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Did you know Oct. 12, 2017 is World Sight Day? The event is designed to attract global attention to blindness prevention, vision impairment, and other eyesight issues. One increasingly common ailment that now affects more than 25 million Americans: dry eye syndrome. Stinging eyes, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and eye fatigue are just some of the uncomfortable symptoms. Fortunately, there are natural dry eye treatment options that can help.
Simply put, people with dry eyes don’t produce enough tears, or they produce poor-quality tears, so their eyes don’t stay properly moisturized. The result is irritation and discomfort in the eyes.
While prescription medications (which sometimes include chemotherapy drugs) bring some people relief, they can have serious side effects and can cause more harm than good. Instead, look to these natural dry eye treatment options, which are effective, safe, and easy to do at home.
Simply adjusting a few habits and taking all-natural supplements can make a world of difference if you suffer from dry eye syndrome. Start by making sure you’re drinking plenty of water daily. Then, add an omega-3 supplement to your daily routine to see if your symptoms improve. Consider also the amount of vitamin D you get. And, of course, stay away from eye-irritating conditions and elements.
Tears are made up of a mixture of water, oil, and mucus. People with dry eye tend to show signs of poor hydration. Because your body needs adequate amounts of water to make plenty of high-quality tears, staying hydrated is one of the most important steps you can take in controlling dry eyes.
Read more about why it’s important to stay hydrated and find tips for drinking enough water daily by clicking here.
2. Boost Your Omega-3 Intake
A recent study found that one of the protective factors against having dry eye syndrome is consuming a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids. Along with plenty of water, tear production also requires fatty oils. Supplementing with healthy omega-3 fatty acids is a very effective dry eye natural remedy.[3-5]
A large meta-analysis published in 2014 found that participants who took omega-3 supplements had better scores on two dry eye syndrome tests (the tear break-up time and Schirmer’s tests). You can boost your omega-3 intake by taking a supplement like fish oil, or by consuming these foods with omega 3s.
3. Avoid Eye-Aggravating Factors
Many people find that certain environmental conditions and habits can make their symptoms worse. For example, tasks that require concentration (where you tend to keep your eyes open and blink less often) may worsen dry eyes. When doing something like reading, using a computer, or driving for prolonged periods, try to take breaks regularly to let your eyes recover and get moist. Wind, dry air, and smoke are also often aggravating to the condition.
4. Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D may also help dry eye symptoms. In one recent study, people who were deficient in vitamin D had significantly lower scores on both the Schirmer and tear break-up time tests, indicating that vitamin D levels may correlate with the severity of the condition.
Learn how to get enough vitamin D to keep your eyes and your body healthy here.
Share Your Experience
Do you have dry eye syndrome? What natural treatment options have you tried? Did they work? Share your experience in the comments section below.
TIPS ON PRESERVING YOUR EYE HEALTH
For further reading on how to protect your vision, see these University Health News posts:
- “Dry Eye Is More Than An Uncomfortable Annoyance“
- “Glaucoma: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention of a Serious Eye Disease“
- “Not All Common Eye Diseases and Conditions Are Age-Related“
- “Eating for Eyesight: Which Foods Protect Your Eyes?“
Originally published in 2014, this post is regularly updated.