- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Natural Remedies for Dry Eyes
Your eyes need tears to stay in optimal health. Tears ensure that the eyes do not have any debris and also decrease the risk of infections. Inadequate sleep, an erroneous diet, changes in the hormonal profile and exposure to irritants lessen the eye's natural lubrication.
The eye is a very delicate organ in the body. Tears comprise of water, oil, mucus, antibodies and protein, lubricate our eyes. Tears are manufactured in glands around the eyes; a trouble in any segment of tear synthesis causes the eyes to become dry, gritty, red or irritated eyes.
Dry eye is a disorder wherein you do not have adequate quality tears to moisten and nourish the eyes. Tears are very essential to maintain the health of the frontal surface of the eye and to proffer clear vision.
When you blink, tears spread across the front of the eye. They give lubrication, decrease the risk of eye infection, sluice of foreign matter and ensure that the surface of the eye is smooth and clear. Dry eye occurs when the synthesis of tears and their drainage get imbalanced.
Chronic Dry Eye or Dry Eye Syndrome
This condition is medically termed - keratoconjunctivitis sicca. The patient complains of – dry, red, gritty, inflamed, scratchy and burning eyes with blurring of vision.
Dry Eye Symptoms
Dry eyes manifest as:
- Eyes are red
- Dryness in the eyes
- Burning and scratching in the eyes
- Stringy mucus around the eyes
- Sensation of something in the eyes
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Blurring of vision
- Eye fatigue
Dry Eyes are Characterized by Redness, Itching, Dryness and Burning
Dry Eye Causes
- Aging: With age, the production of tears reduces. When inadequate tears are synthesized, the eyes get irritated and inflamed.
- Allergies: Allergens such as – pollen, dust mites, dander, mold, certain foods and household chemicals are responsible for dry itchy eyes.
- Medications: Certain medicines prescribed by your doctor for some other health condition can cause an adverse effect of diminished tear synthesis. Certain antihistamines, antidepressants, birth control pills, sleeping pills, diuretics and opiates, are known to set off dry eyes.
- Environmental Factors: Dry weather, sun, wind, high altitude and pollution unfavourably affect the eyes too.
- Immune System Disorders: Defects in the immune mechanism, such as Sjogren’s syndrome is an important cause. Sjogren’s syndrome is typified by WBCs erroneously attacking the moisture-manufacturing glands, triggering inflammation and reduced tear synthesis. Also, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can cause dry eyes.
Eye Drops for Dry Eyes
· Artificial Tears: Confer with your ophthalmologist and start using artificial tears to lubricate your eyes. Make sure that you opt for eye drops which do not contain preservatives, since preservatives further irritate the eyes.
· Viscous Tears: Some brands of eye drops are more viscous; consequently, they remain in the eyes longer. However, these eye drops can cause your vision to get blurry for 20 to 30 minutes. Discuss with your health care provider to understand what is best for you.
· Anti-Inflammatory Eye Drops: Cyclosporine is available in a prescription anti-inflammatory, and helps deal with the problem satisfactorily.
· Steroidal Eye Drops: Steroid drops are prescribed for chronic dry eye in case other treatment options fail to allay the symptoms. These need to be used very cautiously and strictly under the guidance of the doctor.
Dry Eye Treatment
Follow these guidelines to decrease the symptoms of dry eyes:
- Make sure that you blink regularly, especially, whilst reading or working at a computer for protracted intervals of time.
- Increase the humidity in the air.
- When outdoors ensure that you always wear sunglasses.
- Essential fatty acids supplements reduce the dry eye symptoms in most people. Confer with your health care provider and start supplementation.
- Make sure you are consuming 12 glasses of water daily.
Dry Eye Relief
Drinking plenty of water provides immense relief. Dry eyes are an indication that your body is dehydrated. You need to drink a minimum of 12 glasses of water per day to obtain relief from dry eyes, more so, if you consume diuretics such as caffeinated beverages. Sufficient water is vital for our body systems to function and necessary for our eyes to produce tears.
Ensure that you Consume 12 to 15 glasses of water daily
Dry Eye Medications
- Eye Inserts: In case artificial tears do not provide relief, you can opt for an eye insert. You place the hydroxypropyl cellulose between the eyeball and lower eyelid. It dissolves slowly, and releases a substance which is used in eye drops to moisten the eyes.
- Tear-stimulating medicines: Cholinergics increase tear manufacture.
- Autologous blood serum drops: They are made from your own blood and are used in very severe cases which do not respond at all to any other treatment. A sample of your blood is processed to eliminate the RBCs and mixed with a salt solution.
Natural Remedies for Dry Eyes
- Flaxseed Oil: Experts recommend a daily dose of 2,000 mg of omega-3-rich flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil is available as capsules, never apply to the eye.
- Chrysanthemums: Chrysanthemums tea helps detoxify your body of the toxins and consequently deal with dry eye. Chrysanthemum tea is made from its flowers.
- Evening Primrose Oil: The seeds of the evening primrose are loaded with lineolic acid, a fatty acid which the body does not synthesize. A daily dose of 500 mg can provide significant improvement.
- Eyebright: Eyebright or Euphrasia can be used as an external wash for the eyes or as an infusion. Euphrasia eye drops are available at most pharmacies as well.
- Honey: Honey has been touted as being more effective than most eye drops. Instil a drop of honey in each eye daily and leave on for 10 minutes.
Supplements for Dry Eyes
- Omega-3 fatty acid supplement: Is known to stimulate the manufacture of tears as well as decrease inflammation in the Meibomian glands.
- Vitamin A: An insufficiency of vitamin A results in xeropthalmia or dry eye. Confer with your health care provider / ophthalmologist and start vitamin A supplementation.
- Glucosamine: is decidedly beneficial in the treatment of dry eye syndrome, more so when in association with arthritis.