Eye pain can be a debilitating and frustrating experience that can hinder your day-to-day activities. Let’s face it, we use our eyes to do just about everything. When our eyes hurt, it can drastically alter our mood and day. How to reduce eye pain becomes the focal point of our existence until the pain is resolved.
Because of the delicate nature of the eye and its vital importance, some are hesitant to use anything harsh or chemically laden to reduce eye pain. The good news is there are no less than ten fact-based natural ways you can relieve eye pain naturally. You may already have some of the items from this list on hand.
Let’s take a look at ten natural ways you can reduce pain in your eyes regardless of whether the pain is the result of pink eye, corneal abrasions, sinusitis, a sty, eye strain, dry eyes, or other common causes.
Ways to Reduce Eye Pain
1. Eye Exercises
Pained eyes caused by eye strain is fairly common. With the amount of time we spend staring at computer and cellphone screens, unless you are diligent about taking preventative measures, at some point most of us will deal with the eye pain that comes from eye strain. Eye exercises, sometimes called yogic eye exercises or eye yoga, offer a simple workout that will reduce eye pain.
A 2016 study showed(1) that participants who practiced eye exercises for just two days a week for eight weeks show significant improvement with a decrease in eye fatigue. Some of the stretches prescribe in eye yoga routines can bring immediate relief.
2. Warm or Cold Compresses
Using a warm or cold compress for eye pain can bring near instant relief. Both improve the blood circulation of the eye and can relieve eye strain by encouraging the eye to relax. If the pain in your eyes is due to eye strain or the pain leaves a hot sensation, using a cold compress may bring the most relief.
If the pain in your eyes is due to an infection or sty, you may want to use a warm compress. This will not only soothe but help draw out the sty by loosening what’s blocking the oil gland. You can soak a washcloth in warm or cold water and apply to your eyes for five minutes two to three times a day.
3. Breast Milk
If you’re a breastfeeding mom then you may have heard that breast milk can be used to treat pink eye. While there is some evidence to support this claim, the larger evidence points to this liquid gold being an effective treatment for dry eye syndrome. A 2016 study showed(2) that human breast milk prevented and reduced the damage caused by dry eye syndrome in mice.
There are no studies that support the claim that breast milk can cure any strain of bacteria or virus responsible for pink eye; however, a 2012 study by Baynham and colleagues acknowledged that human breast milk inhibited the growth of certain strains of bacteria.
Honey has been used for quite some time around the world for its healing abilities. It is the only edible substance that does not go bad or spoil. This is due in part to its rich antimicrobial properties. Jars of honey found sealed in ancient Egyptian tombs are still safe to eat today.
Honey has been proven to reduce inflammation and bacteria that can cause eye infections. It can also help reduce eye pain due to dry eyes. When using honey for pain in your eyes, do not use raw honey. You will want to dilute your honey until it has a runny, watery consistency. Use sterilized water to dilute it.
5. Cold Pressed Castor Oil
The antioxidants and fatty acids, ricinoleic acid particularly, in castor oil help to reduce irritation and swelling in the eyes. The rich thickness of this oil may leave you in doubt of its effectiveness at relieving pain in eyes, but anti-inflammatory components of castor oil can soothe dry irritated eyes(3) as well as bring relief for pained eyes associated with allergies.
Make sure that the castor oil you use for your eyes is pure, and preferably organic. You can apply one to two drops to the affected eye twice a day.
6. Water: Stay Hydrated
Dehydration could very well be at the root of the pain that develops in your eyes. When you don’t consume enough water all of your organs suffer, including your eyes. Some of the first symptoms of a body not properly hydrated will be dry eyes and mouth. Dehydration can cause your tear glands to not produce enough tears to keep your eyes moisturized, resulting in eye strain and irritation.
The suggested eight glasses of water a day may not be adequate for you, depending upon your weight and lifestyle. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, men should drink about 3.7 liters of water a day. This amounts to 15.5 cups. Women are recommended to drink 2.7 liters, or 11.5 cups per day.
Turmeric is another natural remedy commonly used in food that can bring relief to those suffering from pain in their eyes. Curcumin is the chemical in turmeric that makes it an inflammatory fighting powerhouse. Turmeric is also antimicrobial and capable of fighting eye infections.
A root that is ground into a fine golden powder, turmeric must be diluted with water before applying it to the eyes. Distilled or sterilized water will do. Just add a half a teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of water and apply twice daily by dropper or as an eyewash.
8. Green Tea Bags
Using a warm or cold green tea bag as a compress can give you a double benefit: the healing properties of green tea, and the soothing effects of a warm or cold compress. The potent polyphenol antioxidants in green tea are responsible for its anti-inflammatory effects. It can also help relieve eye pressure caused by glaucoma.
Green tea also contains caffeine, which can constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation and pain in eyes. To use green tea for pain in your eyes, dip your tea bags in warm or cold water and drain the excess fluid. Place the tea bags over your eyes and allow to sit for five to ten minutes. To reduce eye pain, you can repeat this process two to three times a day.
9. Aloe Vera Gel
It may not surprise you that Aloe Vera is not only beneficial for burns on the skin but can also help with painful eyes. This ancient and widely used succulent is famous for its beauty enhancing properties and ability to sooth almost instantly. The moisturizing and antimicrobial properties of Aloe Vera make it great for soothing irritated and inflamed eyes.
A 2012 study(4) showed that Aloe Vera was effective at treating inflammation and ailments associated with the external portion of the eye. When using Aloe Vera for painful eyes, use fresh whole leaf aloe and dilute it with a few drops of distilled water until it’s a runny consistency before applying to the eye.
10. Neti Pot and Essential Oils
Painful eyes are not always caused by strain or infection. Sometimes it can be caused by the excessive pressure of sinusitis. Clogged or inflamed sinus passages can result in a very distinct kind of eye strain that feels like an enormous pressure behind the eyes. Few over-the-counter pain medications can relieve this.
A neti pot is a nasal irrigation tool that helps clear blocked sinus passages and relieve sinus pressure. The neti pot uses sterile room temperature water and can be soothing to inflamed sinuses. Add essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, or tea tree to your neti pot solution to add antimicrobial benefits.
First, determine what is causing your eyes to hurt so that you can be better equipped to address it. Even if you’re unable to determine the root of your pain issue, most of the methods on this list will be beneficial.
You don’t have to suffer from eye pain or worry that there aren’t any viable natural methods to reduce it. The methods listed above are fact-based ways you can resolve your problem without resorting to conventional methods.
In fact, things like honey, turmeric, and breast milk have been used for hundreds of years to promote eye health. It is only now that we have scientific evidence to support these practices. Use one of the ten methods mentioned above today to help with your pain or combine a few methods listed here for additional relief.