Tears aren’t just produced when crying – they’re made constantly and used by the eye as a lubricant. When there aren’t enough tears to keep the eye moist, the result is dry eyes. Unpleasant and uncomfortable, dry eyes can severely impact your ability to function. Despite this, most people would prefer to skip the doctor’s visit and prescription eye drops in favor of treating dry eyes at home. Here are the 12 best home remedies for dry eyes.
Give our home remedies for dry eyes a try and get some relief!
1. Castor Oil Drops
Castor oil is one of the most popular home remedies for dry eyes because it not only increases tear production, it also relieves symptoms of dry eyes such as itching and burning. Several studies have shown that not only is castor oil safe for treating dry eyes, it may even work better than prescription eye drops.
- Purchase a dropper bottle of castor oil. Make sure to get organic castor oil that is free of hexanes and is pure (not mixed with other ingredients).
- Using the dropper, place one drop of castor oil in each eye.
- Blink to allow the castor oil to distribute itself across the eye.
- Use the castor oil drops twice a day to combat dry eyes.
2. Wash with Baby Shampoo
A gentle eyelid massage with baby shampoo can help release oil from the eyelids, providing immediate relief. This is best used in conjunction with one of the other home remedies for dry eyes as it may not provide the longest-lasting benefits unless performed multiple times a day.
- Squeeze a small amount of eye-safe baby shampoo onto your clean hands.
- Gently close your eyes and begin massaging the baby shampoo onto your eyelids.
- Take care not to rub or pull at the fragile eyelid skin to prevent irritation.
- Use a very light circular motion with one or two fingertips for one or two minutes, focusing on the area just above your eyelashes.
- Resist the urge to open your eyes, although baby shampoo is safe for eyes, it’s better to avoid getting it in your already irritated eyes.
- Rinse the shampoo fully from your eyelids with warm water when done. Make sure all the shampoo is rinsed off.
- Pat your eyelids dry with a clean, soft cloth.
Cucumber eye treatments are typically associated with relaxing spas, but they are also incredibly useful for dry eyes. Cucumbers contain a lot of moisture and the slices can absorb toxins from your eyelids, providing rejuvenating effects and giving your eyes some much-needed hydration. Cucumber is also useful for when you want to get rid of puffy eyes naturally.
- Wash an organic cucumber and cut two slices about 1/4″ thick.
- Place the cucumber slices in the fridge and let them cool. This may not be necessary if the cucumber has already been stored in the fridge.
- Lie down and place the cucumber slices on your eyes.
- Leave the cucumber on your eyes for half an hour, then remove and discard.
- Repeat at least twice a day.
4. Run a Humidifier
If you’re prone to getting dry eyes in the winter, it may be because the air is too dry. Heating systems can cause low humidity levels in the home. Air that is too dry will cause tears to evaporate before they can fully lubricate the eye. Because of this, one of the best home remedies for dry eyes is to increase the humidity in your home with a humidifier.
- Use a humidifier if the humidity in your home is below 45%. You can install a whole-house humidifier or set up a portable one in your most-used rooms.
- Allow the humidifier to run, remembering to clean and refill the tank when it empties.
- Those with allergies or severe dry eyes may wish to use a HEPA humidifier to purify the air simultaneously.
5. Warm Compress
If your eyes are not producing enough tears, you can improve the quality of the existing ones by using a warm compress. Eyelids produce oil which, when combined with tears, increases their ability to lubricate without evaporating. A warm compress will encourage oil production and release, making it one of the more immediately effective home remedies for dry eyes.
- Soak a clean washcloth in warm water (about 110 degrees F).
- Wring out the washcloth so it is damp but not dripping.
- Fold the washcloth and place it over your gently closed eyes so that it is touching your eyelids.
- Leave the washcloth in place for up to 10 minutes. Sit in a warm area with little air movement to help the washcloth retain its moisture and temperature.
- Remove the washcloth and gently dry your face when done.
- Pat your eyelids very gently with a soft, clean cloth.
6. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is commonly used as a moisturizer and as a salve for burns and cuts due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties. When used carefully, it’s one of the best natural home remedies for dry eyes. If you have an aloe vera plant in your home, you can easily utilize it to soothe your dry eyes.
- Snip off part of an aloe vera leaf.
- Rinse the leaf and squeeze the gel onto your clean fingers or a tissue.
- Apply the aloe vera gel gently to your eyelids. Avoid rubbing motions or hard pressure. Take extra care to avoid getting the gel in your eyes as this may cause irritation.
- Leave the aloe vera gel on your eyelids for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, rinse the gel residue from your eyelids with warm water.
- Repeat 2-3 times a day.
7. Coconut Oil Compress
Coconut oil is similar to castor oil in that it can stop dry eyes. However, it is best used as a compress rather than directly in the eyes. As the coconut oil is absorbed through the eyelids, it forms a protective layer to help reduce tear evaporation and inflammation caused by dry eyes.
- Warm up the coconut oil, but do not overheat.
- Submerge two cotton balls in the coconut oil once it has liquefied, let the cotton balls absorb the coconut oil.
- Lie down in a warm location with still air and place an oil-soaked cotton ball on each of your closed eyelids.
- Leave the cotton balls on the eyes for 15 minutes.
- Discard the cotton balls. You may wish to rinse gently with warm water and baby shampoo if there is any oil left.
- Repeat twice a day or as desired for relief.
8. Avoid Wind
Wind is the enemy of eyes everywhere. Not only does rapid air movement encourage tear evaporation, it can also blow particles of dust and dirt into your eyes, causing further irritation. You can’t control the weather, but you can protect your eyes from damaging winds both in and out of your home.
- Turn off any unnecessary fans in your home. If they need to be on, angle them away from you so air is not blown towards your eyes.
- Try to stay away from air conditioners and hair dryers, which blow very dry air with great intensity.
- Protect your eyes outside during the day, use wraparound sunglasses that cover your entire eye area. At night, try to stay in windproof areas or wear a pair of lightweight goggles if you must be out in the wind.
9. Rose Water
Dry eyes are sometimes linked to a Vitamin A deficiency. Pure rose water contains high amounts of vitamin A and other compounds that help relax and soothe tired, irritated eyes. This makes rose water one of the most beneficial home remedies for dry eyes. It can be used either as a compress or dropped directly into the eyes.
- Dip two cotton balls in pure rose water.
- Close your eyes and place one cotton ball on each eye.
- Leave the cotton balls on your eyes for 10-15 minutes.
- Or using a dropper, place two or three drops of pure rose water in each eye, then blink to distribute.
- Repeat 2-4 times per day as needed, for either of the remedies.
10. Take Frequent Computer Breaks
People blink less when looking at screens, including computers, smartphones, tablets, and televisions. When using any of these for an extended period of time, tear production can decrease, resulting in dry eyes. One of the most useful home remedies for dry eyes is taking technology breaks following the “20-20-20” rule, explained below.
- Stop and look away after 20 minutes of looking at a computer screen, smartphone or similar screen.
- Pick an object at least 20 feet away from you. You may wish to measure out the distance and place a special object at the 20-foot marker to make it easier for you.
- Look at the object for at least 20 seconds, maintaining your focus on it. Don’t look back at your screen or at any closer objects; your focus should be at least 20 feet away.
- Repeat this process every 20 minutes to relieve both dry eyes and eye strain from computer use.
11. Green Tea
Green tea contains many vitamins and antioxidants that can be absorbed by the eyes to combat inflammation and itchiness. Any organic green tea bags will work, and can even be used after your dry eyes are cured to promote overall eye and skin health.
- Place 2 or 3 organic green tea bags in a cup of hot water.
- Allow them to steep for 5 minutes.
- Soak 2 cotton balls in the tea and place one on each eye.
- Leave the cotton balls on your eyes for 5-10 minutes.
- Repeat 2-3 times a day.
Proper fatty acid levels are necessary for optimal tear production. Fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids, are often lacking in the modern diet. Though this is not one of the home remedies for dry eyes that can provide immediate results, studies have shown that over the long term, increasing the amount of omega-3s in your diet can greatly reduce the occurrence and severity of dry eyes.
- Begin incorporating foods that are high in omega-3s into your diet. Fish is the most common choice, but there are many other options as well. Various nuts and seeds, including walnuts, almonds, chia seeds and sesame seeds, are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Take an omega-3 supplement if these foods are not available, but you should consult a doctor before taking any nutritional supplement to ensure proper dosage.
Itchy, burning eyes will be a thing of the past thanks to these home remedies for dry eyes. Common household ingredients, when used carefully, can provide fantastic relief. If you have other symptoms or if your dry eyes do not improve within a few days of trying these remedies, professional medical advice should be sought. For most mild cases, however, one of these home remedies should get you right back to normal. Which one is your favorite? Are there any others you’ve tried? Let us know below!