Eye health: Staying hydrated

laser eye surgery team member


Water is all around us: vast oceans cover nearly three-quarters of the world’s surface. It circulates in the air as vapour, flows in rivers, gathers as lakes, and freezes in icecaps and glaciers. It’s even underneath us, stored in vast aquifers miles beneath the earth and settled in soil just a few millimetres under our feet.

But water is also inside of us — or more accurately, is us. Up to 60 percent of the human body is made up of water, and in some organisms, as much as 90 percent of their weight is attributed to it. Vital organs such as the heart and brain are mostly water, and even our bones are nearly a third h20.

Part of the beauty and success of water is that it never stays still. The water cycle describes this continuous movement of water throughout the world from liquid to solid states and back again. But we can’t rely on nature to keep our body’s water content in balance; we need to consume so much of it daily to survive and keep functioning at our best.

Most of us know we need to drink more water, but the message has been pushed so hard we barely even hear it anymore. Like many snippets of health advice, it’s only when things start to go wrong we give them a second thought. The problem is, water is involved in so many processes in the body that we often don’t put two and two together and link the problem — whether it be weight gain, loss of energy, bad skin, or constant headaches — with an inadequate water intake.

Likewise, the connection between water and our eyes isn’t all that clear. But fail to drink enough of the stuff, and sure enough, they’ll be one of the first parts of the body to suffer.

How dehydration affects the eyes

The eyes start to get into trouble when there aren’t enough tears to keep them moist and happy. However, your tear ducts aren’t simply like a fountain that simply dries up when there’s no water coming in.

When the body is dehydrated, it directs water to the areas that need it most. Although important for washing away dirt, safeguarding against infections, and really enjoying a good drama, tears are one of the things to go.

Whether it’s because you’re in a hot place, hungover from a heavy night of drinking, or you’ve just finished a particularly hard Zumba session, dehydration causes the eyes to become dry and irritated, and can quickly lead to blurry vision and headaches.

Simply drinking more water is the best way to resolve this, but for more immediate relief, it’s a good idea to rest your eyes every so often. If you have dry eyes and you use a screen on a regular basis, you may have computer vision syndrome (CVS). There are other things you can do to help manage this, but if you suspect you have CVS, it’s advised to speak to an eye care professional.

Have more questions about eye health? Ask us in the comments below! Or, if you’d like to find out more about Laser Eye Surgery, contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators.