Spring has sprung, and seasonal allergies have sprung up right alongside it! Aside from my sensitive skin which seems to be allergic to everything, I’ve been pretty blessed in avoiding most other allergies. My husband and kids have not been so lucky, as they all experience seasonal allergies to some degree.
A lot of the time, their seasonal allergies manifest in the form of red, itchy, and irritated eyes. So in order to help them and any of you who might be suffering from irritated eyes, I thought I’d share some great home remedies in today’s blog post! We’ll start by exploring the various causes of red eyes, then we’ll dive into a list of effective at-home eye irritation treatments!
What Causes Red Eyes?
There are many things that can irritate your eyes and leave them looking swollen and bloodshot. Here are just a few of the most common causes of red, itchy eyes:
- Allergens, including pollen, dirt, pet dander, etc.
- Air pollution
- Dry air, like in arid climates or airplanes
- Chemical exposure, like swimming in a chlorinated pool
- Overexposure to sunlight
16 Effective Home Remedies For Itchy, Red Eyes
1. Cold Compress
A cold compress can help relieve swelling around the eyes and reduce itching. Start by splashing a bit of ice water over and around your eyes. Then, wrap some ice packs, ice cubes, or a packaged frozen food item in a clean cotton towel. Place the cold compress on your closed eyelids for several minutes or until the itching subsides.
Chamomile can be very soothing for irritated eyes. Add 1 teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers or a chamomile teabag to 1 cup of boiled water. Steep for 5 minutes, strain, and let the tea cool completely. Pour the cooled tea onto a cotton pad and apply it around your eyes. You can also use the cooled tee in a cold compress!
3. Cucumber Slices
Packed with soothing antioxidants, cucumber slices are a classic remedy for eye irritation and inflammation. Cut two slices of cucumber and place them in ice cold water for 10 minutes to chill them. Then place the chilled cucumber slices on your closed eyelids and relax for 10 minutes.
4. Tea Bags
Tea contains tannic acid that can help soothe itchy eyes. Use a green or black teabag to prepare a cup of tea, then allow the teabag to cool completely. Place the cooled teabag over your eyes one at a time to help soothe itchiness and reduce inflammation.
5. Stay Hydrated
If your eyes are irritated, your vision is blurry, or it feels like there is something in your eye, you may be experiencing symptoms of dry eye. And the best treatment for dry eyes is hydration! Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day to keep your eyes well hydrated and support your general health.
6. Eat More Omega-3s
Make sure you’re getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. These fats are crucial for lubricating your eyes and reducing inflammation. Some good sources of omega-3s include fatty fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts.
7. Chilled Spoons
Chilled metal spoons can help constrict the blood vessels around your eyes, decreasing redness and swelling. 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 out with the spoons that are still chilling in the glass of ice water. Continue this cycle until the swelling subsides.
8. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is an astringent that can be incredibly soothing for irritated eyes, especially if it contains added moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera. Pour some witch hazel onto a cotton pad, and either wipe it over your eyes or rest the pad on your eyes for a few minutes. You’ll notice a difference almost immediately!
9. Aloe Vera
And speaking of aloe vera, you can also use plain aloe vera gel or juice as a remedy for itchy eyes! Frozen aloe vera cubes in particular can soothe a variety of skin irritation, including sunburns. Check out my post about them at the link below to learn more!
10. Castor Oil
Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil, it can help reduce dry eye by improving lipid production and inhibiting tear evaporation, as well as reducing redness and irritation. Castor oil can be applied wherever it is needed. You can apply castor oil drops to your eyes using a clean glass dropper. However, there is always a certain amount of risk when using non-sterile equipment to administer any type of eye drops.
If you’re interested in a sterile option for castor oil eye drops, check out these Refresh Optive Mega-3 Lubricant Eye Drops formulated with castor oil. Regardless of what method you use, only use castor oil drops before you go to bed, as the oil tends to blur your vision slightly until it gets fully absorbed.
11. Warm Milk & Honey
Honey is a great remedy for many minor health issues, because of its soothing effects and antibacterial qualities. Combining honey with warm milk can make this remedy even more soothing! Just combine equal parts of honey and warm milk (which should be warm, but not hot), and stir until smooth.
Saturate two cotton pads with the warm milk and honey mixture and apply them to your closed eyelids. Rest for about 10 minutes or so to let the mixture work its soothing magic.
12. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar with the “mother” can help soothe itchy eyes in two ways. First, the vinegar acts as an astringent to reduce swelling and irritation. Second, the mother is high in malic acid which has antibacterial properties that can fight infection.
To use apple cider vinegar as a remedy for irritated eyes, stir 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into 1 cup of water. Dip a cotton pad or cotton ball into the solution and apply it around your eyes.
Potatoes, as surprising as it sounds, have an astringent effect that can help reduce eye inflammation! Using it can be as simple as placing potato slices over your eyes for 10-15 minutes.
14. Rose Water
Rose water can be really helpful for soothing sore eyes. Just soak a cotton pad in rose water and place it over your eyes. This will provide immediate relief, and most of the soreness and burning should be gone after about five minutes.
15. Artificial Tears
Good old eye drops can soothe irritated eyes and help flush out whatever might be agitating them. Put two drops of artificial tears in twice a day to help moisten and lubricate your eyes. Twice a day should be your max though, as over-using eye drops can create a dependency.
16. Cold Bread
Believe it or not, a piece of cold bread will help reduce irritation, itchiness, and inflammation in irritated eyes. So toss a piece of bread in the fridge, and when it’s nice and cold, place it over your eyes! Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best ones. :-)
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.