Dry eyes. It is a very common condition, occurring when there is no adequate supply of tears from the lacrimal gland, which sits between the eyeball and eyelid. These glands produce the fluid necessary to lubricate the eyes.
Certain settings can produce dryness, such as an airplane flight, an air-conditioned space, riding a bike, walking, or running. Staring at a digital screen for an extended period can also cause dry eyes.
Symptoms of dry eyes include:
- blurred vision
- dry, scratchy, and painful sensation in one or both eyes
- eye fatigue
- feeling like something is in your eye
- sensitivity to light
- mucus in or around the eyes
According to Healthline, common factors contributing to dry eyes include aging, prescription medications, medical conditions, and the environment.
Traditionally, eye drops are used to moisten dry eyes and are considered “very safe,” according to WebMD. Additionally, eye drops may delay the onset of glaucoma and even help correct a lazy eye.
Some people really can’t stand the idea of putting anything in their eyes. Other people may have various reasons they can’t use eye drops. Don’t fret if eye drops aren’t an option.
Here are four natural ways to get rid of dry eyes:
1. Omega-3 Supplements
Research shows that augmenting your diet with omega-3 fatty acids can help alleviate (and possibly prevent) dry eyes. A study published in the International Journal of Ophthalmology involved 264 patients with dry eyes, who were randomly chosen to receive one 500-milligram capsule of omega-3s twice daily, or a placebo. A surprising 65 percent of participants in the omega-3 group – compared to 33 percent of patients in the placebo group – reported a “significant improvement” in symptoms after three months. “Omega-3 fatty acids have a definite role for dry eye syndrome,” the researchers conclude.
If you choose not to take omega-3s in capsules, you can also get those fatty acids naturally. Excellent food sources of omega-3s include anchovies, chia seeds, flaxseed, salmon, and sardines.
2. Modify the environment
As mentioned, environmental factors can play a role in developing dry eyes. In fact, the link between specific environments and dry eyes is so strong that experts sometimes refer to the resulting condition as Environmental Dry Eye Disease or EDED. EDED is caused by “pollutants and/or adverse climatic conditions.”
Protect your eyes by wearing the appropriate eye-wear when biking, motorcycling, skiing, and while working in dusty and dirty environments. Also, try to avoid areas where people smoke and stay inside during windy conditions. A good pair of sunglasses can also help, especially if you suffer from eye sensitivity due to dry eyes.
3. Give your eyes a break
You can logically infer that the leading cause of dryness is continued work in specific settings. You should take frequent breaks from any task that requires extended periods of visual concentration, such as reading, writing, using a smartphone or laptop, etc.
Close your eyes for a few minutes or blink to spread tears evenly over your eyes. Try never to go for more than twenty minutes gazing at a screen. If your work requires this, every 20 minutes, close your eyes for a full 20 seconds to give your eyes a rest. For a quick fix, you can also keep eye drops handy.