyes. Rubbing your eyes will likely only increase itchiness and redness in the eyes. Place a damp cloth over your eyes instead.
Dry Eye. (April 2022). National Eye Institute.
Shampoo Johnson’s Baby 200 ml. (2023). Walmart.
Steambase, Steam Eye Mask, Rose Garden, 1 Mask. (January 2023). iHerb.
Caffeine Intake Not Associated with Dry Eye. (February 2022). Review of Optometry.
Modern Approach to the Treatment of Dry Eye, a Complex Multifactorial Disease: A P.I.C.A.S.S.O. Board Review. (March 2021). British Journal of Ophthalmology.
Last Updated February 2, 2023
Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.