Monday, November 14, 2016

Dry Eye Home Remedies

I suffer from extremely dry eyes.  I cannot wear contacts or have Lasik surgery because of it.  There is very little I've found searching the web that actually helps, so I wanted to share my story.  Here are a few home remedies I have researched and tried over the last year. 

*I am NOT a medical professional. 
Always consult a medical doctor before beginning a new treatment. 
I am just sharing my personal experiences,
please do your own research to see if these tips might be helpful to your individual situation.
Every eye is different, and results may vary.

I am making an appointment to try sclera contact lenses.  They are about $600 each lens, but are said to actually help with dry eye.  Fingers crossed!

Baby Shampoo
My ophthalmologist instructed me to wash my eyelids and makeup off every night with one drop of baby shampoo to one cup of warm water.  Baby shampoo offers a tear free solution, cleaning away any bacteria, eye lash mites, allergens and pollutants that may be causing your dry eye.  It also helps release some of the oil in your eyelid glands, helping to produce better quality tears.

Warm Compress
I purchased a mask and made a simple one.  Using a soft fabric such as flannel filled with rice or flax seed.  I only heated it to a warm temperature.  I didn't want to burn my skin or eyes.  I put the compress on my eyes nightly for a minimum of 15 minutes.  If it cooled, I rewarmed it.  This will open up the oil producing glands and help clear any blockages.
Click here for a video detailing how to properly preform a warm compress and lid massage.
And a controversial video to help you decide if you want to try this.

Cool Compress
I like to apply a cool compress to help with inflammation.  You can also use the homemade mask above for this.

Preservative Free Eye Drops
It is important to keep my eyes moist with eye drops.  I use a preservative free eye drop, because I use drops more than 4 times a day.  They are supposed to be single use of you risk getting an eye infection. However,  in most brands you can push the cap back on. According my my ophthalmologist, the preservative will cause more harm if used more than 4 times a day.  If I'm having a really bad dry eye day, or sometimes in the morning when my eyes are the driest, I will use preservative free gel drops.

For regular over the counter drops I prefer Sooth. Be forewarned they are milky.  The first time I used them I thought they were bad,  because they weren't clear. They feel really nice in the eye surface. Do not use them more than 4-5 times a day.  Otherwise, the preservative in them and other similar drops can start to adversely affect the dry eye. Preservative free is your best bet for constant daily use.

Caster Oil
There are people all over the web suggesting castor oil to be used for dry eyes.  I have tried this and didn't really care for it.  While my eyes felt less dry, the castor oil is thick, uncomfortable, and gave my eyes a swollen feeling. I do not recommend it, but it is the number one home treatment you will find suggested.  I only used a very small drop. I made sure to purchase a good quality cold pressed organic Castor Oil.  I kept it refrigerated for longer shelf life and preservation.  I bought small dropper bottles to make it easily to control the size of the drop. Castor Oil does supposedly help with growing longer fuller eyelashes.
Some articles I read suggesting the use of castor oil:
Simple Remedies
Heal Dove
There are also tons on videos on YouTube.

Eye Mask
I wear an eye mask at night to help keep the moisture in my eyes, especially since I do not fully close them while sleeping.  My eyes used to feel completely dry when I wake up in the morning, this has helped immensely. 

Eye Goggles
There are also eye goggles out there that have a removable moisture pad in them, and highly recommended by the web.  My ophthalmologist talked to me about them in our last visit.  I just got mine, they are a bit pricey, but help.

Preservative Free Nighttime Eye Ointment
I do not completely close my eyes at night. The small area left open thickens and dries if left untreated and protected.  I used this night time ointment, which lasts much longer than drops alone.  It does feel a little thick and blurs the vision extremely.  This is the last thing I do before crawling into bed.  Both my ophthalmologist and optometrist recommended this to me, but here's a article that shows the benefits and negative's of doing this.

Update: I stopped doing this because I don't like the way it makes my eyes feel and it offered little help.

Q-Tip-Pollution Remover
If you are suffering from pollutants causing your dry eye, it was suggested to me to use a Q-Tip to clean my water line of my eyelids.  I used a sterile Q-Tip dipped in sterile water, squeezed the water out with my clean finger tips, and gently wiped off the eyelid just inside my eyelashes, but not my inner lids.  See this video for a better explanationThis did not help me personally when I tried it, but it makes sense for some people if done safely and properly.

Omega 3
I make sure I'm getting enough Omega-3 in my diet, this will help with better quality tears.  I personally like Thera Tears since they are specially formulated for dry eyes, but any will do.   Always talk to your doctor before starting any treatment, they may not mix with other medications causing medical complications.

MSM Eye Drops
MSM eye drops are recommended to help with Floaters, dry eye,  and other common eye issues. I have yet to try this method.  Click her for more info.

I make sure I'm drinking plenty of water.  If you are dehydrated, so are your eyes.

The first thing a new doctor always asks me is if I'm blinking properly.  When your top eyelid and bottom eyelid touch, they release the tears and oils. If they don't make contact completely they won't be released.  Now that doesn't mean push your eyelids together really hard either.  This can contribute to overnight dryness as well.

Moving Air
I've noticed that any type of fan, air conditioner or heater just really dry my eyes out.  I do not ever have any fans on in my house.  When in the car I like to wear large, tight fitting,  wrap around sunglasses to keep the air from blowing in my eyes.  

They sale glasses on with or without a prescription that has clear shield in the side.  I'm seriously considering buying a pair for the car.

A Dry Climate
Moving to a humid climate is recommended, but not practical for most.  I like a whole house humidifier or a single room humidifier, when I am in a dry climate. 

Eye Lashes
A common cause of dry eyes are eyelashes that curl up into the eye and irritate the eye.  An ophthalmologist can look for stray eyelashes under magnification and pluck them.  They are most likely very thin almost clear lashes found in the inside corner of the eye.  However, my insurance billed this as a surgery.  So, double check with your insurance provider for coverage.

Make-up and Skin Products
I carefully select my eye make-up to make sure it isn't melting or flaking off into my eyes.  I make sure to only use ophthalmologist approved eye creams as well.  Other face creams and lotions are not always safe for use on the eyes. Also, makeup or eyeliner on the waterline of the eye can irritate the eye and dry it out, or plug the tear ducts.  The use of mascara can harbor eye lash mites.

Eye Lash Mites

Pictures and videos of these mites really give me the creeps.  I am glad I do not have these mites crawling on my eyelashes. These mites are quite common, especially in people who wear mascara.  You can also get them from your pets. They could be causing some of your dry eye symptoms.  One home remedy that might work is using Tea Tree Oil wipes or ZocuWipes over the eyelashes for one month.  Talk to your medical professional and take extreme caution, this could irritate the eye.  Learn more from this YouTube video or here.

Smoking is a leading cause of dry eyes.  It is recommended to quit.  It you are struggling with quitting covering your eyes with glasses that are formed to your face, sealing your eyes in, will help from outside smoke.  Some damage also takes place on the inside of your body that also contributes to dry eye.

Update: I found a great eye doctor that has a YouTube channel dedicated to dry eye. Check him out for the latest techniques -Doctor Eye Health. 

Good luck with your struggle. 
Unfortunately, there are so many causes of dry eyes. 
One remedy will work for one person and not for another.

*I am NOT a medical professional. 
Always consult a medical doctor before beginning a new treatment. 
I am just sharing my personal experiences, please do your own research to see if these tips might be helpful to your individual situation.
Every eye is different, and results may vary.
Follow all directions instructed with your purchased products.
Eye infections are easy to get, so please only use clean and sterile products. 
Do not touch product containers to your eye.
Use these products and tips at your own risk.
Some products may cause an allergic reaction.

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