My eyes are driving me crazy and I thought I’d share what I know with you in case you are feeling the same way right about now. For me, it’s a triple hit from the smoke generated by fires nearby in Colorado, the ragweed pollen and some drywall dust kicked up when I demo’d a fireplace in my new home. If you’re seeking relief from red, irritated, puffy or itchy eyes I can help you with some tips that will soothe them by tonight!
First, you should try to find out what is the reason for your allergic or irritated eyes. When you determine that it’s a lot easier to treat. I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing now to tame the red so that people stop asking if I was up all n night drinking, lol, which I was not I assure you!
1. Dry up.
Take an oral antihistamine such as Loratadine (Claritin). I only take one-third to one-half of the Reditab per day because I don’t need the whole dose. I’m highly responsive to things so I never take a full amount of anything. I am also taking this with Quercetin, which I’ll tell you about momentarily.If you have an interest in chronic allergies or sinusitis, read my other article, 10 Natural Solutions for Allergies and Sinusitis.
After you get the antihistamine on board, proceed to the next step.
2. Wash your eyes.
Irrigate your eye with saline and a sterile eye cup. Your local pharmacy, department store or online e-tailer has Bausch & Lomb’s brand of “eye wash” or “irrigating eye wash” or a similar brand of saline that comes with an eye cup. You do not want contact lens cleaner, you want to basically rinse your eye out. Rinse 3 or 4 times for instant relief, it might take some getting used to, but you can do it. It’s similar to opening your eye underwater in a pool, you just do it, it’ll be okay and it feels great! This remedy is also fantastic if you get something in your eye like a hair, or sand or even too much chlorine.
3. Apply a cold compress.
Next on the list for annoying eyes is a cold wash cloth. Take a clean washcloth, dip it in ice water, wring it out and apply. I like to take them and fold the washcloth in half, then roll it up tightly. The ends of the washcloth will now ‘fit’ into your eye socket, and it is such sweet relief! I actually will wet these and then freeze a few (after rolling them up). Then you can take them out and apply them when you want to. Be intelligent and apply sparingly, you just want to cool your eye for a few seconds, don’t hurt yourself. A frozen or cold water compress can immediately soothe itching and feel great on tired, angry eyes!
4. Put drops in and get the red out.
Next, find a comfy chair or couch and relax. You want to apply some good eye drops. You can choose what you like, or can afford. I personally use Zaditor because they last 12 hours and they only include an antihistamine (Ketotifen), whereas most eye drops also contain a vasoconstrictor. If you’re looking for that type of combination, you can try Opcon or Visine, or their store-brand generic equivalents which will save you money.
After this step, you will begin to realize that you now have some control over the situation. It’s probably a lot better. But keep going. In a few more hours when your oral antihistamine kicks in, you’ll feel like a new man, or woman! A lot of you reading this today have chronic allergies, either food allergies or environmental ones… if that’s the case, it could be related to DAO and your genes. Please take a moment to read my other article, Allergies and Your Genes, Histamine, Autoimmunity and DAO SNPs.
5. Stop rubbing them.
If you feel the urge to rub them, grab a frozen towel and gently touch it to your under eyes, like the area where the red circles and puffiness is, or to your brow area. But no more rubbing.
6. Lie down and breathe.
Buy an eye pillow, preferably unscented and put it in the freezer for 15 minutes. You can always store yours in there, that’s what I do. Put it on your eyes and just breathe. Mmm.
7. Try Quercetin capsules.
For me, quercetin is my go-to natural antihistamine. On the worst days, I’ll take the Loratadine along with the quercetin, same time or separated, it doesn’t interact. The quercetin is a powerful plant-derived antioxidant and it’s a strong antihistamine. I take one capsule each morning during high pollen season.
8. Make infusions of Agrimony or Eyebright herb.
Herbalists suggest agrimony. This is an herb that you can buy online or at a health food store, and you can soak a tablespoon or two in a glass Mason jar, and make an infusion. Put it in the fridge so it’s cool. Then you can make compresses out of it to soothe conjunctivitis or allergic eyes. The same can be done with Eyebright herb.
9. Look like a diva.
Cucumber slices on the eyelids… you see this all the time in spa pictures and the reason is that cucumbers reduce eye inflammation and they’ll temporarily hide the fact that you pulled an all-nighter last night, played with your neighbor’s cat or went horse-back riding through ragweed. You can apply them, or better yet juice them (with the skins) along with some carrots and celery.
10. Make Calendula Iced Tea.
Calendula is also known as Marigold, those pretty golden yellow flowers. I can’t personally do this one, because I’m allergic to ragweed, and calendula and ragweed are in the same botanical family. Drinking calendula tea makes me sneeze about 20 times and sometimes makes my throat itch! But it’s really awesome if you’re not allergic to calendula or any botanical relatives. If it’s safe for you, then go ahead and make yourself some hot (or iced) tea to drink; or infuse the water with the calendula, put in the fridge to cool it off and then apply as needed with a compress.
With tea, you can ice it in the summertime. It’s easy, you just heat water and take it off the pot. Add a few calendula flowers and steep for 5 minutes. You may be allergic to calendula (and therefore need to avoid it) if you are sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae or “Compositae” family which among others includes, daisies, marigolds, chrysanthemums, dandelion, stevia, tansy, ragweed, yarrow and many others.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.