Drinking enough water is essential to maintaining good overall health. It helps eliminate toxins through perspiration, urination and bowel movements. Staying hydrated can help you stay at a healthy weight and keep your body at the right temperature. Water also aids in digestion, oxygen distribution and blood pressure management.
Another thing consuming enough water can do is keep your eyes healthy. Your local eye specialist tells you how.
How Does Hydration Affect Eye Health?
Even if you’re not crying, your eyes produce tears. They keep your eyes lubricated and comfortable. Tears also help eliminate dust, dirt, bacteria and other debris from the eyes. One more thing they do is allow light to pass through your eyes effortlessly. It’s why people with severe dry eye syndrome often experience blurred vision.
A watery layer, mucus layer and oily layer make up your eyes’ tear film. Your tear film will come unbalanced if you don’t drink enough water. When this happens, you could experience symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
What Can Dehydration Do to Your Eyes?
Dehydration can occur for various reasons. Your body might lose water due to excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption. It can happen due to stress or eating foods with too much salt. Some prescription medications and health conditions can also make you more likely to be dehydrated.
Your eyes will inevitably dry out if you fail to stay hydrated. They might feel itchy or scratchy. You might also feel a sensation of having something in your eye. Blurred vision, burning, red eyes and headaches are common eye issues caused by dehydration.
Fortunately, the vision loss associated with dehydration is temporary. It often improves once you’re hydrated. Moreover, if your eyes are constantly dehydrated, you could be at higher risk of developing cataracts. Cataracts refer to the clouding of the lens of the eyes. The only way to treat them is through surgery.
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye disease or syndrome is where your eyes don’t produce sufficient quality tears. Light sensitivity, eye redness, a burning sensation, blurred vision and eye fatigue characterize this condition. Patients might also struggle to wear contact lenses and drive at night.
The older you get, the more prone you will become to dry eye syndrome. As you age, your eyes might create fewer tears. Your tears might also not have the right balance of water, oil and mucus. Tear production issues can also occur as adverse effects of anti-anxiety medications and beta blockers.
You should only wear your contact lenses as directed by your eye doctor. Wearing contacts for extended periods can increase the risk of dry eyes. For instance, soft contact lenses can absorb the moisture from your eyes to stay flexible. You could feel discomfort if your eyes aren’t making sufficient tears. The same thing can happen if your tears are evaporating too quickly. If you experience issues with contact lens wear due to dry eye, set an appointment with your local eye clinic.
Did you know spending hours in front of digital screens can worsen dry eye symptoms? People tend to forget to blink when using smartphones, tablets or computers. Blinking rehydrates your eyes. When you don’t blink as much, your eyes won’t receive enough lubrication.
How Do You Keep Your Eyes Hydrated and Healthy?
Tweak Your Diet
How many cups of coffee do you drink a day? Do you love carbonated beverages and alcoholic drinks? If water isn’t your first choice for quenching your thirst, there’s a high chance your eyes and the rest of your body are dehydrated. It’s the same if you prefer to eat food with high salt content or add plenty of salt to your meals.
Increasing water consumption and reducing alcohol and caffeine intake can help keep your eyes hydrated. You will also benefit from cutting back salty food from your diet. Eating balanced meals and drinking plenty of water can do more than keep your eyes healthy. They can reduce your risk of serious diseases, strengthen bones and boost immunity.
Smokers are twice as likely to suffer from dry eye syndrome. Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, and many of them can irritate and harm your eyes. The protective tears in your eyes can break down or change in composition due to these chemicals. As a result, you could experience various dry eye symptoms.
Dry eye syndrome isn’t the only eye-related consequence of smoking. This poor habit can increase the risk of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
Wear UV-Blocking Sunglasses
Don’t forget to wear UV-blocking sunglasses when heading outside or driving at peak sunlight hours. Pairs with wraparound frames can help relieve dry eye symptoms. They can block the sun and keep it from drying your eyes.
Turn Down the Heat
During winter, be sure your thermostat is not set too high. Excessive heat or hot air blowing directly on your face can cause the tears in your eyes to evaporate too quickly. Turning down the heat can alleviate dry eye symptoms and also save you on energy costs.
See Your Eye Doctor Regularly
Comprehensive eye examinations are crucial to maintaining good eye health and preserving vision. Many eye conditions, like macular degeneration and glaucoma, don’t show symptoms until their later stages. Early detection and treatment of eye problems go a long way in preventing permanent vision loss.
During your routine or contact eye exam, your specialist might perform tests to measure the volume, quality and quantity of your tears. These tests will allow them to determine if you have dry eyes and provide appropriate treatment.
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