Natural Remedies for Your Dry Eyes

All-natural solutions and everyday practices that may help protect your peepers

close-up of woman's eye
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Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes don't produce enough to tears to stay properly lubricated. In some cases, sufficient tears are produced, but tears are of poor quality and evaporate too rapidly.

Tears play a key role in promoting clear vision, warding off infection, and keeping the front surface of the eye healthy. When left untreated, dry eye syndrome can lead to pain, corneal damage, and some loss of vision.

What Causes Dry Eye?

Although dry eye syndrome is most prevalent among adults over the age of 40 (due to hormonal changes and the aging process), the condition affects people of all ages. Here are some common causes:

  • Use of medications such as antihistamines, nasal decongestants, birth control pills, antidepressants, and blood pressure medicines
  • Use of hormone replacement therapy
  • Allergies
  • Infrequent blinking due to staring at computer screens or devices for long periods of time
  • Long-term use of contact lenses
  • Complications resulting from rheumatoid arthritislupus, Sjogren's syndrome, and other autoimmune disorders
  • Chronic conjunctivitis

Natural Remedies for Dry Eye

To date, scientific support for the claim that any type of alternative medicine can treat dry eye is lacking. Here are some remedies and strategies that may help reduce symptoms:

1) Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Preliminary research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids (such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) show promise as a natural approach to dry eye relief.

A research review published in Medical Science Monitor in 2014 analyzed randomized controlled trials published between 2007 and 2013. While there was no difference found in the ocular surface disease index (a 12-item scale for assessing dry eye symptoms), omega-3 fatty acids were associated with better tear break-up time and results on the Schirmer’s test (measuring the moisture in the lower eyelid pouch).

Omega-3 fatty acids are found naturally in oily fish (such as salmon, sardines, trout, and mackerel). To boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, try including some of these foods in your diet.

2) Stay Hydrated

For some people, simply drinking enough fluids throughout the day can help reduce dry eye symptoms by keeping mucous membranes in the eyes moist. 

3) Blink More Frequently

Blinking frequently and taking breaks when performing activities requiring prolonged periods of visual attention, such as computer work, may help.

If you work at a desktop computer, you may benefit from lowering your computer monitor so your gaze is slightly downwards. Your eyes don't have to open as wide, which may lessen the dryness.

4) Avoid Dry or Blowing Air

Avoid dry conditions. Use a humidifier to increase the moisture of dry, indoor air. Keep air from fans, heaters, or air conditioners and smoke from blowing into your eyes. Wear sunglasses when you're outdoors. 

What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?

Symptoms of dry eye can include:

  • A stinging, burning, or gritty feeling in the eye
  • Excess watering of the eyes, followed by periods of dryness
  • A stringy discharge from the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Redness of the eye
  • Decreased tolerance of activities requiring prolonged periods of visual attention (such as reading or working on the computer)
  • Eye fatigue
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses

The Takeaway

If you have dry eye syndrome, make sure to consult your healthcare provider to identify the cause, discuss the treatment options, and to weigh the pros and cons of any form of alternative medicine. Although having dry eyes may only be a minor annoyance, it should be properly treated to avoid complications.  


Liu A, Ji J. Omega-3 essential fatty acids therapy for dry eye syndrome: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies.  Med Sci Monit. 2014 Sep 6;20:1583-9. doi: 10.12659/MSM.891364.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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