For most people, having dry eyes doesn’t sound very serious. But it’s surprising to realize how serious having dry eyes can be.
Tears contain a mixture of oils (for lubrication), antibodies (to prevent infection), proteins, mucus, and water (to provide moisture). When the glands that produce tears aren’t working properly, the result is dry eyes. Those who have dry eyes might experience pain, burning, itchiness, redness, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision. And those with dry eyes often feel like there’s something gritty, like sand, in their eyes.
Lots of things can cause dry eyes.
• Tears that, for whatever reason, don’t contain enough water, oil, or mucus.
• A deficiency in tear production.
• Certain medications, like decongestants, tranquilizers, antihistamines, and birth control pills.
• Cigarette smoke.
• Drinking alcohol.
• Environmental factors, like harsh winds, pollution, or indoor air conditioning.
• Other things, like rheumatoid arthritis, allergies and menopause, can also cause dry eyes.
Use Artificial Tears to Sooth Dry Eyes
Artificial tears, which are designed to be close to real tears, can soothe dry eyes. They can also be used several times a day.
Artificial tears can be bought over-the-counter. But, remember, artificial tears that contain preservatives can damage your eyes. So only use artificial tears if it says on the box that they are “preservative-free” or “nonpreserved.”
Those with dry eyes should keep artificial tears with them at all times, and use them whenever necessary.
Avoid medicated eye drops. They are meant to treat redness, and really do nothing for dry eyes.
Use Tear-Replacement Ointments at Night
If you tend to wake up in the morning with dry eyes, consider using an over-the-counter tear-replacement ointment before going to bed. The ointment will keep your eyes from drying out while you sleep.
Try Warm Compresses on Your Dry Eyes
A warm compress can unclog the oil producing glands in your eyelids, which will help soothe dry eyes. Wet a washcloth with warm water, ring it out, and then place it over your eyes for five to ten minutes. You should do this several times a day, especially after you first wake up in the morning.
Protect Your Dry Eyes When Outside
The sun and wind can both cause dry eyes. So, if you’re going outside on a sunny or windy day, you should wear sunglasses or goggles.
Use a Humidifier to Prevent Dry Eyes
If the air in your house lacks moisture (which can happen when an indoor heating system is in use), this can cause dry eyes. Using humidifiers, especially in rooms where you spend a lot of time, can help. You should also have a humidifier in your bedroom, to keep your eyes from drying out when you’re sleeping.
If possible, you should have a humidifier in your office, too.
Keep Air Away From Your Dry Eyes
When in the car, make sure the air vents are turned away from your face. Blasts of air, whether from the heater or air conditioner, will only make dry eyes worse.
The same is true of the air from your hair dryer. When blow drying your hair, try to direct the air away from your face. If you find your dry eyes are worse after blow drying, use artificial tears before and after drying your hair.
Even fans, whether ceiling fans or oscillating fans, can worsen dry eyes. So you might want to think about not using fans, or using them on a lower setting.
Take Breaks, and Blink Your Dry Eyes
If you frequently suffer from dry eyes when reading or using the computer, take breaks. Stop reading, or look away from the computer monitor, for a few minutes. And blink several times to spread tears over the surface of your eyes.
No matter what is causing your dry eyes, these home remedies will bring you quick relief.