Eye-care products can contain chemicals that may worsen Blepharitis and dry eye symptoms. Opting for a natural approach to relieve your symptoms can be a great approach.
According to Dr Bartholomew:
The eye is a self-cleaning organ. Many artificial products, when over-used can do more harm than good.
These 5 Home Remedies will return your eyes to their natural 'self-cleaning' state.
1) Warm Compresses
A warm compress raises the temperature, turning cloggy oils around the eyelid into liquid. This uses the body's natural cleaning mechanism (tears and oils) to flush out debris.
A warm compress also loosens up debris that may be stuck to the eyelid. Doing this before scrubbing increases the effectiveness of your eyelid hygiene routine.
There are a range of ways to apply heat to your eyes, including:
Pouring warm water onto a table spoon
Soaking a washcloth with warm water
Using a Bruder Mask, which contains beads releases clean, moist heat to keep the eyes hydrated
How much warm compress should you be doing? In the first two weeks, 4x per day, 5mins at a time. Followed by 2x a day for the next month, then 2x a week after this. Learn more about how warm compresses can benefit your eyes here.
2) Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a natural inflammatory, antimicrobial and antibacterial solution. It has been used for thousands of years by Indigenous Australians to help wounds heal and cure infections.
Because the skin around the eye is delicate, aim to dilute 50% of the pure tea tree oil. This may be mixed with coconut oil or olive oil and applied to the area of inflammation.
Besides reducing inflammation and killing bacteria, tea tree oil can cure a mite infestation. Demodex infestation is a common cause of Blepharitis affecting all age groups. Tea tree oil works by dislodging mites from the base of the eyelashes. Once mites are dislodged, they can be removed through scrubbing. The tea tree oil helps to kill the eggs at the base of the lashes.
If you aren't responding to usual treatments, it might be worth trialing solutions that contain tea tree oil compounds.
3) Omega-3 Fatty Acids
You are what you eat! Having a diet full of processed foods and alcohol increases inflammation around the body. This can worsen Blepharitis and Dry Eye symptoms.
Omega-3 eases inflammation around the body by inhibiting hormones that spark the reaction.
Since your body can't manufacture Omega-3, it's important you incorporate these foods into your diet:
Fish - Trout, Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel, Tuna
Nuts - Walnuts
Seeds - Chia seeds
Oils - Flaxseed oil
What about Omega-3 supplements such as Fish Oil capsules?
Dr Hope Riciotti and Dr Hur recommends avoiding non-prescription supplements since they are prone to spoilage. Instead, add foods (above) that naturally contain Omega-3.
Research also shows Omega-3 oils improve the quality of tears. A healthy eye, is a well-lubricated one. When our Meibomian glands don’t produce enough oil, tears evaporate quickly. This can cause Dry Eye Syndrome and Blepharitis. Omega-3 fatty acids assist oil production around the eyelid. This helps keep your eye lubricated to reduce inflammation.
The advent of computer screens, televisions and mobile phones puts strain on our eyes.
We don't blink as often when staring at a screen. When we don't blink our glands aren't stimulated to produce natural oils and tears. The blinking rate decreases with age, especially when engaged with near vision tasks.
By intentionally blinking, nerves are stimulated to allow the natural secretion of oil by the glands.
The following pointers can help stimulate your eye's natural oil production and reduce eye strain:
Put reminders on your computer to blink 20x every hour
Lower your computer screen below your eye-line
Look away from your computer every 30mins
Leave your office or home to get some natural light
How much intentional blinking should you do per day? While performing computer work, it's recommended that you perform the following exercise 20x, four times a day.
5) Give Your Eyes A Proper Clean (Naturally)
Sometimes too much debris blocks the base of the lashes. This requires a thorough clean to unblock the eyelid glands.
Bacterial residue and biofilm (a nasty barrier that creates antibiotic resistance) can accumulate at the base of the eyelashes. This area can be difficult to reach. Some motorised devices, such as BondiEyes can infiltrate the barrier and clean the base of the eyelashes.
The disposable sponge used for BondiEyes is soaked with saline, or a natural eyelid cleansing solution to remove the bacteria and soothe the eyes.
Removing stubborn debris, unblocks glands and restores the ability to produce healthy tears.
Medications and certain prescription solutions may be required in certain circumstances. But for most people, Blepharitis can be managed well with natural home remedies.
Good eyelid hygiene, tea tree oil solutions and a diet containing Omega 3s are great home remedies for Blepharitis and Dry Eye symptoms.