by Bogdan Nowak
Our hectic lifestyle is now mostly influenced by digital screens. Not surprisingly, our eyes suffer the brunt of the digital trend. Studies show that the average person spends more than 11 hours per day on social media alone.
According to the Journal of Global Health, in many countries, more than 50% of the population are suffering from Dry Eyes. Another estimate says that Dry Eyes Syndrome (DES) could be as high as 4 million in the United States itself.
Most of the problems can be attributed to our modern lifestyle and reliance on synthetic medicines to solve our aches and pains. While the causes could be genetic in some cases, most of the incidents of dry eyes can be attributed to a modern lifestyle that includes too many screens- TV, Mobile, Laptops- and lack of routine. The modern, sedentary life also gives rise to many other complications.
Dry eyes, in simplest terms, is when the eyes are not able to produce enough tears for lubrication. The condition can be caused by excessive use of the lens, hormonal after-effects of pregnancy and various allergies. Thankfully, there are simple natural remedies for your dry eyes that you can try at home.
7 Natural Remedies for Your Dry Eyes
Treating your dry eyes doesn’t have to be complicated, it’s really simple actually, you just need to address the following three steps: Avoid the factors that contribute to drying of eyes, increase the tear retention and thorough cleanse your eyes. You do that easily by following these tips:
1. Take regular breaks from screens
It might sound like a piece of cliché advice, but this is the most important beginning. You can’t be staring at the screen all day and hope that the natural remedies will work on you. Take regular breaks and give your eyes rest. The rays and waves from screens aggravate dry eyes and taking regular breaks will make a big difference.
2. Wash your eyes regularly
How often do you wash your eyes, if ever? Don’t wait for the irritation to grow. Make it a habit of washing your eyes every couple of hours. This washes down the irritants and also hydrates your eyes. And while washing, go gentle and do it nicely. One splash on the face isn’t what we are talking about. Do it properly and make sure to use distilled or filtered water.
3. Blink regularly
Have you ever paid attention to your blinking pattern? Take a minute and count how many times you blink in a minute. Mobile screens have a detrimental effect on your blinking pattern. Staring for long periods of time results in the evaporation of oils and water that keep your eyes moist. This evaporation dries out your eyes. To remember to blink more often, write down a reminder on a piece of paper and stick it on your computer.
4. Eat green vegetables
Perhaps, your mother might have told you while growing up but you forgot. It’s time to get vegetables back in your diet (if you’ve been neglecting this very important aspect of healthy eating).
Green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cucumber, and zucchini are very high in water content. When you consume more of this type of vegetables, your body gets extra water and this water helps in the formation of tears which help dry eyes. Some of these vegetables also contain high levels of vitamin A that also helps your vision.
In addition to eating more green vegetables, also make sure you drink enough water.
5. Eat omega-3 rich foods
Chia seeds, walnuts and fatty fish such as salmon are all a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which are incredibly important for health.
Omega-3s reduce inflammation in the body, help fight depression and are essential for a healthy heart. They are also important for healthy eyes owing to an omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, which is a major structural component of your eyes’ retinas.
What’s more, research suggests that omega-3s help in the formation of oils that are important constituents of tears. It is more of a long term solution but it’s important because dry eyes can become a chronic condition if not paid attention to.
6. Warm compression and massaging
Take a piece of cloth, soak in warm water, wrung out the excess water and put it on your eyes. Gently massage the eyes making the figure eight. This will give you instant relief. Keep your eyes shut when you do it. Repeat if required.
7. Wear sunglasses
A little amount of dust or intense sunlight on the eyes can aggravate the situation. This is not a cure but a precaution. You have to be gentle on eyes. While sunlight accelerates the evaporation process, we know dust and smoke can cause a lot of irritation. You can also use UV contact lenses to protect your eyes for harmful UV rays that make the Dry Eyes Syndrome worse. UV Contacts can be an alternative if you regularly use contact lenses. On another note, make sure to properly dispose of your contacts and never flush them down the toilet or in your sink. Throw them in the bin once they have lived out their lifetime.
These home remedies to treat your dry eyes should help you reduce the burning, heaviness and help you reduce the effects of dry eye syndrome in the long run. Natural remedies, though, should become a part of your routine for a healthy life and not just used once in a while with no other considerations when you need them.
Bogdan Nowak is a health enthusiast. He works at a local gym in the Opole District of Poland and writes as a freelancer for several health magazines both local and international. He has a pet terrier named Jakub.