“Dry eyes” is one of the most frequent complaints of patients visiting their ophthalmologist. Aside from the need to moisturize the air, avoid excessive electronic device use, limit exposure to smoke, and use lubricating eye drops, you need to also consider your diet! We will prove that your eyes are much more than mirrors to the soul; your eyes can also reflect what nutrients your body is in serious need of.
Dry eyes fishing for more omega-3 fats!
A review of the dietary habits of more than 32,000 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study at Harvard Medical School revealed the following:
- Dietary intake with higher ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids decreases the risk of dry eye syndrome.
- Eating 2 to 4 servings of fatty fish weekly reduces risk of dry eye by 18%. The risk decreases by 66% when eating 5 to 6 servings of fatty fish weekly (serving size 90g).
In simple terms, this means you need to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids and decrease that of omega-6 fatty acids. Best choices of omega-3 fatty acids include sardines, herring, salmon, and tuna - followed by flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, walnuts, and dark green leafy vegetables. Additionally, avoid foods that are high in trans fats such as pastries, cookies, biscuits, and partially or completely hydrogenated vegetable oils, as these fats interfere with the body's absorption of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. How to limit your intake of omega-6 fatty acids? Avoid fried foods, highly processed foods, sunflower oil, and corn oil.
Dry eyes crying out for hydration!
Hydration is very important to replenish tear production, and therefore prevent dry eyes. So here’s another reason to abide by the golden recommendation of 8 cups of water a day. Is that enough to avoid dry eyes? Here are 3 more tips:
- Follow a balanced diet that is not too high in protein. Why? Because a high-protein diet would lead to nitrogen build up in the body in the form of urea, and as a result, the kidneys would have to eliminate it through increased urination, thus leading to dehydration.
- Limit your intake of processed high-sodium foods. Why? Because foods that are high in sodium increase the risk of dehydration, and therefore, increase the risk for dry eyes. Is skipping the salt shaker enough? It would help, yet you need to avoid sneaky hidden sources of salt such as soy sauce, ready-made foods (such as dressings, sauces, and soups), as well as canned goods.
- Go de-caf when it comes to coffee and keep a low count of the tipsy alcoholic drinks you are consuming!
Dry eyes looking for more vitamin A!
Vitamin A deficiency, though rare, can also lead to dry eyes. How to make sure your diet is not lacking in this vitamin? Go by Bugs Bunny’s recommendation and munch on more carrots. Yet, there’s more to better eyesight than just carrots! Vitamin A can also be found in apricots, carrots, mangos, spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and liver; so you may want to include these in your daily diet.