While it’s true that Dry Eye Disease (DES) is often a multi-faceted condition, there is much anecdotal and scientific evidence to suggest that hydration plays a key part in the DES equation.
Your body is made of approximately 70% water, providing the fuel for many important functions and chemical reactions. Water transports both nutrients and toxins in and out of your cells and regulates body temperature.
But that’s not all…
Functions such as digestion, muscle strength, and cognitive function are all greatly impacted by your hydration.
A 2012 study found that people prone to DE (Dry Eye) had higher plasma osmolality (a marker of blood hydration status) than participants without dry eye.
The more dehydrated your body is, the higher the plasma osmolality reading.
The research concluded that participants reporting many of the classic DE symptoms, along with shorter tear break-up times had lower whole-body hydration overall; concluding that there are correlations between hydration status and dry eye.
We receive a few anecdotal reports that increasing the amount of water in your daily diet greatly improves, and in some cases, relieves the symptoms of dry eye.
Further to this, a 2015 study on fluid regulation and the eye, concluded that hydration status plays an important role in a number of ocular diseases including, cataracts, refractive changes in the eye and retinal vascular disease.
Our findings suggest that systemic hydration status broadly affects a variety of ocular pathophysiologic processes and disease states – Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
A further interesting comment to come from this research is that tear fluid osmolarity may well be an effective marker of systemic hydration status. This suggests that aqueous-deficient dry eyes is a sign of whole-body dehydration in many people.
So rather than suggesting that dehydration is a possible cause of DES, the reverse is also true: dry eyes are an early indicator of poor hydration overall.
Use this handy calculator to estimate how much water you should be consuming daily based on your body weight.
Note that food such as fresh fruits and vegetables contain water and add to some of your body’s daily fluid requirements.
Is Whole-Body Hydration An Important Consideration in Dry Eye? – Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 Sep 25;53(10):6622-7
Hydration, Fluid Regulation and the eye – Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2015 Nov;43(8):749-64. doi: 10.1111/ceo.12546. Epub 2015 Jun 19.