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6 Lifestyle Hacks for Chronic Dry Eye

Medically reviewed by George Krucik, MD on September 7, 2016Written by Mary Baucom on September 7, 2016

You feel like rubbing your eyes out. They’re scratchy, irritated, and redder than a tomato. But before reach for that bottle of over-the-counter eye drops again, take a deep breath. There are other things you can do at home to improve your symptoms and get relief.

1. Spruce up your home with detoxifying house plants.

dry eye and plants

Even if you keep a tidy, clean home, recirculated indoor air could make your symptoms worse. Certain plants, like aloe, orchids, and English ivy, are known for their air-filtering abilities.

2. Drink another cup of coffee (but just one more cup).

Research has shown that caffeine can help with tear production. This doesn’t prove that going to your local coffee shop multiple times a day will help with your chronic dry eyes (or make you cry). But a limited increase in caffeine may help your eyes produce more moisture when you need it.

3. Relax with a DIY spa treatment.

Try placing cucumbers on your eyelids for a cooling sensation. This crisp and refreshing vegetable can help relieve the puffiness and irritation associated with chronic dry eye. Thin, refrigerated slices of potatoes can also provide the same effect. Or, if vegetables just aren’t your thing, make a cold raw milk compress and place it on your eyelids for 15 minutes each day.

4. Eat more fish, like herring, tuna, and salmon.

These fish contain the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help improve symptoms and may even help with tear production, too.

5. Turn car and airplane vents away from your line of vision.

These vents just recycle old air, which can further dry out your eyes. The vents can even blow foreign materials, like dust or hairs, into your already-irritated eyes.

6. Adjust your computer settings to make deskwork less strenuous on your eyes.

Make the screen’s brightness the same as your surroundings, alter the text size, and look away from the screen every 20 minutes or so to reduce eye fatigue.

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