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Eating to Ease Dry Eye

It’s hard to look fresh and dewy when your eyes feel like sandpaper! Nothing kills a glistening gaze like dry eye, a condition that affects millions, especially women. Symptoms include a feeling of dryness along with itching, irritation, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and feeling like something is in your eye. Eyes can become dry either because you are not producing enough tears or because the tears you have are evaporating at an unusually high rate. Common causes of dry eye include air-conditioning, forced-air heat, cigarette smoke, high altitude, prolonged use of the computer, long periods of driving, wearing contact lenses, and exposure to environmental factors like wind, dust, and allergens. Certain medications—including antihistamines, diuretics, oral contraceptives, and some antidepressants—can cause dry eye, and the condition also can be caused by aging, hormonal changes due to menopause, and different illnesses.

If you find yourself reaching regularly for a bottle of artificial tears to ease your eyes, make an appointment with an eye doctor before the problem progresses. Dry eye may become so severe that reading, driving, working, and other activities become difficult or impossible.


Eating Carrots Will Improve Your Eyesight: Are your eyeglasses cramping your style? Are you tired of searching for lost contact lenses? Go ahead and eat more carrots—but don’t throw away your contacts or glasses. Including carrots in your diet won’t keep you from needing glasses or correct your nearsightedness or farsightedness. Strictly speaking, carrots cannot improve your sight. However, the beta-carotene in carrots will help keep your eyes healthy because it is converted by the body into vitamin A, a vitamin that is especially protective of eye health. In your retinas, vitamin A helps prevent night blindness. Generally we think of betacarotene as being converted into vitamin A in the liver, but it also is converted by the eye itself, by the retinal pigment epithelial cells. The presence of this alternative pathway suggests that the body does not want to take any chances when it comes to having a constant supply of vital vitamin A to protect your eyes.

Beauty Nutrients Related to Dry Eye

Vitamin A deficiency can cause dry eye. The typical American diet has adequate amounts of vitamin A, but you may have problems absorbing nutrients from the foods you eat, or you may not be eating enough foods that contain either retinol or beta-carotene. Boosting your consumption of whole, natural foods rich in retinol or beta-carotene will provide your body with plenty of beauty-enhancing vitamin A. Many people take vitamin A supplements, but when it is taken in large amounts, vitamin A can accumulate in the body to toxic levels.

If your dry eyes are accompanied by dry skin and brittle nails, you may not be getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep your skin hydrated. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids protects against dry eye. In the study, women with the highest levels of omega-3 fats in their diets reduced their risk of dry eye syndrome by 20 percent compared to women with the lowest levels of these fats in their diet. Additionally, women who reported eating at least five servings of tuna per week had a 68 percent reduced risk of dry eye, compared to women who ate only one serving of tuna per week. A higher intake of omega-6 fatty acids, found in many cooking and salad oils and animal meats, may increase the risk of dry eye syndrome.


If You Get a Black Eye, Put a Steak on It: According to this old wives’ tale, “enzymes” in the steak will help a black eye heal. Is there any truth to this advice? No scientific evidence supports using a raw steak to heal a black eye. Using raw meat may actually cause more harm than good, since it contains potentially dangerous bacteria that could do serious harm, especially on sensitive areas such as the eye.

What a raw steak has going for it is temperature. The meat is cold, and that is what reduces swelling—not any extraordinary therapeutic enzymes or other magical properties of raw steak. Your best bet is to use an ice pack, a cold compress, or even a bag of frozen vegetables (wrapped in a clean cloth) during the first 24 hours to minimize bruising and swelling.

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