Eye health can sometimes be an overlooked aspect of your overall well-being, but that shouldn’t be the case. If you suffer from dry eyes, here are some natural remedies that can help prevent this uncomfortable condition.
How computers and devices affect your eye health
If your job involves long hours of sitting in front of a computer, you may have a low concentration of mucin 5AC. This component of the eyes’ aqueous mucus layer helps keep your peepers lubricated.
Dr. Marc Grossman, a holistic optometrist and author of “Natural Eye Care,” shared that people need to blink at least 10 to 12 times per minute to help maintain the tear film known as mucin 5AC.
However, when you’re focusing on a screen, your blinking rate slows to only about three to four times a minute. This may cause irritation and fatigue, Grossman warned. (Related: Everyday habits that may be damaging your eyes.)
To improve your eye health and prevent dry eyes, follow the tips below.
Drink enough water
Stay hydrated by drinking at least eight to 10 glasses of water every day. Drinking enough water promotes tear production and relieves dry eyes.
Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks and eat a lot of leafy green vegetables
Consuming foods and beverages with at least 11 teaspoons of sugar per day is associated with a condition called dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is characterized by insufficient tear production, which results in the surface of the eyes not being properly lubricated. This causes the eyes to become red, watery, and have temporarily blurred vision.
Over 50 percent of people with diabetes have dry eye syndrome as they tend to have too much unusable glucose in the eyes.
To relieve dry eyes, eat lots of fresh leafy green vegetables. A diet rich in colorful fruits and veggies increases your intake of beneficial antioxidants like astaxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These compounds can help boost your eye health.
Here are some nutritious foods to eat to prevent dry eye syndrome:
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
Studies suggest that taking fish or flaxseed oil supplements helps relieve dry eyes.
It is believed that a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids eases the symptoms of dry eye syndrome by improving the coating of tears covering the front of your eyes. Additionally, taking omega-3 supplements can help minimize inflammation.
Dry eyes and impaired tear function are symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. Taking vitamin supplements may help relieve the discomfort caused by this condition.
Use preservative-free eye drops
Eye drops or artificial tears can temporarily relieve dry eyes, but products that help “get the red out” can reduce circulation in your eyes. Grossman warns that these products may also limit moisture production or aggravate dry eyes syndrome.
To prevent this, switch to preservative-free artificial tears. These alternatives are sold in single-dose vials to ensure their freshness since they don’t contain chemical preservatives.
Take note that if you suffer from moderate-to-severe dry eyes, drops with preservatives can irritate your eyes.
Try the “squeeze and release” method
Blinking isn’t enough to prevent dry eyes — you need to blink completely. If you have dry eyes, close your eyelids fully when you blink.
You can also set an alarm on your phone that goes off several times a day to remind you to do this simple “squeeze and release” exercise:
- Close your eyes, then squeeze your eyes tight.
- Keep your eyelids closed and relax your eyes.
- Open your eyes, then repeat the exercise at least five times.
Apply a warm compress twice a day
Using a clean, wet washcloth to apply a warm compress over your eyes will help open up the oil glands in your eyelids. This lets natural oils flow back into your eyes, slows tear evaporation, and eases the discomfort caused by common dry eye triggers, such as too much screen time or wearing contact lenses.
Dry eye sufferers should apply a warm compress to their eyes for 10 minutes at least two to three times every day. Another option is to gently massage your upper and lower eyelids while you’re in the shower. This also helps stimulate your tear glands.
Relieve dry eyes by following a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables and using preservative-free eye drops.
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