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Easy, At Home Treatments for Dry Eyes in Women Over 50

After mentioning that I’ve been struggling with a flare-up of my ocular rosacea and resulting dry eyes, this AWSL community came to my rescue with a list of wonderful suggestions and treatments you’re using to help battle your dry and red eyes. No matter if you struggle with ocular rosacea, and meibomian gland dysfunction like me or another ailment like allergies, there’s nothing worse than eye discomfort. It’s not only discomfort because in my case, they’re also downright painful. This list of easy at-home treatments for dry eyes in women over 50 will hopefully help you ease your symptoms and soothe your eyes so that you get the relief from dry, itchy eyes that you deserve.

Note- I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV so please check with your own physician.

Here are some of the remedies you’re using:

At Home Treatment for Dry Eyes in Women Over 50:

  • Scrub eyes with baby shampoo twice a day – Lots of doctors recommend this tip as well!
  • Systaine Eye Drops – These are very hydrating!
  • Flax Seed Oil supplement – Flax seed oil is known to be a source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which help support ocular health and can help relieve dry eyes. I add a scoop of this ground flax seed to my protein shakes in the morning. You can also bake it into muffins and bread.
  • Occusoft Foam – If the baby shampoo doesn’t work for you, you can try this gentle eyelid cleanser. Many of you liked this one.
  • Bruder eye mask – The moist heat from this eye mask helps to open clogged oil glands. I use mine every evening.
  • Refresh Eye Drops – Readers say these are very hydrating and lubricating so they help soothe dry eye symptoms!
  • Fish oil supplements – Like flax seed oil, fish oil supplements can help improve the function of the meibomian glands, which are often a cause of dry eyes. I take two of these burpless caps a day and find them very palatable.
  • Refresh Gel Eye Drops – If the regular Refresh drops are not enough, the gel formula is thicker so it coats your eyeball. You might also try these gel drops by Systaine.
  • Warm washcloth soaks- Similar to the effects of the above eye mask, a warm washcloth soak can bring relief to dry eyes by helping to open clogged oil glands.
  • Refresh Optic Mega 3-Lubricant Eye Drops – I just started using these and love them!

On the recommendation of a reader, I also ordered this heated eye wand which I’m very excited to receive. I will keep you posted after it arrives…hopefully before my trip.

Treatments that Require a Trip to the Doctor:

If the above treatments aren’t working for you, it may be time to make an appointment with your ophthalmologist to see what they recommend or to inquire about one of the suggestions below.

  • Dr inserted eye plugs
  • Restasis eye drops RX
  • 50 mg of doxycycline twice a day

In addition to everything I was doing before, my doctor has started me on 50mg of doxycycline twice a day and Xiidra drops morning and night. I haven’t seen an improvement yet, but I will stay on the course for several months to see if this helps.

“Xiidra is an LFA-1 antagonist that blocks the LFA-1 protein from interacting with molecules found in high numbers in the eye that are responsible for inflammation. This helps lower eye discomfort and dry eyes.”

If you have dry eyes, I hope some of these suggestions help to give you relief! If you use another treatment besides the ones listed, please let us know in the comments. So many of us are battling painful dry eyes.

53 Comments

  1. I have an autoimmune disease that has been causing dry eye and dry mouth. In addition to using some of the products and routines shared by others, I keep a humidifier going in the bedroom when the heat and air conditioning are running hard (summer and winter). And I have one running downstairs if the house gets really dry. It makes such a difference.

  2. Can any of you with dry eyes wear eye make up? I can’t wear ANY! I have bought every type of mascara for sensitive eyes , allergic eyes, natural products, etc. My eyes can’t take it. I have tried eye shadows including just my face foundation on my eye lids. Even using a color to hide darkness under my eyes kills me. So with my post-Covid gray hair and dark puffy eyes, I look perpetually tired and…OLD! I welcome suggestions and thank you, Jennifer, for the great comments and discussion

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I have found the dryeyeshop.com to be a great resource for dry eye sufferers. Rebecca, the owner, had lots of great information about the drops, gels, and ointments, and sleep masks. And if there is an availability issue, she often has information as well.

    I have severe dry eye, and use Cequa drops( a stronger version of Restaisis), scleral lens, serum drops, and a night mask. I do IPL, and Lipiflow on a maintenance schedule. For windy days I have moisture chamber glasses from 7eye. Having a knowledgeable dry eye doc is very helpful.

  4. I used to use Xiidra but my doctor switched me to Restasis which works better for me. If insurance doesn’t cover the prescription, try filling it using Good Rx. I had to use that until, thankfully, my insurance has added Restasis to their covered medications. Occasionally I need something extra and found that the Refresh drops help immensely. I have tried several of the formulas depending on what’s available and they are all good. A good thing to try overnight is Sodium Chloride Opthalmic Ointment USP, 5%. A small amount in the eye helps relieve inflammation while you sleep. My doctor recommended this several years ago and I have used it every night since. It can sometimes be found at the drugstore but I order mine on Amazon.

    1. Thank you Pat. The Good RX won’t help with my Xiidra unfortunately. I’ll give it a few more weeks and if it doesn’t help see if I can switch to Restasis.

  5. I am sick of dry eyes! I just started Restasis; my insurance won’t cover it. I just finished a month of Lotemax, a steroid eye drop that relieves inflammation of my cornea. Insurance didn’t pay for that either. Often, I pull over and add drops so I can drive. If I look tired, I use Lumify occasionally.

  6. What eye makeup do you use? I’ve also had a few styes and am extremely cautious.

  7. I meant “teach”!!!!!!

  8. Hi Jennifer – I just wanted to comment on your fabulous eye makeup! It is so delicately and perfectly done – such a light and flattering touch with eye makeup! I think you have a great deal to reach us here about how you accomplished such a light touch! Products and technique! I would be very interested.
    Olwyn

  9. Charlotte says:

    Recently n my dry eyes have become very troublesome with eyelid swelling, achy eyes and extremely dry. So the heat packs have helped with oil production but swelling achiness continue. I found all of your comments helpful and comforting

    1. I’m glad these ideas have given you some things to try. There seems to be no one answer for every person.

  10. I’ve suffered with dry eyes for just over a year now. I found the Bruder mask seemed a little heavy for my eyes so went with the Ocusoft Dry Eyemask Premium.
    After trying several types of eye drops, I found the Refresh Optive Mega-3 Lubricant Eyedrops work wonders for me!! Good luck to all of you out there dealing with the same issue!! So glad you brought this up for us all.

  11. Surprised baby shampoo is recommended. It always stung my children’s eyes.
    My eyes are always dry when I wake up and my understanding is that it’s because we don’t blink while asleep. I don’t have I use Similisan for Dry Eyes when I wake up and again after washing my face. There is also a gel (Sylstane?) that you put in before sleep- keeps eyes lubricated during the night.

    1. I meant to say I don’t have the other issues- just dry eyes.

      1. Hi Lindsey, I dilute the baby shampoo with half shampoo and half water. I apply the mixture best I can with a q-tip on the inside of my top and bottom lashes, then I can of rub it around. It is very helpful. My husband has allergies and his eyes burn. He has started doing this and finds it to be very helpful. Good luck!

    2. Lindsey, I use Johnson and Johnson Baby No Tears Shampoo to wash my eyelids and they don’t sting. I actually started washing my face with it because it was already on my washcloth. My skin is combination so it works for me. I have dry eyes and my eye doctor suggested that I try plugs and Systane eye drops which work for me. I do hold a most washcloth over my eyes before washing my lids. I also take a mixture of equal parts ground flax seed, applesauce and prune juice, three tablespoons morning and night for chronic constipation. It works for my eyes and my colon! Who knew! I am 78.

      1. It sounds like a recipe I need to try!! Thanks for sharing Sydney

  12. Great info, thanks! And I agree…..another reason to love your blog!
    I too have ocular rosacea as well as facial. Heat is a flare for me so I can’t do anything warm around my eyes. The two things that have helped me the most are: Systane ultra drops, individual vials preservative free and changing settings on my iPad to the warmest setting available and reducing the brightness. I noticed a big difference after changing the settings!!

    1. Interesting!!!! I always turn my screens brighter to see better. I’ll have to turn them down and see. I agree the heat is rough on my facial rosacea.

      1. Can’t take credit! It was my doctor’s recommendation. My understanding is it’s the warm setting that’s important so….maybe try adjusting just the warm before trying brightness?

  13. Dry eyes seem to be a thing once we get to a certain age (and I realize it can happen at any age). On the advice of my optometrist I have been using Thealoz Duo Eye Drops a few times a day and have found them to work well for me. The Bruder mask is something I use a few times a week as well. I am a soft contact wearer and have no issues following this regimen. Thanks for showing us what everyone finds helpful.

    1. Dry eye is preventing me from wearing my contacts. Thanks for sharing what’s working for you

  14. Jennifer, thank you and all of your readers for sharing all of this dry eye information. I, too suffer from dry eye. Mine is due to estrogen blockers I must take due to being a Breast Cancer survivor. I use the preservative free single dose Refresh multiple times a day, which helps in a limited way. Using drops so many times a day has made using eye make up difficult. So Jennifer would you do a follow-up column to this one, on eye make up brands that have the most staying power for eye drop users. I am especially interested in brow make up, since cancer treatment took away my brows, but would also like info on eye shadow and eye liner and primer and setting spray or anything that would make eye make up last longer. Eye make up has almost become a thing of the past with me, and I know I need it to frame my eyes and face. Thank you.

    1. I will see what I can find for you, Beverly. I know there are some days when mascara seems like a waste of time because my eyes water non-stop and they end up chapped on the outside from the constant wiping.

  15. I have been using Gen-Teal eye gel for about 2 yrs along with baby’s shampoo along my eye lids. So far so good. Once in a while I need the gel when I over do reading and screens.

    1. Reading and screens are my downfall too

  16. Jennifer Thank you so much for sharing this information. I have Glaucoma and been on Lantaprost for 3 years. Now I have chronic dry eye and has been a battle. I seem to react to most eye drops and the ones like xiidra, and restasis, My insurance co will not cover. I have used Avenova and i think its very gentle for cleansing the eyelid. I’m definitely like the Peep Club eye wand I’m going to order this as well. I know I was told I could have a procedure done at my eye clinic that would do the basic treatment to the eye lid area with heat but would be more aggressive.
    Looking forward to hearing more.

  17. For my dry eyes, I compress once or twice a day, gently massage lids to help remove gunk, and then wipe with Cliradex. This has worked like a charm for me…if I’m consistent. If I follow this routine, I usually don’t need eye drops. However, if I do need lubrication, I use Refresh. I also use Pataday during allergy season.

    My husband has dry eyes and rosacea. Sometimes the Cliradex is too much for him. Following advice from your previous article, he’s using the Avenova spray and wipes. It’s really helping him—thank you so much for the recommendation!!! Another reason why I love your blog, Jennifer!

  18. I have moderate dry eye, with glands that can get blocked. I sometimes can get styes. I use Systaine ultra, preservative free drops, Bruder mask, and cleanse with OcuSoft foam(gentler than pads) .
    My dr has recommended LipiFlow treatment for clogged glands . I have not tried this yet , but I have a friend that has, and swears by this. I think she has it done once a year. The treatment is not covered by insurance, or Medicare at this time. There is another treatment that unclogs glands that is called IPL, Intense Pulsed Light Therapy. If my eyes get where I can’t get relief from what I am doing , I will try one of these. The eye doctors where I live offer one or the other. You might want to look up these treatments . I know the Lipi Flow has been around for years.

    FYI: I noticed if I cleanse lids too much, or use too many drops that my eye are more irritated.

    1. I had the lipiflow treatment in December and it unplugged the meibomium glands! There is an amazing difference already. The eye doctor said they are back to normal. As mentioned, the procedure is not covered by insurance, but paying out of pocket was worth it to me. I also use a heated eye mask daily or every other day. It is Bausch + Lomb TheraPearl, and it causes no problems with my facial rosacea.

      1. I have wondered about the lipiflow. My eye dr doesn’t offer it so I may check around for it.

  19. My doctor recommended using the gell drops at night and it has made a difference (combined with using regular drops during the day and a mask once a day). Of course, she also said the best method to rest your eyes is to stay away from screens. And avoid all eye makeup, as much as possible. Thanks for your recommendations; excited to hear about the wand!

  20. Charlotte says:

    I have suffered from dry eyes for 20+ years and nothing has helped me for any length of time. I’m excited to try some of these suggestions. Thank you so much for the information.

  21. I’ve had Sjogrens syndrome for years and battle dry eyes and dry mouth everyday. I use the Bruder eye patches in the evening, use Refresh Mega 3 eye drops many times during the day and put in gel drops going to bed.
    I recommend the eye plugs, they really help. I also use Restatis eye drops. I had to use them for 6 months before they kicked in. My doctor kept telling me to be patient. I also tried Xiidra and I found them too painful. My eyes stung so bad putting the drops in.
    If you aren’t on Medicare, you can get a coupon for Restatis and you won’t have to pay anything. There are probably similar deals in Canada.
    Just incase anyone reading this has a dry mouth too, I put a disc in my mouth every night to keep my mouth moist. It’s called XyliMelts. I sticks to the side of your gum and gives off a minty flavor for the night. No sugar in it either.

  22. Mary Ruth Harden says:

    Thank you for the dry post. Looking forward to hearing about the wand. Sounds promising.

  23. I use Refresh and baby shampoo for my dry eyes and they help some. I have glaucoma and blepharitis and the skin around my eyes is pink so I always look like I’ve been crying. I’m afraid to try different drops in case they interact with the glaucoma (I’ve had to change prescriptions 3 times to find one that keeps the pressures acceptable) but I am going to try the Occusoft Foam.

    1. I feel like I’m being very hard on the skin around my eyes too but the dry eyes hurt so much, I have to get it under control.

  24. This is important information for all of us suffering from eye eye syndrome. I have to use prescription Restasis which is pretty expensive but helps so very much. We found a pharmacy in Canada that is much more affordable. I also use Systane and refresh during the day and heat up my eyes every morning. Thanks for sharing.

    1. This Xiidra is insanely expensive and Medicare won’t cover it so I may switch to Restasis if this isn’t a miracle cure.

    2. Christine Simpson says:

      Thank you for the dry eye information! I too have been dealing with dry eye issues for several years since I had chemo/radiation treatments. I do see my eye Dr and we have tried plugs and Systane. I’m going to try some of your suggestions! Thank you!

      1. Good luck! It’s not easy to solve

  25. My eye doc recommends Systain. It does help but my eyes still get dry. I have had blocked glands so I’ll be interested to see how the wand works for you. Good luck on your journey to find relief!

    1. I will let you know

  26. I’ve tried most of the artificial tears and find them all irritating even the preservative free. I discovered a homeopathic solution called Similasan made in Switzerland. It is inexpensive and can be found at most stores. I find it vey soothing and non-irritating. Try it!

    1. I haven’t heard of them. Thank you for sharing, Bet.

  27. I have suffered with inflammation and dry eye for many, many years. Through this time I have tried many of the above remedies and meds, even plasma eye drops, with little to no help. Last fall my ophthalmologist recommended Tyrvaya. So far, I have had extreme success! I am hoping this relief continues.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Christy! That is a new one to me so I just looked it up, and it seems to be a great way to help your tear film.

      1. I’m going to look that one up too, I’ve not heard of it. Thanks!

  28. Why do I love this blog so much? Well, today’s important information on dry eye relief is just one example. I bought the baby shampoo and started using it to cleanse my eyes twice daily. I use Systaine drops several times a day.
    My eye lids need moisturizing if I want to apply any makeup products. What do you recommend that’s not irritating but will soften the lid area?
    Thank you for all your research on this issue.

    1. I don’t use a specific eye cream, simply spread my moisturizer from my chest to my hairline. I like products without fragrance or essential oils which can sting my sensitive skin. Right now, my favorites are this Purito Relief Barrier Moisturizer and this Vanicream recommended by my dermatologist.

      1. Jennifer, is that a face cream that you use every day? There are so many anti wrinkles eye creams on the market today it’s hard to choose which one to use. I’m looking for a good overall moisturizer for the face, that won’t break the bank either.

    2. I’m a fellow dry eye sufferer and use the same regimen you do, plus heat pack if they’re really bothering me. As far as moisturizing, I’ve found goPure Youth Glow Eye Gel to be soothing, moisturizing, and nonirritating. I like the company’s emphasis on science-backed pure ingredients. You can find it at goPure’s site or Amazon, etc.

  29. Refresh is my dry eye go to, and Pata day for itchy eyes, both recommended to me after cataract surgery on both eyes. Excellent products & available most everywhere.

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