Home remedies for eye irritation are the cheapest, and easiest way to relieve your suffering quickly. But that doesn’t mean they’re any less viable than pricier treatments. The old classics exist for a reason; no one watches the new Grinch movie after all. They want OG Jim Carrey.
But watching Jim Carrey, or any other task that involves staring at screens, means your eyeballs can get tired and quickly become irritated. Screens aren’t the only thing that can cause your eyes pain either. Your makeup, being out too long in the sun, or getting something in your eye are all leading causes of eye irritation.
Fortunately, it’s usually harmless, but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it isn’t painful. Luckily there are plenty of tips, tricks and home remedies for eye irritation.
In this article we’ll cover some simple methods and tricks for soothing irritated eyes.
What causes irritated eyes?
Our poor little eyes are constantly exposed to the big, terrifying world around us. While that’s bad enough all on its own, there are also factors that can cause eye pain, damage, or irritation to our eyes. And we’re not talking about watching Elon Musk kill X/Twitter.
Eye irritation can be caused by:
- ☀️ External elements: Light, wind, dust, smoke, etc. Our eyes are one of the most sensitive organs in our body, and most exposed. Our eyelashes protect but don’t fully eliminate these threats. Faced with all this, it’s no wonder they require a bit more care and attention.
- 💻 Spending too much time in front of screens: After several hours of Skyrim, our eyes have to strain to maintain clear vision. This requires additional effort and causes digital fatigue. Especially since the dangerous blue light that emanates from screens doesn't really do them any good either! Eye fatigue has many different symptoms, including eye irritation or watery eyes.
- 📖 Certain activities that require strain on the eyes for a long period of time (reading, crafts, sewing etc.). As with screens, we are straining our eyes over several hours, leading to eye irritation, or dry eye.
- 🧴 Chemicals: For example, chlorine in swimming pools. Products like this are necessary, but can also be aggressive to our eyeballs. Be careful when cleaning or taking a dip in the pool.
- 💄Makeup: Some people can be very sensitive to cosmetic products that contain irritating ingredients. Make sure to test all your makeup products and stop using any that cause irritation or sensitivity. Especially if they’re used near or on your eyes. You don’t want to end up looking like the Joker.
- 👁️Improper use of contact lenses: Prolonged wear, unsuitable and/or poor-quality lenses, or even forgetting to massage your eyes before wearing can cause irritation.
- 👀 Certain diseases such as conjunctivitis or eye infections: These types of pathologies are accompanied by various symptoms including eye irritation, pink eye or itchy eyes.
- 🥱 A lack of sleep (trouble falling asleep, insomnia, etc.): when you sleep poorly at night, you're tired the next day, and so are your eyes. It can be hard to change your routine and get a better night’s sleep, but our guide can useful steps you can implement to improve your sleep quality.
- 🤧 Allergies: Upon contact with the eye, allergens irritate sensitive tissues, which can cause inflammation and other tingling. There's nothing like suffering from an allergy to irritate your eyes. Hayfever sufferers in particular will know what we mean.
- 🌵 Dry eyes: Poor quality or a reduced number of tears are both symptoms of dry eyes. Dry eyes cause visual discomfort that can sometimes lead to irritation.
Common symptoms of eye irritation include:
- 🔥 A burning sensation
- 😖 Itching
- 😴 Tired
- 🔴 Redness
- 😫 Tingling
- 😭 Tears
Home remedies for eye irritation
The good news is that eye irritation is very common, and rarely serious.
There are also several simple and effective methods for preventing eye irritation before it takes hold.
❄️ Cold compress
Cold compresses help reduce inflammation and relieve irritation.
How to use a cold compress
Simply soak the compresses in cold water and place them on your red, irritated eyes for around ten minutes.
You can repeat this as often as necessary.
To make it even more effective and soothing, try using cornflower water instead of regular tap water on the compress. Cornflower is known for its decongestant and soothing action on dry eyes.
🍵 Chamomile infusion
A popular drink and infusion for reliving eye irritation and fighting red, tired eyes.
Chamomile is known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.
How to use chamomile
Prepare a chamomile infusion hot water and tea bags, leaving it to cool.
Once that's done, soak your compress in it and apply one to each of your closed eye for a few minutes (10-15), preferably while lying down so you can pretend you’re at a spa.
You can also use this solution as a cold compress by refrigerating the tea bags before applying them to your eyes.
This home remedy will feel even more like a spa day than the teabags. Cucumber has been party of beauty regimes since Antiquity.
Thanks to its high volume of water and antioxidants, cucumber reduces inflammation and improves circulation.
How to use cucumber to relieve eye irritation
You can feel like Cleopatra, and improve your eye health… all it takes is a few cucumber slices. Cut two thin pieces and place one over each eye for 10 to 15 minutes.
It sounds strange but potatoes are very effective against inflammation and redness. They also reduce dark circles and bags under your eyes so you look better rested, even if you were up till 2am on Baldur’s Gate 3.
How to use potato to reduce eye irritation
Boil em, mash em, stick em on your eyes….
Cut slices of raw potato and place one on each of your closed eyelids.
With its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, honey is a natural remedy that can help treat irritation. It can also be used as a treatment for itching.
How to use honey on your eyes
Firstly, don’t just dollop it onto your closed eyelids. Instead, dilute a teaspoon or pure honey in a little water, mix vigorously and leave it to cool. Once cooled, place a few drops in each eye.
🪴 Aloe vera
This plant has antibacterial and antiseptic properties to prevent irritation, or at least to relieve it.
Using aloe vera on eyes
You can apply a little aloe vera gel directly to the eye and leave it for about a quarter of an hour. Then simply rinse with lukewarm water.
🌹 Rose water
Known for its many benefits on the skin, rose water has a soothing effect, ideal for relieving eye redness, itching and other irritations.
How to use rose water
Soak two cotton pads in rose water and leave them on your eyelids for 10 minutes.
😍 Eye massage
It might seem a strange part of your body to massage, but giving your eyes a small rub down really helps improve eye strain and irritation.
Massaging your eyes
A few seconds every day is all you need. Vary up your routine between a 3-point massage, eyeball massage, and under-brow massage to relieve dry and irritated eyes. Try and do this a few times a day if you can.
By regularly massaging around your eyes you can reduce that feeling of fatigue and irritation.
Horus X’s tips to reduce eye irritation
As well as the helpful remedies for eye irritation we’ve mentioned above, there are other simple good habits you can adopt to help prevent further problems in the future.
That way your eagle eyes will be better than Ezio’s.
- 🧼 Wash your eyes regularly: It may seem silly but washing with clean water can do your dry and irritated eyes a lot of good (as long as you don’t get soap in them!). Just rinse them thoroughly, and while holding them open, pat gently with a clean towel. You can also wash your eyes using a serum or saline eye drops that will help flush out any debris. And if you wear eye makeup (or any, really), don’t forget to remove it every night as part of your healthy eye care routine.
- 🐟 Eat foods rich in omega-3: Known for their anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3 is one of your best allies against eye irritation. You can find it in many foods such as fatty fish, nuts, seeds and certain vegetable oils such as rapeseed, flax or walnut oil. Omega-3 has highly beneficial health properties in general, but that doesn’t mean you can start cooking fish in your office kitchen.
- 💧 Drink plenty of water: Tired and irritated eyes are often a sign of dehydration. It is very important to drink water throughout the day, in sufficient quantities. The recommendation is a minimum of 1.5L per day; and beer sadly doesn’t count.
- 🤓 Wear sunglasses: While sunshine is great, your eyeballs aren’t going to get a tan anyway. Luckily, we have a great collection of sunglasses to help protect your eyes, available with normal or polarized lenses.
- 👓 Protect yourself against blue light: Screens are one of the biggest culprits of eye irritation. If you spend a lot of time on the computer or phone, protect yourself from blue light with Horus X’s Office collection. Or for more intense use, our gaming glasses offer the best filtration on the market.
- 💦 Use eye drops: There are different kinds of eye drops and artificial tears available in drug stores, which are very effective in case of irritation. Saline drops, which are very hydrating, help treat symptoms, while others contain ingredients that directly attack the problem. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product packaging and consult with your ophthalmologist or a pharmacist if you’re not sure which eye drops are right for you. They can also do a quick eye exam and provide further recommendations.
- ✅ Use an air humidifier: Dry air can cause eye irritation and pain. An air humidifier at home is a good solution to soothe achy eyes.
- 📵 Reduce your time in front of screens: Eyes and screens are secret mortal enemies. Sped some time without your cellphone, or limit your gaming session to 10 rounds on League of Legends to relax your eyeballs a bit more. If you really can’t stop, blue light blocking glasses will help reduce digital eye strain.
- 🧘Breaks and rest: As prolonged exposure to screens can cause irritation, it’s important to take regular breaks to rest your eyes. For example, you can practice some eye exercises, such as voluntary blinking or the 20-20-20 rule (a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away).
- 💤 Sleep: No need to tell us twice! Sleeping takes care of your eyes, allowing them to get some all-important rest. It’s important your sleeping space is comfortable and ambient to lull you into a restful snooze.
- 🧑⚕️ Consult your ophthalmologist regularly: Most recommendations suggest seeing your ophthalmologist every year, or every 18 months at the very least. For those who have glasses or wear a contact lens, this is an opportunity to check that they are still suitable and for those who do not have them, it is a good time to make sure that all is well health-wise, ocularly.
In this article we’ve covered classic home remedies for eye irritation, and our own personal recommendations. But we’re going to go one step further and also cover the two what-not-to-do’s to avoid making eye irritation even worse:
- 😵 Rubbing them: There’s nothing worse unless you're really trying to hurt yourself! It might feel reliving for a moment, but rubbing your eyes risks worsening the irritation or doing even more damage if it is due to an eye infection.
- Touching them with your fingers: Avoid this as much as possible because it is the best way to transfer allergens from your hands to your eyes. It is these allergens that can cause eye irritation.
When should you consult an optometrist or ophthalmologist?
Eye irritation is a very common and easily treatable phenomenon.
However, it can occasionally be a sign of something more serious. In these cases, it’s important to see a health professional.
We suggest paying a quick visit to your eye doctor, an ophthalmologist or optometrist, if a symptom persists for more than a few days, despite our various tips. If they are accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, dizziness, blurred visions or headaches, then consult a health professional immediately.
Home remedies for eye irritation: Final thoughts
Eye irritation is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to be an inevitable one.
It’s relatively common and affects many people, but there are simple home remedies you can use to treat it.
So before rushing straight to the drug store, try these tips and see if they have any immediate effect on reliving your dry, irritated eyes.
Cold water or chamomile compresses, cucumber, rose water or even an eye massage can be enough to calm irritation. Plus, if you adopt daily good habits, you can prevent further recurrences.
And if of course the problem persists despite all this advice or you experience other symptoms, a quick trip to a health professional remains the best solution.