If you’ve ever experienced dry eye, you know it’s uncomfortable enough to make you cry. Well, you would cry, if you had the tears to do it! Because our eyes are naturally lubricated, dryness can cause a great deal of discomfort. And because we depend on our eyes so much, vision issues and discomfort can be seriously disruptive to everyday life. Yes, you can use artificial tears to help in a pinch — but what about long-term, natural solutions? Read on to learn more about dry eye and its causes, plus see tips for relief from our expert, Dr. Heather Moday.
Meet Our Expert
Heather Moday, MD, is director of the Moday Center in Philadelphia. She is board-certified in allergy and immunology, as well as integrative and holistic medicine. You can follow her on Instagram (@theimmunitymd), where she shares information on health topics. To ask her a question, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Scoop on Dry Eye
If you are sensitive to light with blurry vision or have red, scratchy, burning eyes, you may be experiencing dry eye. Almost anyone can suffer from this condition, but according to the National Eye Institute, you’re more likely to experience dryness if you’re a woman, you wear contact lenses, you have autoimmune conditions, you are lacking in certain nutrients, or you are age 50 or older. The causes can range from dryness in your environment to hormone changes to medicinal side effects. You can even get dry eye from blinking less often when staring at screens for too long. (And most of us are guilty of that.)
Whatever the cause or symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor and get a proper diagnosis. If you’re looking for relief in the meantime, there may be some natural solutions. Dr. Moday shares her expert advice for quick, long-lasting relief from dry eye below.
Q: My eyes get painfully dry in the winter, and nothing seems to help. Are there any natural remedies worth trying?
A: There are. Instances of dry eye tend to spike at this time of year due to cold, dry winter air both outside and inside. Plus, estrogen and progesterone help keep tear ducts hydrated, so when those hormones drop with menopause, many women experience dry eye.
To combat the problem, I recommend adding a pinch of cinnamon to your daily cup of coffee. Researchers from the American Academy of Ophthalmology discovered that caffeine increases tear production, and participants noticed an improvement in dry eye within 45 minutes of consuming caffeine. Additionally, cinnamon is packed with antioxidants that can calm tear-blocking inflammation to help keep eyes hydrated.
Also smart: Consider adding a fish oil supplement — which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids — to your diet. These healthy fats may further help mitigate dry eye symptoms.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.