T’is the season for final exams and wrapping up last-minute work projects (and gifts) so that you can enjoy some rest and relaxation during the holidays. All that hustle and bustle has you staying up late and spending long hours on the computer — which has your peepers in urgent need of relief.
Red, sore windows to the world result from multiple causes. How can you get relief? The following eight natural remedies for dry eyes can come to the rescue when you have a slew of long days and sleepless nights ahead.
Common Causes of Dry Eye
What causes dry eyes? You already know that overwork can do it. Modern computer screens emit a blue-light wavelength similar to that of bright daylight. Think about how you’d feel after eight or more hours outdoors on a sunny day with no shades.
Spending hours slaving away at the screen can potentially cause blindness. Exposure to blue light damages your retinal cells and contributes to age-related macular degeneration. If you need to put in overtime, consider investing in a pair of special glasses that guards your eyes.
Dry eyes also stem from environmental toxins. One study published by the National Institutes of Health indicated that poor indoor air quality correlates with eye irritation and blurry near-vision.
Sitting near a fan or going outside on a windy day can also dry out your eye’s surface. Dehydration also plays a role — if your body lacks water elsewhere, you won’t have enough for lubrication.
Knowing the root causes of dry eyes leads us to how to ease the condition. Carrying your trusty water bottle is one — here are eight more.
8 Natural Remedies for Dry Eyes
Your first instinct to remedy dry eyes might be to reach for the over-the-counter (OTC) drops. However, please exercise caution. These treatments work similarly to OTC nasal sprays by shrinking inflamed blood vessels, but once the effect wears off, the problem comes roaring back — often worse than before.
Instead, reach for one of these natural remedies for dry eyes.
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a potent eyesight vitamin. If you ever heard that you should eat your carrots for your eyes, that’s because they, along with other orange veggies, contain high levels of beta-carotene, this nutrient’s predecessor.
Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of childhood blindness, with 250,000 to 500,000 worldwide youth losing sight each year. Fortunately, you can probably get enough of this vital nutrient through your diet.
Foods high in vitamin A include the following:
- Sweet Potatoes
2. Vitamin D
Have you gotten your daily dose of sunshine today? While you do want to avoid bright light as a natural remedy for dry eyes, you also need to soak up some rays for maximum eye health. Insufficient levels of this nutrient can contribute to macular degeneration.
3. Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Scientists learn more about phytonutrients every day. These two powerhouses benefit your eye health — they help protect you from ultraviolet light waves that can cause structural changes. They also help you see in dim light, so if you have poor night vision, seek foods high in these nutrients.
Strive to get more of the following in your diet:
- Dark, leafy greens
- Pistachio nuts
- Summer squash
4. Flax Seeds
Alpha-linoleic acids are vital substances for promoting healthy cell membranes throughout your body. This protection is doubly-critical in terms of a natural remedy for dry eyes, as a lack of moisture can destroy vital tissue. Flax seeds contain high levels of these nutrients, which break down to EPA and DHA in your body.
5. Chia Seeds
Like flax seeds, chia seeds contain a healthy dose of alpha-linoleic acids to protect your eye’s delicate membranes. However, they don’t possess the same level of lignans that flax seeds do.
The difference matters if you use seed cycling to balance your hormonal cycle and control conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Women using this method should eat flax seeds only in the first half of their cycle, as the phytoestrogenic lignans affect the body’s estrogen levels. In the latter portion, chia seeds make an ideal substitute for eye health.
If you don’t follow a vegan diet, fish contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids to protect eye membrane health. Surprisingly, for a non-plant source, some varieties, like salmon, also give you a hefty dose of vitamin A. Here’s to fish Friday for the two-for-one eye-health benefits.
When you become dehydrated, your eyes produce fewer tears, leading to blurry vision and pain. Pay attention to the time of day when symptoms typically occur. If you struggle most right after lunch, maybe you don’t consume enough fluids with your meal?
8. Eye Protection
Finally, protect your eyes from excess light and glare. Always wear sunglasses in bright sunlight and invest in a pair of blue ray-blocking specs for long days at the computer. While you might not see the difference today, you improve your chances of clearer vision down the line.
Pull An All-Nighter or Dance Till Dawn: You’ll Never Know With These Natural Remedies for Dry Eyes
Try these natural remedies for dry eyes to treat sore peepers from a day or night of strain. Taking proactive measures to protect your visual health can help you see clearly for life.