Tips for Relieving Dry Eyes Naturally
Dry eyes, also known as Dry Eye Syndrome (DES), keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), keratitis sicca or xerophthalmia, is the complaint that eye doctors hear about most frequently. It is caused by fewer tears being produced or the surface of the eye drying out faster due to a number of reasons, including infrequent blinking. Note that when you are on your computer, research shows that you blink less often.
As with most eye problems, Dry Eye Syndrome is usually connect to other health conditions, such as other mucous membrane dryness, joint and brittle nail problems, and various changes including hormonal changes in the aging process. It may be an indicator of imbalances in digestion or of systemic autoimmune diseases, like Sjogrens syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus erythematosus.
Tips and Recommendations
- Cut down on sugar and artificial sweeteners including sweeteners contained in soft drinks. One can of soda includes 3 tablespoons sugar, and eating more than 3 2/3 tablespoons is connected to DES. Sugar is hidden throughout processed and refined foods including cereals, ketchup, and salad dressings.
- Make green leafy vegetables a big part of your diet. If you don't like greens, have them in soups, purees, green and green drinks. They contain essential nutrients for your vision.
- Avoid coffee and smoking.
- Drink lots of water, as much as 8-10 glasses of water daily according to some doctors. It hydrates your body and helps flush out toxins.
- Pay attention to foods you might be allergic to. You can try eliminating food categories for a week or two, or have a trained allergist test you (see the previous link for types of allergen testing). Typical allergens include nightshades (peppers, eggplant, white potatoes, tomatoes and cucumbers), milk, wheat (and gluten containing products: wheat, rye, barley), and corn (or products containing corn).
- Avoid the toxic fats contained in non-organic red meat and dairy products, and in hydrogenated oils (such as margarine and shortening) and fried foods and fast foods. These fats interfere with the proper metabolism of essential fatty acids in the body and are indirect causes of dry eye syndrome. Eat organic or free range whenever possible.
- Avoid transfatty acid containing foods (i.e.: margarine, most chips ... read labels).
- Complement your diet with a whole food-based multivitamin which includes omega 3 fatty acids.
Other dry eyes recommendations
- Use a humidifier both at home and/or in the workplace to keep air around you moist.
- Blink! Especially while working at the computer. Research shows that you tend to blink less when on the computer and this contributes to your eyes drying out.
- Check your medications for any side effects causing dry eyes.
- Gently massage your lower and upper eyelids, several times daily which stimulates tear glands.
See our detailed nutritional recommendations for dry eyes.