Having dry eyes feels not only feels uncomfortable but it also decreases your visual acuity. Many things can cause dry eyes. Here are a few strategies to help keep them moist.
|Surfer at San Onofre by Carole Jakucs, 2014. Image subject to copyright.|
- Eat a diet containing omega 3 fatty acids. Diets high in omega 3’s can help keep eyes moist. Foods containing omega 3’s are: Fatty fish such as anchovies, salmon, sardines and tuna. Walnuts are a good source too.
- Drink plenty of water. Drink at least eight glasses throughout the day to stay hydrated. If your mouth is dry, chances are your eyes are dry too. (Unless you have a medical condition that demands you limit your water/fluid intake such as kidney disease or congestive heart failure.)
- Many medications can cause dry eyes such as (but not limited to) antihistamines, decongestants, anti-depressants and diuretics. If your eyes are dry and you suspect it’s one of your medications, consult with your health care provider to discuss the possibility of either lowering the dose or trying a different medication.
- Environmental factors such as wind, sun exposure, low humidity and high heat can cause your eyes to feel dry. Reduce your exposure to eye drying elements and wear a good quality pair of sunglasses and a hat or visor when outdoors.
- Consider OTC (over the counter) moisture drops and use as directed.
- Some medical conditions can cause dry eyes such menopause and Sjogren’s syndrome.
- Eat a diet full of colorful vegetables and fruits that contain Vitamin A and Beta Carotene. A diet low in these important nutrients can contribute to the development of dry eyes as well as decrease your night vision. Foods high in Vitamin A and beta carotene (which our bodies convert to Vitamin A) are: Spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and squash to name a few. (Beta Carotene Supplements are currently not recommended for smokers or previous smokers as studies have shown they can increase the risk for developing lung cancer.) At this time however, natural food sources from the diet are thought to be safe for everyone when consumed within the normal recommended daily amounts.
If you have dry eyes, consult with your health care or eye care provider for an exam, diagnosis and treatment.