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What Vitamins Help with Dry Eyes?

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Dealing with dry eyes can be extremely frustrating. That gritty, burning, or sandy sensation on your eyes can be irritating and uncomfortable while affecting all aspects of your day-to-day life. This condition is more common than most people think, and fortunately there are many ways to help treat dry eye syndrome.

Aside from regular visits to your optometrist, following a balanced diet full of eye-healthy vitamins and nutrients is one way to help with dry eyes.

There are many vitamins that can help with dry eyes, like:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

By following a healthy, nutritious diet rich in these vitamins, you can help lower your chances of developing dry eye syndrome!

What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome, commonly referred to as dry eye, is a temporary optical condition that feels like your eyes are dry, burning, or gritty. This leads to irritation and discomfort in the eyes and can cause blurry vision if left untreated.

Dry eye has many causes, but the most common is an issue with tear production. Your eyes naturally produce tears and disperse them across the eye’s surface, which helps hydrate the eye and protect it from dust, dirt, and other debris. These tears are made of three layers:

  • The water layer, which makes up most of the composition of the tear. This layer helps hydrate and moisturize the eye, allowing oxygen to enter through the cornea while protecting the eye itself from external debris.
  • The oil layer, which helps prevent the water layer from evaporating too early.
  • The mucin layer, which keeps the tear attached to the surface of the eye while ensuring it spreads evenly.

If there’s an issue with the production of one of these layers, or the eye simply doesn’t produce enough tears, it can lead to dry eyes. However, dry eyes can be caused by other factors as well, like:

  • A particularly dry environment
  • Dust or dirt in the air
  • Prolonged screen usage
  • Medical conditions like diabetes, glaucoma, or cataracts

However, dry eye syndrome can also be caused by a vitamin deficiency. This means that if you’re experiencing dry eyes or want to lower your risk of this condition developing, you can follow a healthy, balanced diet rich with certain vitamins that help combat dry eyes.

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How Do Vitamins Help Dry Eyes?

Your eyes are an incredibly complex system that needs specific nutrients to be at their optimal health. By helping your eyes receive the nutrients they need, you can lower the risk of developing dry eye. 

Vitamin A

A beneficial vitamin for your eyes is vitamin A. This vitamin A is essential for maintaining the health of the surface tissue of your eye and helps with tear production and lubrication. This vitamin can be found in many fruits and vegetables, including:

  • Leafy greens like kale and spinach
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Mangos
  • Apricots

You can also find vitamin A in some types of fish (like mackerel, salmon, and trout) and in most forms of dairy products and eggs.

Vitamin C

Vitamin A isn’t the only vitamin you need, though. Vitamin C helps work as an antioxidant and supports overall eye health, and can be found in:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Strawberries
  • Peppers 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E also helps with inflammation and maintaining your eye health, and can be found in:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Vegetable oils
  • Leafy greens

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

And one of the best things for your eyes is to incorporate Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. These all have anti-inflammatory properties and can help improve the quality of your tear production. Omega-3s can be found in:

  • Fattier fish, like salmons and sardines
  • Many nuts and seeds
  • Most shellfish and seafood
  • Soy products 

If you have difficulty incorporating these into your diet, Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in supplement form. You should speak with a healthcare professional to determine an appropriate dosage and type of supplement.

Treat Your Dry Eyes at Orillia Optometry – ER

While following a proper balanced diet can be great for helping your dry eyes, it isn’t the only way to help alleviate the symptoms. The best way to treat dry eye syndrome is by visiting your optometrist for a regular comprehensive eye exam so they can monitor any changes in your eyes. By determining the root cause of your dry eye syndrome, you can work together with your optometrist to make a plan to help treat this condition.

At Orillia Optometry – ER, we know how uncomfortable dry eyes can be. To speak with a caring and experienced professional about your dry eye, schedule an appointment with us today!

Dr Moore

Written by Shawn Moore

Dr. Moore began his career in Barrie, moved to Orillia, and purchased what is now Orillia Optometry in 2001. Dr. Moore thoroughly enjoys primary care optometry, but his areas of interest are vision therapy, concussion management, contact lenses / multifocal contact lenses, and dry eye.

More Articles By Shawn Moore
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