Preventing dry eye disease is better than having to treat it. Home remedies for dry eyes can help.

Dry eye disease affects up to 50% of adults worldwide, making it one of the most common eye diseases in the world. While it usually cannot be cured, there are plenty of treatments for it, including eye drops and antibiotics.

However, eye drops don’t help treat the underlying causes of dry eye disease. Antibiotics, meanwhile, may cause imbalances in the beneficial gut bacteria. This, in turn, can make dry eyes worse.

Mounting evidence suggests that dry eye disease is an inflammatory condition, and this closely links it to the health of the gut bacteria.

Following from this, prebiotics, probiotics, and certain functional foods may all help support a healthy gut microbiome and so act as potential home remedies for dry eyes.

There are a few other natural remedies for dry eyes you can try at home. Let’s take a closer look at them.

1. Eat More Omega-3 Foods

Consuming omega-3 fatty acids can provide relief for dry eyes for some patients. What’s more, a large-scale study concluded that women who ate the most omega-3 fatty acids from fish had a lower risk of dry eye disease.

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include cold-water fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel. Nuts and seeds, especially walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds, also have these acids.

Other sources include yogurt, soy milk, and eggs that have been fortified with omega-3.

fish oil capsules spilled from a white bottle on dark blue surface

The most beneficial omega-3 foods for dry eyes are those that have a high EPA to DHA ratio and high bioavailability. This means fatty fish and algal supplements. Plant-based sources are less effective.

If you’re not sure you’re getting enough omega-3 from your diet, you can take an omega-3 supplement such as fish oil or algal oil. It usually comes in the form of capsules that you take one or two a day.

2. Add a Humidifier to Your Home

Spending time in a dry, warm room can trigger dry eyes or make mild dry eyes worse. This happens because dry air increases the rate at which tears evaporate.

Symptoms may include itchy eyes, blurry vision, and swollen eyelids. These symptoms can be unpleasant enough to interfere with daily activities.

Air conditioning and heating systems may reduce the moisture content in the air. A humidifier will add moisture, helping to prevent dry eyes resulting from lack of humidity.

It can also soothe eyes that already feel dry. Even a small desk humidifier that you plug into your computer can help.

3. Take in More Eye Vitamins and Nutrients Through Food

Vitamins A, E, and D and the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin play a key role in eye health at any age. They support the normal functioning of the tear glands so that these can continue to produce enough quality tears. What’s more, they help support the health of ocular cells.

  • For more vitamin A: Eat sweet potatoes, winter squash, turnip greens, carrots, and raw sweet peppers. Animal-based food sources include beef liver, mackerel, salmon, bluefin tuna, and goat cheese.
  • For more vitamin E: Eat almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin, mango, avocado, and asparagus.
  • For more lutein and zeaxanthin: Some of the best sources include spinach, kale, green peas, egg yolks, kiwi, and grapes.
  • For more vitamin D: This vitamin is not commonly found in foods unless they have been fortified with it or, in the case of mushrooms, grown in the sun. Your body makes it if you expose yourself to the sun. Having a vitamin D supplement comes in handy in winter or on overcast days.

In addition to eating these foods, you can also take an eye health supplement like SightC that provides antioxidants and phytonutrients to help keep your eyes healthy.

Learn more about SightC.

4. Drink Plenty of Water During the Day

Staying hydrated makes it easier for your tear glands to produce enough tears. Aim for at least 8 cups of water.

But remember that your body also gets water from food and other drinks. You don’t have to overdrink water if you don’t feel thirsty.

Pay attention to the color of your urine. Dark urine is a sign of dehydration while very light-colored urine is a sign that you may be drinking too many liquids.

closeup of transparent glass of water with ice cubes and lemon slice floating on the surface

You also want to avoid alcohol, which causes dehydration. What’s more, research shows that drinking alcohol significantly increases the risk of dry eye syndrome.

Caffeine may also dehydrate you, if you take in more than 500 mg of coffee a day. This is the equivalent of 5 cups of brewed coffee.

Sports drinks or energy drinks may also pack a lot of caffeine, so if you drink them often, keep an eye on your caffeine intake.

5. Apply a Warm Compress

A warm compress is a simple dry eyes home remedy that can soothe your eyes. Its heat improves the function of the oil glands. It also reduces tear evaporation and stabilizes the tear film. And it just feels nice, especially if you’ve spent hours in front of a screen.

Depending on the severity of your dry eyes, you can apply a warm compress daily or less often. You can apply it at any time of day. Applying a warm compress on your eyes at nighttime can also be soothing.

Using warm compresses for dry eyes is easy. Fill a basin with hot water, soak a small towel in it, and wring out excess water. Then fold it and place it over your eyes. Keep it there for at least 5 minutes.

6. Use Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil is another dry eye natural remedy you can use at home. Applying it to your eyes can help reduce tear evaporation. It works by creating a protective layer over the tear film. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

glass jar with virgin coconut oil and silver spoon in it with violet blue flowers to the left and daisies on the right

A simple way to apply virgin coconut oil to dry eyes is to soak a cotton ball in the oil. Then close your eyelid and apply the ball on it. You can do this several times a day.

Use preferably organic virgin coconut oil. If the oil solidifies in the jar, you can make it liquid again by placing the jar in a saucepan and heating it until the water is simmering. Within a quarter of an hour, the oil should have melted.

7. Blink More Often

While not technically a remedy, blinking more deserves a mention because it encourages tears to flow to your eyes. It can help especially if you’re spending hours in front of screens every day.

It’s not just about how often you blink, but also about how complete your blinks are. Incomplete blinking has been associated with dry eye disease. It may obstruct the normal functioning of the tear glands and disrupt the tear film.

For a complete blink, your upper eyelids should touch your lower eyelids. You can also simply close your eyes for several seconds and repeat a few times to help the tear film become replenished and cover the entire surface of your eyes.

The Wrap Up

Dry eyes can be unpleasant, but there’s a lot you can do to soothe symptoms. And that goes beyond medical treatments to simple home remedies for dry eyes.

Whether you’ve recently developed dry eyes or have been living with dry eye disease for a time, try the simple home remedies above. Your eyes will feel better soon.

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