Dry eyes are uncomfortable and irritating. If you’re not using drops to keep your eyes wet, you’re walking around with a towel to soap up the flow from watery eyes. But did you know that your diet does more than affect your weight? What you eat can also have an effect on your eyes. As a matter of fact, a few dietary changes are all it takes to decrease your risk of eye disease.
Hydrate Your Eyes
Instead of running to the drugstore, why not look to your diet to provide relief for your eye discomfort. Start by drinking more water. Get your full 8-12 glasses of water a day and you’ll reduce the chances of dry eyes. Water is essential for keeping your body hydrated, but it also has an impact on your eyes. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks have a drying effect on your eyes, but water will hydrate your body and eyes.
Dry and irritated eyes also make it difficult to wear your contact lenses. Once you’ve resolved the irritation, you may need to replace the lenses and case. Go to your doctor to replace your prescription or if you’re happy with your current prescription, you can purchase contact lenses without a prescription online.
Use Fruits and Vegetables To Boost Eye Health
An abundance of sugar and saturated fat in your diet will increase your risk of eye disease. Include lots of colorful fruits and dark leafy greens in your daily diet to ward off health related complications and eye diseases. Fruits like blueberries and cranberries, as well as dark leafy greens like spinach and Brussels sprouts, will help your vision and prevent eye disease.
Flaxseed oil and fish oil contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help to keep cataracts and dry eyes at bay. Take a tablespoon of these supplements daily or add cold water fish to your diet and they’ll lubricate your eyes and suppress inflammation. Eat a handful of walnuts daily or use canola oil when cooking as other ways to include omega-3 in your diet.
Eat Disease Fighting Fiber
Whole grains are not as tasteless as you think. Substitute your cereals and daily grains for 100 percent whole grains and you’ll reduce your risk of developing age related eye diseases. Refined sugar and breads are harmful to your overall health, but disease fighting fiber will restore your health and help you to lose weight.
Get the protein that your body needs from fish, nuts, eggs and lean meats. You’ll also get a decent amount of zinc from your lean meats – this will give your immune system a pick-me-up by generating new cells and healing damaged tissue. Cut back on red meats and dairy as these may increase your risk of macular degeneration in later years.
Reduce Your Sodium Intake
Last but not least is sodium. A high sodium intake has been linked to an increased risk of developing cataracts. Reduce the amount of salt in your diet as much as possible. Fast foods are high in saturated fats, but the salt content is overly high. Avoid fast food outlets and limit salt when cooking at home. You’ll not only prevent eye disease but reduce your risks of hypertension.
Consult your physician before making any radical changes to your diet. Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor once a year to detect problems early.
Elizabeth Garvey is a nutrition expert. She frequently shares her best healthy eating tips on blogs for women.