Do you keep rubbing your eyes frequently; or keep rushing even when you are fatigued? Your eyes can tell tales of your tiredness. Being awake for long work hours aggravates the condition of red eyes. Subconjunctival hemorrhage (broken blood vessels on sclera), blepharitis (inflamed eyelids), stye (red bump on eyelids), eczema, asthma and allergic rhinitis are just other names of red, irritated and bloodshot eyes. Red eyes occur because our eyes react to dust particles, mold etc. Eyes release histamines after coming in contact with allergens and leads to or swollen blood vessels or other allergies. Main causes of reddening of eyes can be dry eyes, warm climate, prolonged conjunctivitis, wearing contact lenses, allergic reaction (probably from dust and pollens), computer vision syndrome caused by sitting in front of system for long hours), eye injury, corneal ulcer, ocular herpes, uveitis, glaucoma, cold and flu, hormonal changes during pregnancy, smoking, lack of sleep and swimming in chlorinated water. Severe pain, halos in the vision field, blurry vision, and sensitivity to light are some common symptoms of red eyes. Go through the following home remedies to get rid of red eyes.
Home Remedies for Red Eyes
2. Cold and Warm Compress
Wrap few ice cubes in a cotton cloth and keep them over your eyes for a couple of seconds. This natural home remedy prevents red eyes (3).
Fill a bowl with warm water and dip a wash cloth in it. Then, wring it to release the extra water. Now, place the warm compress over your eyes for 5-10 minutes. Rewet the cloth and repeat the process. Rub it on eyelashes as well to remove any crusts (4).
- After applying warm compress, you can also use baby shampoo to wash the eyelids. It also helps remove crusts (5).
3. Rose Water
Rose water is made from Rosa damascena which possess anti inflammatory and anti infective properties, that is why this herbal water can be used as a eye drop to get rid of eye conjunctivitis (6, 7). Soak a cotton ball in rose water and then place them over your eye lids for 15 minutes. Repeat this twice a day.
- Alternatively, dip a cucumber slice in rose water and then place them over your eye lids. The water content in cucumber and cooling effect of rose water efficiently helps get rid eye redness.
- Instead, put 2-3 drops of rose water in your eyes or wash your eyes with it. It works as an antiseptic which cures eye infection and reduces puffiness under eyes (8).
Cucumber has anti inflammatory properties and cooling effect which reduces swelling of red eyes (9, 10). Place a cucumber in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes and then slice it up. Keep one slice over each eyelid for some time. This is an effective remedy that helps get rid of swollen and red eyes.
5. Tea Bags
Refrigerate used tea bags and then place them over your eyes. The tannins present in the tea reduce under eye swelling as tannin possess antimicrobial properties (11). Chamomile tea bags are widely used to treat eye infections (12).
6. Reduce On Screen Time
- Alternatively, adjust your seat such as your eyes are in level with the TV and computer screen.
- Wear anti-glare glasses that are designed especially to reduce eye strain from monitor reflection. Keep your eyes at least 20-30 cm away from the monitor.
7. Balanced diet
- In addition, include vitamin b2, vitamin b6 found in eggs, fresh vegetables, dairy products, whole cereals, sunflower seeds, tuna fish, turkey, asparagus, and yogurt.
- Also, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc in your diet, it’s found in cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries, oranges, cabbage, cantaloupe, spinach, celery).
Note: Around 30 mg of each vitamin must be taken 2-3 times a day for maintaining a healthy equilibrium and to get rid of deficiency that causes red eyes.
Milk protein contains amino acids that has anti inflammatory properties which cures eye infection (17). Soak a cotton pad in some raw cold milk and then rub it over your eyes for at least 15 minutes, two times a day. This compress prevents redness in eyes.
- Take equal quantities of honey and milk and pour 2-3 drops of this mixture into each of your eyes.
9. Salt and Water
Boil some water and add 1 tbsp of salt in it. Use this salty solution to wash out your eyes several times a day for 2-3 days, until the symptoms of red eyes disappear completely (18).
10. Raw Potatoes
For healthy eyes you must consume foods which have high content of vitamins and minerals. Potatoes are a healthy source of Vitamin E which is an antioxidant that keeps eye infection and diseases at bay (19). Alternatively, you can also use thin slices of potato or grate it. Keep it in the refrigerator. Put the chilled slices over your eyes for 15-20 minutes. To obtain best results, perform this remedy before going to sleep.
Trigonella foenum-graecum Diosgenin, a steroidal saponin present in fenugreek reduces inflammation (20). Soak some fenugreek seeds over night (7-8 hours) and then grind them to make a smooth paste. Apply this paste after closing your eyes and keep it for 15-20 minutes. Wash it off. Repeat this procedure for 2-3 days.
- Alternatively, warm and wrap these seeds in cloth, then apply it directly to the eye skin to cure pain and swelling (21).
12. Vegetable Juice
Carrot contains Vitamin A and Beta carotene, spinach is a good source of minerals like Lutein & Zeaxanthin. These minerals and vitamins are important to keep eyes healthy and to control infection (22). Drink fresh vegetable juice. Prepare juice of carrots and spinach and have it on regular basis to check redness and itchiness in eyes.
13. Fennel Seeds
Boil ½ tbsp of fennel seeds in 1 cup of water for 25 minutes. Strain the mixture and let it cool. Use this water to rinse your eyes.
14. Chilled Spoons
Chill 4 steel spoons in a glass of ice water or ice cubes. Or, you can place them in the refrigerator. Put one spoons over each of your eye lid. As the spoons begin to warm, replace them with another set of spoons which are resting in cold water. Repeat this remedy until redness and swelling disappears.
15. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar contains malic acid which plays an important role of curing bacterial infections (25). Mix 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. Take a cotton ball and dip it in the solution. Now, clean your eyes with it. The malic acid found in ACV helps fight the bacterial infections which trigger redness and itching in eyes.
16. Baking Soda
Mix ¼ tbsp of baking soda in ½ cup of water. Rinse your eyes with this mixture and try to keep them open. This will combat the infection that triggers redness in eyes.
17. Cold Bread
Place frozen bread over your eyelids. It lessens inflammation, redness and itching in eyes.
Herbal Remedies for Red Eyes
18. Witch Hazel
Witch Hazel has astringent properties that help reduce swelling and inflammation of eyes (26). Dip cotton balls in extract of witch hazel and use it as a cold compress over your eyes for 10-15 minutes. This will help ease inflammation, redness and swelling in the eyes. Alternatively, you can directly use it to wash your eyes (27).
19. Castor Oil
Put one drop of castor oil in each of your eye lid. Repeat this procedure for 3-4 days until redness fades away (28).
20. Green Tea
Green tea has anti-inflammatory property that is helpful in curing redness, swelling and inflammation of red eyes (29). Boil two green tea bags in a cup of water. Allow it to cool and wash your eyes with this water twice a day for 3 days until the symptoms subside completely.
Alternatively, you can also apply green tea bags directly to the eyes to cure puffiness caused by infection (30).
21. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a medicinal plant which is very popularly used to treat eye infections. Its ethanol and ethyl acetate extracts are used in eye drops to avert inflammation (31). Aloe Vera also possess anti bacterial property which accelerates the treatment of red eyes (32).
Mix 2-3 tbsp of Aloe Vera gel with 1 tbsp of honey and ½ cup of elderberry blossom tea. Rinse your eyes with this solution twice a day for 2-3 days, until the redness fades away.
Bilberry has high amount of flavonoids and antioxidants. The antioxidants increase the blood flow in vessels around eyes, which helps to cure red eyes (33). There is some evidence about bilberry health benefits for retinal disorders (34). Consume bilberry tablets after consulting a physician or put bilberry extract into your eyes twice daily, for 2-3 days till the redness disappears.
23. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is very beneficial for red eyes (35). Its anti inflammatory properties reduce eye swelling caused due to infection (36). To make Chamomile tea, boil some chamomile flowers in 1 cup of water and then strain this mixture. Use this solution to rinse your eyes (37).
- Alternatively, mix 12 drops of tincture to a cup of water and use it to wash your eyes.
Goldenseal is traditionally used in treating eye infections (39). A test tube study was performed which proved that this herb contains a component called berberine which is anti bacterial in nature and thus it also helps fight infection (40). Boil 2 tbsp of goldenseal in a cup of water. Strain this mixture and use it to rinse your eyes when it cools.
- Alternatively, use 2-3 drops of goldenseal tincture as eye drops (41).
25. Raspberry Leaves
Prepare tea by boiling a handful of raspberry leaves. Steep this for a few minutes. Strain and allow it to cool. Apply it as a cold compress over the eyes for 10-15 minutes for 2-3 days. Repeat the process if redness persists.
26. Eyebright Herb
Eyebright herb also known as Euphrasia officinalis L. is very popularly used for treatment of eye disorders. Methanolic extracts of Euphrasia genus has anti inflammatory properties, that is why eye drops made from this herb cures red eye infection (42).
- Drink enough water to maintain the equilibrium of your body.
- Get adequate rest as it helps retain necessary moisture in eyes and prevents redness.
- Wear goggles when you are out or driving to protect your eyes from direct sunlight (43).
- Keep the humidity under control, less than 50% to impede the growth of mold at your place.
- wash your hands frequently (44).
- Never rub your eyes when they are red (45, 46).
- Avoid going out in polluted environment as this may aggravate the symptoms.
- Don’t allow pets in your home as they may cause allergy (47).
- Quit smoking. It significantly increases the risk of dry eye, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, cataract, uveitis and infant eye disease etc.