Dry Eyes, Xerophthalmia, Sjogren’s syndrome

Dry eyes are a common problem with the potential to cause profound levels of discomfort. Blinking, like swallowing and a thousand other bodily functions, is something we never think about until something goes badly wrong, whereupon it becomes hard to think about much else!

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Finding a good herbalist

Most of what's written in this article is entirely suitable for a person to work through themselves but, especially if things are quite bad, or you just know that you need further help, then there may be a great deal of benefit to you to go to whatever lengths necessary to find a good herbalist or truly holistic practitioner to guide you on to a safe and strong treatment program. There's a short write-up to suggest how you might go about finding such a person here.

Causes of dry eyes

Dry eyes can be caused by several medical conditions such as Xerophthalmia; usually associated with a deficiency in vitamin A, or Sjogren's syndrome; caused by an auto-immune condition, if you know you have Sjogren's then do consult with an experienced practitioner and also read the general advice on healthy immunity written up here

Another common cause for chronic dry eyes is a low thyroid function and, as this is a problem that frequently evades recognition or is mistaken for something else, read the article on thyroid health which gives a simple at-home test to help rule it out as a cause here

Lastly some degree of physical blockage or damage to the tear ducts, the lacrimal glands, is a common cause of chronic dry eye problems. It is especially for this issue that the following treatment protocol may be effective or even curative.

Euphrasia officinalis (Eyebright)


Eyebright Formula

10mls Eyebright tincture                  
10mls Chamomile tincture               
5mls Fennel tincture                       
Makes 25mls in a bottle with a dropper.

Put approximately 10-12 drops of the Eyebright formula into a small and very clean receptacle, for example a medicine-measuring cup or an egg-cup. Now pour about 30-40mls of freshly boiled water over the herbs. Leave the mixture uncovered to help evaporate the ethanol in the formula and until the liquid has cooled to a comfortable temperature with which to bathe your eye.

Getting the timing right can be the tricky part of this treatment - if you leave it too long then just add some hot water from the kettle, or if it hasn't cooled enough then add a little cold water - it should feel nice and warm on the eye, not too hot, not too cold...

Use a small clean eye-cup; these are readily available bowls that fit the shape of your eye and an example is pictured below. Pour in just enough of the eyebright formula to fill the eye-cup to about a third. Place the eye-cup over your eye to make a seal and then tilt your head back. Make sure you open and shut your eye a few times and look side to side and up and down whilst blinking in order to let the formula get everywhere it needs to go.

Discard the used solution and then put some more formula back into the eye-cup and repeat. Do at least two washes on each eye, putting fresh solution into the eye cup each time. Treat both eyes even if only one if obviously affected.

The whole process is quick and generally painless though it may smart for just a moment at the beginning, especially if there is any blockage or infection present. You cannot overdo this treatment and, so long as it is helping, you can repeat it as often as needed.


Notes on the herbs

If you are interested in knowing more about the herbs in the formula the key ingredient; Eyebright, works by cleaning the eye and at the same time having an 'astringent' action on the tissues. In effect this means it acts to tone the surfaces of the eye and make it more resilient to stress or damage, more about Eyebright here.

The essential oils in Chamomile work as a natural antibiotic and give potent relief from inflammation; more about this remarkable herb here.

Ingredients in Fennel have a soothing and calming action on the irritated surface of the eye; more here.

Matricaria recutita (Chamomile)

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!



© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd