I felt the symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome long before I was given a diagnosis: the dry eyes like sandpaper, the feeling of your eyelids like tight rubber bands as they roughly closed and opened, the extra dry eyes in the morning and the constant feeling like sand is irritating my eyeball at any given time.
Over the years, it got worse. I had to wear sunglasses anytime I was outside. I had to use eye drops every morning and night.
But, why am I telling you this – you already know. That’s why you’re here.
Reasons for Dry Eyes:
Maybe you don’t have Sjogren’s, but you have really dry eyes. There are a lot of reasons why people suffer from symptoms of dry eyes and regardless of how you got here, I know you’re uncomfortable. Here are just a few of the reasons you are experiencing dry eyes:
- Sjogren’s Syndrome – an autoimmune condition that attacks the glands that make tears and saliva. This causes a dry mouth and dry eyes.
- Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) – a very common and uncomfortable condition where the glands are not secreting enough oil or the oil they secrete is of poor quality. The oil glands will also get plugged, so less oil comes out and what make it out can be crusty, unhealthy or cause irritation.
- Medications – certain medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, diuretics, and beta-blockers, can reduce mucus production and contribute to chronic dry eye.
- Allergies – eyes may appear itchy, red, and watery. While an oral antihistamine can reduce allergy symptoms, these medications can make dry eyes worse.
- Weather – high winds, low humidity, and all types of weather changes can impact our eyes moisture.
- Aging – yup, another fun part of getting older.
- Dehydration – I’m constantly surprised by how many things are related to dehydration. I’ve been upping my water content and will report soon.
- Glaucoma – dry eye and Glaucoma often travel together.
- Autoimmune diseases – you don’t need Sjogren’s for your autoimmune disease to cause dry eyes.
I’m sure there are even more reasons than this, but regardless of why you have dry eyes, there are ideas on this list that can help.
The Best Dry Eye Remedies:
I have done hours and hours of research and product testing over the years to find the safest, most gentle, natural remedies to treat dry eyes. I’ve got this down to a science.
Now, I’m handing it to you on a silver platter. Because you deserve better than the dish dry eyes are serving you.
While I am not a doctor (although, maybe, someday I will go back to get my naturopathic practitioner degree), and what works for me might not work for you, it’s worth a shot.
So, let’s take a look at the remedies that I use to help manage the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eyes and Sjogren’s all the time. Affiliate links are used. I only write about products I have researched and used. Here we go:
This is my newest addition to my routine. They’re so good, I gave some to my mom, who has glaucoma, my father-in-law, who gets headaches behind his eyes, and my cousin, who has major allergies.
Technically, they are designed specifically for people who have Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), but I find they also help with any condition where you would reach for a warm compress. I’ve even used them on my son’s eyes when he gets chalazions, because they are much less messy than a warm compress and stay warm longer.
These little pre-moistened, soft eye pads start heating as soon as you bend them and hear a little crack. You feel it in your hand – it’s actually really cool. Then, they stay warm for around 4-5 minutes, enough to put it on each eye for 2-3 minutes.
Plus, it’s constant heat, unlike warm compresses that start cooling off right away, and they’re also loaded with their proprietary formula that has coconut extracts, fatty acids, and – wait for it – hyaluronic acid! Y’all know the wonders that HA does for your skin and so not only will it help your eyes retain moisture, but you’ll be giving your undereye area and eyelid a hyaluronic acid treatment – SCORE.
I also love that they come in individual packages, so they are perfect for traveling, too. Basically, any time you would reach for a warm compress, you can grab one of these and get the benefits of warm moisture plus proven ingredients that will soothe eyes and help restore natural tears. Grab them here.
2. Refresh Optive Advanced Preservative-Free Eye Drops
If this one seems cliche – it’s because it’s that good. There really is no alternative.
And, if you didn’t know, you can put the little cap back on it and make it last 2 days or so. Otherwise, it has less than a 24-hour shelf life after you open it.
I do a dot in each eye before bed. A dot in each eye in the morning.
Done and done.
Okay, fine, some days I do more than 2x a day – but since these are preservative-free, my doctor has assured me I’ll be just fine.
When it comes to these, you want the plus. It’s pretty simple way: you don’t have to wash it off.
I also use these on my son who gets chalazions and styes. It’s a side effect for having the longest eyelashes anyone has ever seen.
There pediatric opthmalogists have told us these are the best for what he has and now I use them, too. I actually find that I can use one side on my son and then the other on myself to make them last longer.
I take a lot of supplements. Was I thrilled when I found out that this one required me to take another 3 pills a day?
Was I more excited about it when I saw it actually worked?
This eye nutrition supplement combines three powerhouse oils known to increase eye health and lubrication: organic flaxseed, fish oil and vitamin E.
One of my old eye doctors told me about it and I haven’t stopped taking it since.
In fact, when I get lazy and stop taking it – my eyes remind me.
I just added this to my routine as an upgrade to the heat only mask I used for years (see below). I’ve been getting a lot of headaches behind the eyes, probably due to dryness, so this mask has both heat and cold options.
The mask itself is super soft and adjustable. This set comes with these velcro disks that you just put on. You can heat the steam ones in the microwave first and you can keep the ice ones in the freezer until you need them. So, I just take them out of the freezer, pop them on the mask and then lay back and relax. I’ll play some quiet music or a funny show.
If you find darkness to be your friend when you have a migraine or headache, you’ll love how dark this mask makes things without having to close blinds, etc.
They have a weighted mask option, as well as heatable eye discs and they all go in the same mask. I loved mine so much, I bought one as a Christmas gift for my father-in-law who gets terrible migraines. I bought both of us the set that comes with both cold and hot eye discs and the mask.
CHECK OUT THE STEAM & ICE MANTA MASK SET HERE.
Here’s the original, microwaveable eye mask I had in this spot before. It is so soothing when your eyes get super inflamed and start screaming at you.
Or, if you are having allergies, sinus inflammation, or just an unusually dry day – a few minutes minutes with this on your face is so soothing and really helps your eyes start to get with the program.
Click on the mask image above to check it out on Amazon.
I love love loooooooove my humidifier.
In fact, we all do – so we have one in each bedroom! Nobody wants to share their humidifiers around here!
I run mine almost every night. I really love the way the cool mist helps with the inflammation in my sinuses. It soothes my eyes, my throat, my dry mouth – everything.
This particular one has perfect reviews, holds enough water for a couple nights and also has a dial that allows you to customize the steam.
If you’re wondering why I’m including a reusable water bottle in this list it’s because most people do not drink enough water. For those of us with Sjogren’s – it is even more imperative to drink extra water to make up for what our body isn’t doing naturally.
Plus, water flushes toxins, which is another thing people with autoimmune diseases aren’t doing enough of.
I like picking water bottles that are pretty, because then I don’t mind carrying them around and they remind me to drink more. It’s like a little accountability partner staring at you all day.
8. Coconut Oil Eyelid Wash:
This super gentle eyelid wash has tea tree and coconut oil to gently cleanse, moisturize and improve itching and inflammation.
I mean, I love all those things.
Super non-toxic, without a whole list of junk, designed by an eye doctor so it’s safe, and has great reviews.
Treating dry eyes is more than just putting something in your eye – it also means protecting your eyes from additional conditions that can stress and inflame the eye, resulting in more dryness.
You feel me?
That’s why you want to wear blue light blocking glasses or add blue light blocking technology to your next eyeglass prescription.
There are so many super cute, affordable blue light blocking glasses, I just happen to think these ones are really cute and under $20. If you’re interested, you can read more about blue light blocking glasses here.
Have you tried any of these for your dry eyes? Have a tip of your own to share? If you’ve tried everything for awhile and nothing helps, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about a prescription like Restassis. They’re coming out with new things all the time, too, and you never know when something will be right for you.
I hope this gives you some new ideas to try, friends.
To our health,