• Dry eyes can leave your eyes feeling scratchy, sore, stinging, and sensitive to light. Many of our customers describe the irritating sensation as the feeling of having specks of sand trapped in your eye, disturbing their vision, and even making their eyes water. Many factors can cause dry eyes, such as the time spent staring at your phone or computer which reduces our blinking rate, exposure to smoke or dry air, wearing contact lenses, allergies, or as part of the ageing process - to name a few.

  • While up to 13% of us may experience recurring dry eyes at some point in our lives,[1] the condition is certainly not ‘normal’ and should not be put up with - it has a range of remedies both from your optometrist and those you can try at home. Here are four simple home remedies for dry eyes that use products you’ll likely already have at home, as well as a look into why you may be getting dry eyes in the first place.


Why Do Dry Eyes Develop: A Background Look

  • - Every time you blink and close your eyelids, a thin tear layer spreads across the surface of your eye (cornea). This thin tear layer that covers your eyes is known as the tear film.

  • - Anything that interferes with this tear film may lead to dry eyes, as your tear film protects and nourishes the cornea beneath, keeps your eyes lubricated, and helps clean away anything that gets in the eye.

  • - Your tear film is made up of three layers: oil, water, and mucin. The outer oil layer is produced by small glands on the edge of your eyelids, where your eyelashes are located. This oil helps prevent the water layer from evaporating from your eyes, while the mucin layer helps to spread the tears evenly over the surface of the eye.

  • - Dry eyes can develop if there are disruptions or damage to these tear film layers: your eyes may be dry from either not producing enough tears as part of the tear film, or a clogged gland may mean that your eyes do not produce enough oil which can result in dry eyes as your tears evaporate faster than normal.



How Can I Treat Dry Eyes At Home?

  • These four home remedies may help you get relief from dry eyes, as well as help prevent them from developing in the future:

1. Try A Warm Compress To Help Stimulate Tear Production

  • Warm compresses are proven to help your eyes to produce more tears as well as unclog blocked glands, releasing moisturising oils back into your eyelid.[2],[3]

  • Explained: The top and bottom edges of your eyelids, close to where your eyelashes are found, contain specific glands called the meibomian glands. These glands secrete the oil which coats the surface of our eyes and keeps the water in our tears from evaporating after we blink, keeping our eyes healthy and lubricated. Some people may have dry eyes because their meibomian glands have become blocked, so cannot release the lubricating oils, leading to the eyes becoming dry and irritated.

  • Warm compresses can soothe this irritation by helping to unclog the blocked glands and release moisturising oils back into your eyelid, keeping the eye hydrated. The warmth of the compress also increases blood circulation to your eye area, which encourages your eyes to produce more tears. Warm compresses have been found to be very effective, with studies showing an 80% increase in the thickness of the oily layer over the eye in just five minutes, and an additional 20% increase after 15 minutes.[4]

  • What To Do: Prepare a bowl with warm water, then soak a clean, lint-free washcloth in the water, before wringing it out. Place it over your eyes for one to two minutes at a time, while gently pressing and wiping along the edge of your eyelid to remove blocked oils and keep your eyelids and eyelashes clean. If your compress cools down, soak it once again in the warm water. You can do this several times a day for a few days until your eyes begin to feel moisturised and more comfortable.


2. Cut Back On The Screen Time

  • People who use computers for extended periods of time have been found to have a much higher rate of dry eyes[5] and other troublesome visual symptoms, such as eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision,[6] so cutting back on your screen time may help your eye dryness.

  • Explained: Researchers believe that the 64% to 90% of computer users who experience dry eyes and other eye symptoms from using computers for prolonged periods of time blink less frequently, and even do less ‘complete’ blinks.[7],[8] Blinking is the eye’s natural way of lubricating itself with tears and oils to keep it hydrated, healthy, and comfortable. When we blink less, our eyes’ protective film doesn’t get regularly replenished, which can lead to irritation, dry eyes, and discomfort. If you’re working at the computer or staring at digital devices like smartphones or televisions for long periods of time, it’s likely that this may make your dry eyes worse as you will tend to be blinking a lot less - as little as only 7 times per minute compared to the standard 22 times per minute.[9]

  • What To Do: If you work at a computer, try using the 20/20 rule - every 20 minutes, close your eyes for 20 seconds. If needed, try a post-it note on your computer screen reminding you to blink, or set a timer on your phone to step away from your computer to blink and give your eyes a rest. If you notice your eyes are particularly dry at the computer, trying to yawn may provide relief with a quick burst of tears, because of the pressure that yawning can put on the lacrimal glands that are responsible for producing tears.


3. Add More Omega-3 Fatty Acids To Your Diet

  • Research has confirmed that taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements may significantly improve the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eyes.[10]

  • Explained: Omega-3 fatty acids are important components of each cell in your body and are found at particularly high levels in the eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids may help stimulate the body to produce more tears and increase the eye’s production of oil from the meibomian glands, which lubricates your eyes and prevents the natural tears from evaporating. Because of this, omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial in helping manage eye conditions such as Meibomian Gland Disease, which can contribute to dry eyes.

  • What To Do: The Australian Heart Foundation recommends that all Australians should aim to consume around 250–500 mg of omega-3s per day in the form of 2-3 servings of fish per week, as well as 1 gram of plant-sourced omega-3 each day.[11] Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally found in fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, squid, scallops, and mussels. Plant-sourced omega-3s are found in walnuts, linseed/flaxseed, chia seeds, and oils such as canola and soybean. If you’re unable to achieve these recommendations through diet alone, it may be worth consulting your pharmacist to discuss using fish oil or flaxseed supplement.


4. Create An Eye-Friendly Environment

  • Dry air, wind, dust, sunlight, and air conditioning can contribute significantly to the symptoms of dry eyes, so managing these factors to the best of our ability may help reduce and prevent eye dryness.

  • Explained: The eyes are a sensitive and delicate organ and are particularly susceptible to becoming irritated by our environment, such as from dry or polluted air. Strong winds and warm or dry air can cause the tear film that coats your eye to evaporate more quickly, which can trigger or worsen dry eyes. Additionally, as the tear film serves to help protect your eye from damage, without it, the surface of the eye is more likely to become irritated, inflamed, or even scratched by external debris.

  • What To Do: If the air is particularly dry like in the winter months, consider using a humidifier to improve the air moisture at home, avoid sitting near air conditioners and fans if you can. Keep your eyes closed when using hair dryers, and wear protective wraparound sunglasses when it’s sunny or windy outside to protect your eyes against UV exposure damage and decrease the chance of dust or debris entering your eye.


Is It Time To Visit An Optometrist?

  • At-home remedies can alleviate mild and temporary cases of dry eyes, but if these strategies aren’t giving you the relief you need, or if you’ve been struggling with dry eyes for some time or have worsening symptoms, it may be time to visit your optometrist.

  • Dry eyes can have a range of causes, and they may be a symptom of an underlying condition. Here at The Optical Company, our optometrists are highly experienced in treating patients with a range of eye conditions and can carry out a range of comprehensive assessments to evaluate your eye health and determine the best strategies to find the long-term relief comfort you need.


  • If dry eye symptoms are bothering you, especially if you live in drier climates across Australia where we see a high rate of dry eye issues book an appointment at a clinic near you.


[1] https://www.fmhs.auckland.ac.nz/assets/fmhs/som/ophthalmology/teaching/docs/ophthalmology-v-dry-eye-sjogrens.pdf

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12695712/

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24270634/

[4] ​​https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12695712/

[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18708259/

[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21480937/

[7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21480937/

[8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23538437/

[9] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8426634/

[10] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30702470/