It makes sense that we should always keep our bodies hydrated if we want to remain healthy and feel energised. Dehydration can cause dizziness, dry skin, and also result in irritability and confusion.
Healthcare organisations commonly recommend keeping our water intake up for optimum health – particularly if we exercise a lot.
Yet what effect does hydration have on our vision?..
Read on to discover why keeping our eyes hydrated matters!
The Body Hydration Connection
Logic dictates that a lack of body hydration would be detrimental to the eyes, but until recently few researchers had taken an in-depth look at this issue. In normal situations, the eyes have a high water content, so are they affected when our fluid intake lowers?
The answer is yes.
Scientists reviewed a series of studies to try and discover if the amount we drink has a direct impact on our vision. They found that body dehydration is linked to a number of eye conditions, such as dry eyes, cataracts, and retinal vascular disease, and that the amount of tear fluid in the eyes can be a reliable indicator of dehydration status.
Interestingly, separate research showed that drinking too much water raised intra-ocular pressure in glaucoma patients.
Dry Eye Syndrome
The main impact of a diet low in fluid is dry eyes. People who experience this condition generally report a number of symptoms:
- Dryness or soreness around the eye area
- Burning and inflammation
- Eyelids that sometimes stick together, particularly after waking up
If dry eyes do develop, the first thing you should do is analyse your daily fluid intake. If you also have other symptoms such as dark urine, then it may well be that you simply need to drink more! Science demonstrates that a lack of hydration is directly linked to an increase in the prevalence of dry eyes, particularly in elderly people.
The cornea gets thinner as dehydration occurs, making the eyes more susceptible to damage. When eye drops are applied, the cornea quickly gains thickness, and this is also likely to occur when eye hydration improves through diet.
Unsurprisingly, the simplest way to get your eyes hydrated is to drink more water on a daily basis. Although other drinks can also give benefit, water is the cleanest, cheapest, and healthiest solution (excess caffeine can actually harm the eyes).
NHS guidelines recommend around 8 glasses of water a day for whole body hydration and we believe this is sensible. It is amazing how many people fall well below this level when they actually think about their current daily routines.
Eating more fruit and vegetables is another important part of the hydration puzzle – studies in school children show that increasing the amount of dietary fruit and vegetables helped students to achieve a positive water balance.
For those people who struggle to drink a lot of fluid, getting more water through eating healthier foods could be an ideal solution!