I’ve had my fair share of encounters with eye irritation over the years. Something about eyeshadows and eyeliners with a pink or purple hue makes my eyes itchy, swollen, irritated, the whole 9 yards. (Though of course it has taken me more occasions than I care to admit to stop trying them out anyway.)
My experiences suffering from irritated eyes got a LOT better once I began learning about home remedies for soothing eye irritation. I’ve tried several of these and not only were they helpful, they were also incredibly easy to make and very affordable! So I thought I would share some of those home remedies for eye irritation with you, in case you should ever need them. (Even if, like me, you really should know better by now…) ;-)
Home Remedies For Red, Itchy Eyes
1. Cold Compress
Splash ice water on the face and eyes. Then, take ice packs, ice cubes, or a packaged frozen food item, wrap them in a clean cotton towel and place it on closed eyelids. This helps relieve swelling around the eyes and itching.
Add 1 teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers (or a teabag) to 1 cup of boiled water. Steep for 5 minutes, strain, let cool, and use as an eyewash. May also be used as a cold compress.
3. Cucumber Slices
This is one of the most common remedies for eye irritation and inflammation. Cut two slices of cucumber, place in ice cold water for 10 minutes and place them on your closed eyelids for 10 more minutes.
Cucumbers have powerful antioxidants and flavinoids that are thought to reduce irritation. Closing and resting your eyes also helps with overall discomfort.
4. Tea Bags
Put a moist green or black teabag on the affected eye for several minutes. Repeat several times a day. If your eye is swollen, moisten the teabag with cool water. Tea contains bioflavonoids that fight viral and bacterial infections and can help reduce inflammation. The tannic acid in the tea will soothe the itching. A weak solution of tea may also be used as an eyewash.
5. Drink Plenty of Water
If your eyes are irritated, your vision is blurry, and/or it feels like there is something in your eye, you are likely experiencing symptoms of dry eye. The best way to treat dry eyes is to rehydrate your eyes and your body by drinking a lot of water.
6. Chilled Spoons
Place four metal spoons in a glass of ice water. When chilled, place one spoon on each eye. As the spoons begin to warm, switch them with the spoons chilling in the glass of ice water. Continue until swelling subsides. The cool temperature of the metal spoons constricts the blood vessels, which helps decrease redness and puffiness in the eye area.
7. Witch Hazel
American Indians used witch hazel for inflammation. Use a gauze pad or cottonballs soaked in witch hazel as a compress over closed eyes. Witch hazel has astringent properties and will help reduce the swelling.
8. Aloe Vera Juice
Freeze aloe vera juice and then mix with a little bit of cold water. Using a clean piece of cotton, place this mixture over your eyes. VERY soothing!!
9. Castor Oil
Purchase a clean dropper, wash it thoroughly with soapy water, and rinse well. Suck 100-percent pure castor oil into the clean dropper. Administer one drop of oil into each eye before going to sleep (vision will be clouded for a while because of the oil, but it is used up overnight.) If it’s difficult for you to put drops in your eye, put a Q-tip in the bottle and run the oil along your upper eyelid. Some of the oil will seep into your eyes while you sleep.
Castor oil helps in reducing the dryness of the eyes by improving production of lipid in the eyes and inhibiting tear evaporation. The anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil help in reducing swelling and redness of the eyes.
10. Warm Milk and Honey
Honey has amazing anti-bacterial properties. Making an eyewash with warm milk and honey can help to soothe and treat conjunctivitis. Use equal parts of both honey and milk, making sure the milk is warm (not boiling). Mix together the remedy and keep stirring until the honey becomes smooth in the milk. Use an eyedropper and drop 2-3 drops into your eye several times a day. Alternatively, you can use this mixture as a compress. The anti-bacterial properties in the honey and the soothing effects of the milk will start to work immediately. Remember that with any home remedy, you want to ensure that your utensils and containers are sanitized before you begin.
11. Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix 1 Tbsp pure apple cider vinegar with a cup of water. Use this mixture to wash your eyes by using a cotton ball. Use apple cider vinegar which contains “mother”. “Mother” is malic acid which fights against bacterial infections.
Grate a potato and place on the eye. It is an astringent and will help reduce the inflammation. The potato may also be made into a poultice and placed over the eye for 15 minutes. Do this for three successive nights.
13. Rose Water
Rose water is also helpful when a person has sore eyes. The procedure is simple, just take a cotton ball soaked in rose water and place it over the eyes. This will provide immediate relief and most of the burning will be gone after about five minutes.
14. Artificial Tears
Drops will soothe the eye and help flush it out. Artificial tears are also a good way to lubricate your irritated eyes. Add two drops of artificial tears twice a day. It will help moisten the eyes. However, do not use lubricating drops that contain preservatives for more than 3 to 4 times a day. You can also create your own saline solution by adding one teaspoon of table salt to a liter (or quart) of distilled water. Remember that with any home remedy, you want to ensure that your utensils and containers are sanitized before you begin.
15. Cold Bread
And last but not least….believe it or not, you can place cold bread on your eyelids and it will help reduce irritation, itchiness and inflammation. BELIEVE IT! It works! I tried it!
These remedies should help most minor eye irritations, but be sure to consult a doctor or eye specialist if the condition worsens. More serious eye conditions or infections can be highly contagious, and may require the use of antibiotics.
And a final NOTE TO SELF…..stay away from pink and/or purple eye makeup! DUH! :-)