Natural Treatments for Dry Eyes
Dr. Julian Whitaker
According to Voltaire, tears may be “the silent language of grief,” but they’re also your eyes’ natural, protective lubricant. Unfortunately, millions of people have a condition called dry eye syndrome (also known simply as dry eyes) that is marked by problems with tear production. The good news is there are several natural treatments for dry eyes.
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome or “ocular surface disease,” which is the medical name for this disorder, refers to a decline in the quality or quantity of tears bathing the eye. This condition is increasingly common with advancing age—there are estimates that 75 percent of people over the age of 65 will experience dry eyes. Women are also more susceptible to dry eye syndrome. Dry air, long hours in front of a computer, and certain medications, including antihistamines and decongestants are other factors that can contribute to dry eye syndrome.
Why Treating Dry Eyes Is Important
Adequate production of healthy tears is essential. Tears contain lipids (fats) that reduce evaporation and keep your eyes bathed in moisture, maintain the proper salinity and acidity of the eye area, and are made up of antibodies and other immune-enhancing agents to defend against infection.
If your eyes often feel itchy, gritty, burning, or painful, you may have dry eye syndrome. Along with eye irritation, sensitivity to light is also common, especially in milder cases. In severe cases, scarring or ulceration of the cornea can occur, which has the potential to lead to vision loss. Therefore, treating dry eyes is important.