Top Natural Remedies for Dry Eyes - Internal and External Applications

| Modified on Feb 15, 2024
Castor Oil
Posted by Vaxine (Bainbridge, Ny) on 03/12/2022

I have dry eyes. Lately my eyes were worse and with cold weather didn't help. Went to the eye Dr. due to the furnaces running more because of really cold weather. I tried cold pressed castor oil without hexane. One drop in each eye at night. Couldn't believe it! Two days later and ever since unbelievable great results. Will always use it. Hope this can help someone. else.

Oil Pulling
Posted by Kayle (San Diego) on 11/26/2016

I saw 7 doctors for dry, inflamed, red, itchy eyes. Total waste of $ and time as usual. My dry eyes were really bad at night I had to wake up several times a night and use drops. I read about oil pulling and that you should do it longer for severe cases. I considered my case severe.

I mixed 1 big teaspoon of organic virgin coconut oil and 3 drops of oregano oil together. I oil pulled for 45 minutes a night and sometime I would do it twice a day. I also started alkalizing twice a day (squeezed lemon juice, baking soda in glass of water).

Oil pulling naturally CURED my red, severe dry itchy eyes, and my brain fog is gone as well something seven doctor could not cure!

Baking Soda
Posted by Dave (Fountain Inn, Sc) on 06/18/2013

Had dry eyes for years and in my case found it was acid related. Tried lots of remedies but the best is to dissolve a third teaspoon baking soda into a half cup of purified water. For safety sake, boil the water and let cool. Dab with clean cloth onto eyelids; repeat a minute later. I repeat: Apply to eye LIDS. Keep eyes closed until dry. The alkaline water will counter the acidic condition on eye surface.

I drink then the remainder of the baking soda water to offset my acidic system.

If I drink coffee, the dry eye problem is worse. Eating acidic foods also worsens the dry eye.

The point is: my dry eye condition was being caused by an acidic system. I had been diagnosed by an opthomologist with "dry eye" and the solution was to counter the acid in the body which I suppose had caused the dryness.

Castor Oil
Posted by Joan (New York City) on 10/22/2015

I am 74 years old. I was diagnosed with blepharitis and dry eyes many years ago. Over the years I was noncompliant and never washed my lids with baby shampoo or used warm compresses. I rarely used natural tears. Since (a bad allergy season) June of this year my eyes worsened drmatically. They have been swollen, very bloodshot, with constant tearing..etc.

After 4 visits to the eyes doctors, and they prescribing Zylet, Restasis, Lastacaft, and too many other medications to list here, nothing brought me relief. I have been in touch with Dr. Yang of TheraLife Eye in California. She advised to stop using baby shampoo, that it is a detergent and more irritating to the eyes. I have also been taking Sea Buckthorn caps, Omega 3, Genteal Gel, and natural tears. I stopped washing my lids with baby shampoo.

Last evening, I dabbed cold press castor oil around my eyes. When I woke this morning the swelling and irritation was improved 75%. I will continue this, as it has brought me relief.

Meibomian Gland Expression
Posted by Kwee Ping (Turkey ) on 08/16/2020 1 posts

I have been experiencing dry eyes for more than 6 months and no matter how many times I drip eye drops into my eyes a day, they just feel dry and uncomfortable because these eye drops just get evaporated right away. I came to earthclinic to find a solution and read from one reader who wrote about this being a common problem for women in their menopausal age (that's me) and about the function of the Meibomian gland.

I then did looked up on the internet about this gland and chance upon a website whereby a Dr Mckellar has produced a short video to show patients how to express their own Meibomian gland. I tried it right away, true and behold, I found immediate release. Please try it for yourselves and I hope it will work for you like it has worked for me. Very simple to do, too!

Here is the link

Maqui Berry Extract
Posted by Viola (Sparks, Nv) on 10/06/2020

I don't see anyone talking about this yet.

After 20 years of post-lasik dry eyes and trying many remedies, none of which provided satisfactory results and most of which were a real nuisance, I tried Maqui berry extract and experienced same day and ongoing relief with just one dose in the morning.

The second day I happened to yawn and actually produced tears.

This is nothing less than miraculous for me. I highly recommend you check it out.

Posted by Maureen (Illinois) on 06/16/2018 1 posts

Thank you so much, Dave, for posting this remedy, which a friend of mine found here and told me about. I take thyroid medication which makes aging dry eyes even drier. I was ready to give up wearing contact lenses and switch to glasses because after being awake for a few hours, my eyes burned badly and drops weren't helping. The first time I tried it, I thought my eyes were less dry but I wasn't sure. I applied it to my lids again after removing my contact lenses before bed. Day 2, it wasn't until I was going through my nightly ritual of removing my contact lenses that I realized I'd gone the whole day without any problems. They didn't burn and weren't uncomfortable at all.

I don't know how or why this works, but it does. If people have tried it and it's not working, wait a few days, or try applying it to your lids, two or three times during the day. It may be different for different people and aloe vera gel doesn't hurt anything.

I put a small drop (smaller than a pea) on my little finger and dab the other little finger into it to apply to both eyelids. I just keep rubbing it in until it feels like it's been absorbed. It will remain tacky initially, but will eventually dry.

For those asking about brands, I've used both drugstore generic brand and Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel that I picked up from Walmart. Both work the same.

Baking Soda
Posted by Rob (Cape Hatteraas, NC) on 03/20/2022

I have redness in the corner of my left eye. I have had it over a year. My eye also produces and lot of sand and grit. My left eye always feels tired even after just waking up I read about adding 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda to an 4 ounce glass of water and splashing it in my eye and drinking it. After doing this, almost immediately, my eye felt better! Can't recommend it enough:)

Castor Oil
Posted by Beth (Palmyra, Nj) on 09/15/2020

I was experiencing stinging eye pain and also flashes of jolting pain in my temples and other head areas. I was diagnosed with dry eye and told to purchase a Pharma product for eye lubrication. Instead I used a very small drop of organic unrefined castor oil in each eye inside the bottom lid at night and again in the morning. All symptoms disappeared after the first dose. I continue to use this routine with 100% success.

Black Currant Seed Oil
Posted by Art (California ) on 03/19/2017 2076 posts

I've had dry eyes for quite a few years and it has varied in intensity but the overall trend has remained to dryer over time. I mainly have the problem at night and when I wake in the morning it can be quite difficult to open my eyes as they are so dry. Applying eye drops helps, but they are more of a band aid that needs to be replaced regularly and don't seem to do anything to stop or reduce the problem.

I had read that fish oil can be helpful for dry eyes, but I have taken fish oils at up to 6 grams per day and didn't notice any improvement. I also tried using a higher quality castor oil around my eyes but not directly in them and that helped, but castor oil can be messy and it will rub off on your pillow, so not very convenient.

More recently I was experimenting with black currant seed oil capsules for another reason. I started noticing that my morning eye dryness seemed to be diminishing and somedays was not a problem at all. I discontinued the black currant seed oil and my eye dryness seemed to return so I started taking it again and the dryness seems to be diminishing again.

Based on this experience I decided to read about black currant seed oil and see if there were any reports suggesting it could help dry eyes.
I did not find any studies directly linking black currant seed oil and dry eye reduction or elimination. In looking at the label on my bottle of BCSO, I noticed that it has a fairly high gamma linolenic acid (GLA) content in the 14 to 17% area, so I decided to see if GLA has shown benefit for dry eyes and I found this on PubMed:

Cornea. 2003 Mar;22(2):97-101.
Systemic linoleic and gamma-linolenic acid therapy in dry eye syndrome with an inflammatory component.

Barabino S1, Rolando M, Camicione P, Ravera G, Zanardi S, Giuffrida S, Calabria G.
Author information
To evaluate the efficacy and anti-inflammatory activity of systemic linoleic (LA) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which decrease chronic inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, on the ocular surface of patients with keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
In a randomized clinical trial, 26 patients with aqueous-deficient keratoconjunctivitis sicca were consecutively selected from patients presenting to Department of Neurosciences, Ophthalmology and Genetics, University of Genoa. The diagnosis was based on dry eye symptom survey score, Schirmer-1 test values, positive vital staining with lissamine green, and fluorescein break-up time (FBUT). All patients had ocular surface inflammation based on HLA-DR expression, a major histocompatibility class II antigen, on epithelial bulbar conjunctiva samples. The subjects were randomly divided into two groups of 13 patients each. The study group received tablets containing LA (28.5 mg) and GLA (15 mg) twice daily for 45 days and used tears; the control group received a tear substitute and a placebo tablet for 45 days.
Statistically significant changes in symptoms (p < 0.005), lissamine green staining (p < 0.005), and ocular surface inflammation (p < 0.05) occurred in the study group compared with controls. HLA-DR expression varied from 58.5 +/- 14.1% positive conjunctival cells to 41.3 +/- 18.9% in the treated group and from 61.4 +/- 21.9% to 58.0 +/- 13.3% in the controls. No statistically significant difference between groups was found for FBUT and the Schirmer-1 test.
Therapy with LA and GLA and tear substitutes reduces ocular surface inflammation and improves dry eye symptoms. Long-term studies are needed to confirm the role of this new therapy for keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
PMID: 12605039


Cornea. 2013 Oct;32(10):1297-304. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e318299549c.
Long-term Supplementation With n-6 and n-3 PUFAs Improves Moderate-to-Severe Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca: A Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Trial.

Sheppard JD Jr1, Singh R, McClellan AJ, Weikert MP, Scoper SV, Joly TJ, Whitley WO, Kakkar E, Pflugfelder SC.
Author information
Supplementation with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has been found to decrease the production of disease-relevant inflammatory mediators that are implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic dry eye. This study evaluated the effect of a supplement containing both GLA and n-3 PUFAs on signs and symptoms of moderate-to-severe keratoconjunctivitis sicca in postmenopausal patients.
This multicenter, double-masked placebo-controlled clinical trial enrolled 38 patients (both eyes) with tear dysfunction who were randomized to supplemental GLA + n-3 PUFAs or placebo for 6 months. Disease parameters, including Ocular Surface Disease Index, Schirmer test, tear breakup time, conjunctival fluorescein and lissamine green staining, and topographic corneal smoothness indexes (surface asymmetry index and surface regularity index), were assessed at baseline and at 4,12, and 24 weeks. The intensity of dendritic cell CD11c integrin and HLA-DR expression was measured in conjunctival impression cytologies.
The Ocular Surface Disease Index score improved with supplementation and was significantly lower than placebo (21 ± 4 vs. 34 ± 5) after 24 weeks (P = 0.05, n = 19 per group). The surface asymmetry index was significantly lower in supplement-treated subjects (0.37 ± 0.03, n = 15) than placebo (0.51 ± 0.03, n = 16) at 24 weeks (P = 0.005). Placebo treatment also significantly increased HLA-DR intensity by 36% ± 9% and CD11c by 34% ± 7% when compared with supplement treatment (n = 19 per group, P = 0.001,24 weeks). Neither treatment had any effect on tear production, tear breakup time, or corneal or conjunctival staining.
Supplemental GLA and n-3 PUFAs for 6 months improved ocular irritation symptoms, maintained corneal surface smoothness, and inhibited conjunctival dendritic cell maturation in patients with postmenopausal keratoconjunctivitis sicca.Clinical Trial Registration-URL: Unique identifier: NCT00883649.
PMID: 23884332 DOI: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e318299549c
[Indexed for MEDLINE]


Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2009 Aug;247(8):1039-50. doi: 10.1007/s00417-009-1080-z. Epub 2009 May 5.
Efficacy of a 2-month dietary supplementation with polyunsaturated fatty acids in dry eye induced by scopolamine in a rat model.

Viau S1, Maire MA, Pasquis B, Grégoire S, Acar N, Bron AM, Bretillon L, Creuzot-Garcher CP, Joffre C.
Author information
This study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of dietary n-6 and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in dry eye in a rat model.
Female Lewis rats were fed with diets containing (1) gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), (2) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) + docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), or (3) GLA + EPA + DHA, for 2 months before the induction of dry eye using a continuous delivery of scopolamine and during scopolamine treatment. Two, 10 and 28 days after dry-eye induction, clinical signs of corneal dryness were evaluated in vivo using fluorescein staining. MHC II expression and mucin rMuc5AC production in the conjunctival epithelium were evaluated by immunostaining. Lipids and prostaglandins (PGs) E(1) and E(2) were analysed from the exorbital lacrimal gland (LG).
Dietary PUFAs minimised the occurrence of corneal keratitis 28 days after induction of dry eye. The decrease in mucin production observed on the conjunctival epithelium was partially prevented by EPA + DHA supplementation after 2 days of scopolamine treatment, as well as by GLA and GLA + EPA + DHA diets after 10 days of treatment. The overexpression of MHC II in the conjunctival epithelium caused by dry eye induction was significantly reduced only with the GLA + EPA + DHA diet after 28 days of treatment. Dietary PUFAs were incorporated into phospholipids of the exorbital LG. Induction of dry eye was associated with a significant increase in PGE(1) and PGE(2) levels in the exorbital LG, which was inhibited by dietary EPA + DHA at 10 days (for PGE(2)) and 28 days (for PGE(1)).
Dietary GLA, EPA and DHA significantly interfered with lipid homeostasis in the exorbital LG and partially prevented the course of dry eye. In particular, our results demonstrate the efficacy of the combination of n-6 and n-3 PUFAs.
PMID: 19415319 DOI: 10.1007/s00417-009-1080-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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So based on these abstracts and my experience it appears that GLA is useful for dry eyes and fish oil may also work well with it, but fish oil alone was not helpful for me. Also of note is that linoleic acid (LA) may work together with GLA to help ameliorate dry eyes. With this information I looked for a supplement that may be potentially better than black currant seed oil and that supplement would be borage oil as it contains a higher percent(24%) of GLA and it also contains LA. Borage oil also has antiinflammatory properties as determined by multiple studies and consequently offers other health benefits beside alleviating dry eyes. On my next supplement order I may add the borage oil to see if it is similar or better than black currant seed oil for amelioratimg dry eyes.

This is what I used:

This will probably be the one I use next for the experiment:


Castor Oil
Posted by Sridhar (India) on 11/15/2015

Tell me in detail castor oil means which one? *hexane free? or pure organic cold pressed is enough?

Castor Oil
Posted by Bob A (Mcdonough, Georgia, Usa) on 09/25/2012

[YEA] I was unable to drive or even walk due to "dry eye" syndrome caused by a "heavy pollen season"' here in Georgia, USA. I was told to treat it with "gel" eye drops every 2 hours, costing $10 for a tiny bottle. After 7 weeks and NO improvement in my sight, my brother suggested I try a home remedy.

I tried 2 drops of cold pressed, cold processed castor oil every night in an 8-oz bottle. The thick, oozy liquid felt like molasses, but the next day I received a pleasant surprise: I could see better than I had in days! Every day improved, until by the 10th day, my eyes were healed- and the "dry eye" never returned! I cancelled my eye doctor visits and never went back. Never once did I notice the slightest side effect.

The 8-oz bottle of good castor oil costs only $7, with enough product to treat 1000 eyes! Just have a little faith in Earth Clinic. I do!

Castor Oil
Posted by Mary (Utica, New York) on 12/28/2020

I have severe dry eyes. The reason is Meiboamoan Glands are not only NOT working, many are atrophied. Dead! So believe me when I say I have tried everything.

One thing has helped tremendously. Castor oil, at night. My condition is very bad. Here's what I do:

  • First I put castor oil on my lids and around the eye area.
  • Then I put a generous amount in my eyes.
  • I top this treatment with a plastic wrap (mask) on top of my eyes and upper face.

So much better, cheaper and comfortable than moisture googles. The plastic wrap stays on all night. Most of the castor oil is absorbed in the skin. In the morning, I use the hot washcloth method on my eyes and use my xiidra drops.

If it hurts bad enough you will try this, and will be happy you did! I promise.

Baking Soda
Posted by Dave (Fountain Inn, Sc) on 01/10/2017

I've found that my burning eyes could be helped by applying a solution of Baking Soda in water to eyelids and get instant relief. And a while back my sister reminded me that my grandmother (who lived to 103) would start her day off with Baking soda in water and wash her eyes out with the solution...not just applying to eyelids. I've been doing that for a few weeks now and find my eyes don't burn nearly as much, even when I've had too much acid foods during the day (coffee, Tex-mex).

Black Seed Oil
Posted by Tammy (Las Vegas, Nevada) on 02/18/2016

Black Seed Oil in just a few days relieved my terribly dry eyes. They were so bad that I had to use ointment in them at night, sometimes if I didn't, when I would wake up they would be so painful and feel like they were ripping. I had an antibiotic ointment by the side of my bed, and I would put over the counter ointment in my eyes regularly. I was amazed that in just a few days, taking a tiny dosage (1/4 teaspoon) of black seed oil, I had no trouble with dry eyes at all when I woke up in the morning! I do not know if I have Sjogren's, but I do have some of the symptoms, I just haven't been tested yet.

Baking Soda
Posted by Dave (Fountain Inn, Sc) on 06/26/2015

Hello Rhonda,

Baking Soda for Eye Lids replaced need for eye drops...

That was my suggestion and really one of the best remedies I've come across; eye burning or eye irritation can cause havoc. Glad you found it effective.

As a reminder to folks...use a quarter teaspoon in a cup of water. Dissolve...then dab on eye lids....close eyes to do this. Then take a paper towel and wipe off, and reapply keeping eyes closed for a few seconds. The alkaline neutralizes the acid in eyes and that is very effective in lots of eye irritation cases.

Baking Soda
Posted by Dave (Fountain Inn, S.c.) on 04/26/2016


  • This might be me you were writing to. I have been using baking soda mixed in water and gently applying to closed eyes ...eyelids... for a number of years now. Dry eye situation is much improved. Whenever I have too much coffee or too many acidic products if I use the baking soda and water this always helps immensely and usually completely relieves me of the difficulty. You asked which quantity is correct. There is no certain amount but I typically use about a third of a teaspoon baking soda and a half glass of water. It can be less it can be more. Whatever suits you.

Aloe Vera, Avoid Coffee
Posted by Terry (Connecticut) on 04/23/2014

I had such horrible dry eyes. My vision was so blurred and I was getting no help from drops or ointments. When I went for an eye exam they had to reapply the drops a few times because they were so dry and itchy. I read your suggestion to use aloe Vera gel on the lids......I cannot believe how wonderful my eyes feel. Thank you.

Aloe Vera, Avoid Coffee
Posted by Dave (Fountain Inn, Sc) on 09/24/2011


Two recommendations:

I have suffered from dry eye for over twenty years and have tried dozens of various otc drops. The very best solution to the problem I have found is very inexpensive: aloe vera (I use a high quality one) annointed on the lids of the eyes. Not dropped into the eye but on the lids. Aloe is, of course, alkaline and I believe what is happening is that the aloe is netralizing an acidic condition. I was put onto the idea of putting the drops of aloe onto the eye lid by my opthomologist who had given me a prescription for eye lid drops to deal with dry eye. But I found the aloe vera worked better and at little expense. I usually apply three or four times daily or as needed.

My second recommendation is to be careful for coffee consumption, both in regular and de-caf form... The acid in the coffee is murder on sensitive eyes. I have found a direct correlation between "burning eyes" during the day and whether I've had coffee that morning. Teas don't seem to be so bad.

Castor Oil
Posted by Jennysmom2 (Idaho) on 10/23/2015

Hi, I am glad you have found relief. I use castor oil in my eyes from time to time. I don't know about the other medications, but I just wanted to comment that Restasis contains castor oil. Just another example of drug companies trying to make money off of us when natural remedies are at our fingertips for pennies. Best wishes