Posted by: Bryan B. | August 7, 2011

Improving Your Diet Can Help Dry Eye Syndrome

When a person is diagnosed with dry eye, one of the first questions is inevitably: “how do I treat it.”  Of course there are many drops and treatment regimens designed for this purpose.  (We think the best is Viva Drops… but, anyway….) What your doctor may not tell you is that changes to your diet may improve your dry eye.  carrot eye exam crop compiled a list of foods, beverages, vitamins and minerals that are said to improve dry eye:

  • Water – Dry Eye Syndrome is often improved by simply drinking more water.  Seems pretty intuitive: something is dry – make it wet, and most of us are chronically dehydrated.  So, if you suffer from dry eye, making a more conscious effort to drink water might improve your condition. In addition, you may also alleviate headaches and feel more full.
  • Essential Fatty Acids, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6 – According to Dr. Marc Grossman, people suffering from dry eye that increased consumption of essential fatty acids and vitamin B6 and C for ten days experienced an increase in tear production.  Why is this? Vitamin B6 aids in magnesium absorption which helps the body produce tears, vitamin C is in high concentration in tears, and fatty acids assist production of parts of the tear film.
  • Antioxidants – Antioxidants are “substances that protect tissues from free radicals, molecules that cause cell damage.” Consumption of foods rich in antioxidants can help prevent dry eye. Antioxidant-rich foods include fruits (especially dark berries) and multicolored vegetables (especially the leafy green ones).
  • Potassium – People with dry eye tend to have low levels of potassium.  Increasing potassium intake can help alleviate dry eye symptoms. The most well-known source of potassium is a banana. However, other potassium rich foods include “kelp, dulse, wheat germ, almonds, pecans, raisins, dates, figs and avocados.”
  • Zinc  – Your eyes contain a good amount of zinc and deficiencies can worsen your vision, making them more prone to dry eye.  Zinc is found in many animal products such as “beef, turkey, oysters and Dungeness crab.”
  • Vitamin A – Vitamin A “forms the part of the eye that helps you see at night and protects the surfaces of your eyes.”  Increasing your intake of vitamin A can improve dry eye.  Vitamin A is found in foods that come from animals as well as some vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, pumpkin and sweet potatoes.

There are many things we consume on a daily basis that will make dry eye symptoms worse.  One major culprit is caffeine because it robs your body of moisture. Chocolate, colas, coffee, and tea all contain caffeine. Also, food and drinks high in sugar/artificial sweeteners have also been linked to dry eye syndrome. 


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