Though some people with dry eye syndrome may need prescription treatments, there are a variety of DIY options for soothing dry eyes. Check out these home remedies.

We all experience eye dryness now and then, but for some, it’s more than an occasional annoyance.

Dry eye syndrome, known clinically as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, can cause daily discomfort. People with long-term (chronic) dry eyes may experience eye redness, light sensitivity, blurry vision, or a sensation of having something in the eye.

Whether you have dry eye syndrome, allergies, or just the occasional eye irritation, various home remedies exist to soothe your symptoms. Try these simple approaches.

Learn more about dry eyes.

You can try many things at home to help relieve symptoms of dry eye. While you may need to see a doctor, here are 15 options to try at home:

Use over-the-counter lubricating eye drops

Over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops are an easy way to lubricate dry eyes. Look for options without preservatives for minimal irritation.

Apply warm compress

A 2023 review suggests that applying a warm compress to your eyes could increase moisture and help you produce tears. Follow these instructions for getting the most out of a warm compress.

Limit screen time

The digital age has its downsides for people with dry eyes. Time in front of screens has been linked with increased symptoms. Try taking frequent breaks from your devices.

Run a humidifier

A humidifier increases moisture in the air, making it an ideal remedy for dry, irritated eyes.

Adjust your environment

Sitting near a fan or under an air conditioner vent will dry your eyes. When you have symptoms, consider how you might adjust your environment to stay out of direct gusts of air.

Add omega-3s

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, study results are mixed on whether omega-3 fatty acids can decrease dry eye symptoms — but some research is promising. Ask your doctor whether an omega-3 supplement is worth a try for your dry eyes.

Increase your fluids

The amount of fluid available to your eyes depends in part on your total fluids. Try upping your liquid intake throughout the day to increase moisture.

Clean your eyelids

Cleaning your eyelids could open clogged oil glands, allowing for greater moisture. Follow these directions for using an eyelid scrub.

Wash your lashes

Using a gentle baby shampoo, wash your eyelashes (with eyes closed), then thoroughly rinse.

Apply a gel

Some dry eye products come in drops; some come in gels. Again, look for preservative-free brands.

Wear sunglasses

When light sensitivity becomes bothersome, pop on some shades (even indoors).

Cut back on alcohol

Alcohol is known for its dehydrating effects. If you drink alcohol, consider reducing or stopping alcohol. This may help with eye dryness.

Focus on sleep

Poor sleep can worsen dry eye symptoms by lowering tear production. Try practicing healthy sleep hygiene and see if dryness improves.

Increase your blinking

To increase the moisture on your eyeballs, try blinking exercises like the ones outlined here.

Add antioxidant-rich foods

Research has linked numerous antioxidants to eye health, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin A, and omega-3. Focus on including foods rich in these nutrients, such as leafy greens, kiwi, broccoli, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

Often, a bout of dryness in the eyes is a temporary irritation. But if your symptoms worsen over time, don’t go away after a few weeks, or don’t ease with home remedies, it’s best to consult your doctor. They can help determine whether you need more targeted treatment.

Though most home remedies for dry eyes have minimal risks, some are not safe.

In 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recall for 26 OTC eye drop products due to concerns about eye infection, including a list of all recalled brands.

In general, it’s also not a good idea to create your own eye drops. While homemade drops with ingredients like coconut oil and fish oil may be trendy, they’re not well supported by science.

Eyes that are dry due to environmental irritants or allergies are likely to run their course in a few weeks. However, people with dry eye syndrome can manage symptoms but likely won’t experience a complete reversal of this condition.

What is the best natural eye lubricant?

There’s no single best natural eye lubricant, but artificial tears without preservatives are usually a good choice.

How can I restore moisture in my eye naturally?

All the home remedies listed above aim to increase moisture in the eyes. Try any that appeal to you.

If redness, sensitivity to light, and a gritty feeling are affecting your eyes, dryness may be to blame. Though you may need to see your doctor, you may want to try home remedies first to see if they help.