How Your Diet Can Affect Your Eyes
We don’t often consider this, but our eyes are connected to the rest of our body! I often see patients with dry eye who don’t realise that not drinking enough water daily will affect the moisture levels of their eyes, or others who didn’t realise that any medication they take has the potential to affect the health of their eyes.
Everything in our bodies is connected, and everything we do and expose ourselves to directly affects the wellbeing, functionality and health of our bodies... including our eyes.
Lifestyle choices such as getting enough exercise and smoking can have a huge effect in maintaining the health of our eyes. The same could be said for our diets that we maintain on a daily basis. Here are some symptoms of eye problems that could be related to your diet.
You see what you eat
Omega 3 fatty acids are excellent at improving the lubrication at the front of our eyes. The more robust the tear film chemistry is at the front of our eyes, the more comfortable our eyes are, and the more clearly we’ll be able to see. Milled flaxseeds, linseed oil and fish oil supplements are an excellent source of omega 3 nutrients, just remember to be consistent with your intake. The fronts of our eyes are wet, and need to be to be able to deliver a good standard of vision. If we don’t have enough moisture in our bodies, we won’t have wet enough eyes, so try to be consistent with drinking enough water daily. If your dry eye symptoms are a little more severe, it could blepharitis.
A poor diet of high sugar or processed foods have been proven as a risk factor for developing macular degeneration. These foods are deficient in containing the nutrients that we require daily, and can also cause weight gain and systemic inflammation, which can put you at a higher risk of developing AMD.
Too much caffeine and nutritional imbalances, dehydration and magnesium deficiency have been linked to myokymia, which is involuntary twitching in either the upper or lower eye lids.
A diet rich in polyunsaturated fats can cause chronic systemic inflammation, which can trigger the development of diabetes. This can have a huge effect on many different tissues within the eye, and most significantly, your ability to see. If you are diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, your eyes will be monitored either 12 monthly or 6 monthly due to the risk of diabetes on the health of your eyes.
Genetics have a big role to play here, but so does our diet. A consistently poor diet can lead to chronic hypertension as we get older, and if left unchecked, can have a drastic effect on our ability to see. The back of our eyes have a lot of blood vessels, and if the pressure within them is too high for too long, they can become leaky or burst which can lead to a loss of sight which cannot always be saved.
If you experience any of the above eye problems and have further concerns, book a remote consultation with one of our optometrists, which you can have right from your smartphone or desktop.
Many of the choices we make as young people whilst our bodies are more resilient can have a significant effect on how future proof we are as we age. It’s normal for our bodies to change as we age, but we can enjoy healthy eyes with the best vision by sleeping well, eating well, exercising and keeping consistently hydrated.
This post was written by Eyebou's lead optometrist, Mai Monavar.