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Can Dehydration Cause Dry Eyes?

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A woman rubbing her eyes to alleviate eye dryness.

Have you ever wondered if dry eyes are connected to how much water you drink?

Our bodies are mostly water, and our eyes are no exception. Dehydration can contribute to dry eyes. When you’re dehydrated, your eyes can’t produce tears, which can lead to irritation and discomfort.

Staying hydrated is a simple yet powerful way to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable. And seeing your eye doctor for routine eye exams can also help.

Maintaining Hydration for Body & Eye Health

Water plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. It helps regulate temperature, lubricates joints, fights infections, and delivers nutrients to your cells. Staying hydrated helps your eyes produce tears, which are vital for keeping them comfortable and functioning well. Good hydration can also improve your sleep, thinking, and mood.

Your eyes need moisture to work well. Dryness can disrupt both the quality of your vision and your eye comfort.

People who drink lots of water tend to be healthier, suffer from fewer chronic diseases like heart and lung conditions, and generally have a longer lifespan than those who don’t.

It’s recommended that women drink around 11 cups of water daily, while men should aim for about 16 cups. 

This may seem like a lot of water, but proper hydration doesn’t need to solely come from drinking plain water. Flavored or sparkling water, herbal tea, and fruit or vegetable juices (but watch for sugar) also count towards your daily fluid intake. 

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is often chronic and occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or your tears evaporate too quickly. It’s a common condition, affecting between 16.7 million and 50.2 million people in the US. 

Dry eye affects the tear film, which is crucial for protecting, nourishing, and cleaning your eyes. It consists of three distinct layers:

  1. The mucus layer ensures the tear film sticks to the eye’s surface.
  2. The aqueous layer is mostly water and keeps the eyes hydrated and protected from particles like dust.
  3. The oily layer prevents the tear film from evaporating.

In a healthy eye, these layers work together to prevent dryness. However, if one or more layers are not functioning correctly, it can lead to dry eye symptoms.

Symptoms of Dry Eye

Blurred vision is a common symptom of dry eyes and often improves momentarily after blinking. Other symptoms include:

  • Burning, stinging, or scratchy eyes
  • Feeling like sand or grit is in the eyes
  • Redness in the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • The feeling that something is stuck in your eye

Causes of Dry Eye 

Dry eye can be caused by:

Dry Eye Treatments

Several strategies can help ease those scratchy, irritated feelings.

Adapting Your Lifestyle

Adjusting your lifestyle and daily habits can help improve your dry eye symptoms. 

Consider increasing the humidity levels in your home or staying indoors during smoky or windy conditions. If staying inside isn’t possible, wearing sunglasses can offer some protection from the elements. 

Regular breaks during tasks requiring intense focus can also improve your eye comfort. An eye mask while sleeping, particularly if you have a fan on at night, can protect your eyes from drying out. 

Dietary Changes

Omega-3 fatty acids can help enhance the oil production in your tear film. This increase in oil can help alleviate dry eye symptoms. Try to include foods high in omega-3s, including salmon, flaxseed, and walnuts, in your diet.

Eye Drops

Eye drops can temporarily relieve dry eye symptoms, but not all eye drops are created equal. Talk to your eye doctor to find the best options for your needs. They can recommend drops that offer quick and effective symptom relief that won’t irritate your eyes or cause further dryness.

Customized Dry Eye Management

At Total Vision Novato, we prioritize you and your vision needs and take the time to get to know you before crafting a tailored treatment strategy. Our aim is to help make sure your vision is both clear and comfortable.

For long-term dry eye relief, book an eye exam with us today and let us help you find personalized solutions for your unique eye needs.

Written by Total Vision

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