Does drinking water keep your eyes hydrated?

By Neha Ghei

Does drinking water keep your eyes hydrated?

They say water is life and we all know we should be drinking a lot of it every day, but why do we need to? That’s the million pound question, and there are probably a million answers. Good eye health is one answer you might not expect. So we take a look at hydration and its link to alleviating the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.

More than half the body is made up of water - a whopping 60% of it. As water has such an important role in the body, it’s super important to monitor and increase your water intake if needs be.

Water helps to regulate the body's temperature, it helps to protect body organs and tissues. While carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells around the body, water also helps dissolve minerals and nutrients to make them accessible to the body and helps lubricate joints.

Water is also essential for removing waste from the body via the kidneys. Not drinking enough water can contribute to kidney infections. Therefore it’s important to keep hydrated to help prevent or eliminate the infections faster. This will then help to prevent urinary tract infections.

Water also makes up 99% of the eye.

Vitreous humor is a fluid like gel that is made up of 98-99% water, with trace amounts of hyaluronic acid, glucose, collagens, ions, anions and cations which are all found in the posterior chamber of the eyes.

It’s therefore important to keep hydrated for eye health as well.

A common first world problem that’s being seen more and more is dry eye syndrome. This is because people are working from screens more than ever and for longer periods of time. One way or another we’re looking at a screen, whether it be a laptop or a phone screen.

A screen protector or blue light blocking glasses can help with other symptoms caused by dehydration, such as headaches.

The tear film is made up of three components: the aqueous layer, the mucus layer and the lipid layer. The most common type of dry eye is a mixture of aqueous deficiency and evaporative dry eye. Aqueous deficiency is when the lacrimal glands, also known as the tear glands which sit in the upper eyelid, are not producing enough water for the water part of the tears.

The evaporative dry eye is when the lipid layer of the tear film is not produced adequately thus causing the tears to evaporate too quickly. The lipid layer is important as it reduces water evaporation from the aqueous layer, preventing cooling and drying of the eye. 

Without a lipid layer water would be lost from the tear film approximately 20 times faster. The lipid layer acts as a ‘seal’ for the tears, it maintains and stabilizes the tear film. These two conditions can occur on their own but also together.

Water also helps brain cells communicate with each other. When hydrated you make faster decisions and improve performance on cognitive tasks. Water also helps clear out toxins, brings nutrients to the brain and removes waste that impairs brain functions.

Drinking water can seem like an onerous task, especially as it’s recommended that we should be drinking six to eight glasses of water a day. So how do we go about this?

Unsurprisingly, this is actually quite easy. You don’t have to be drinking plain water every waking moment of every day but it does help!

  • Sipping fluids regularly, including by setting a schedule reminder if you have a hard time remembering to drink water.
  • By using a water bottle to have a drink easily accessible and to track how much water you’ve consumed, but also you can keep in sight such as by your desk or laptop. You can get some great water bottles which help you track by having the time written on the side of it.
  • As good as it is to drink plain water, it can get quite boring, squash or flavoured water is a great way of adding flavour but also increasing water intake. Just watch the added sugar levels. Water from teas and coffees do help overall, as long as the diuretic effect does not offset hydration.
  • Lastly, it’s easy to get a lot of water from your diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce.

Hydration is important for many aspects of the human body, not just those that have been listed above. Keeping hydrated with Virgin Pure is a perfect way to do this to help promote better habits, keep your brain, your body and skin healthy but also your eyes healthy. 

Why not try on a pair of blue light blocking glasses, which really are the perfect way to keep your eyes healthy, by simply adding to your work bag essentials along with your water bottle, or by having it next to your work station. 

The first thing you can reach for after hydrating yourself is your glasses; to help reduce the amount of blue light emitted from screens and to help reduce headaches from eye strain. 

Neha Ghei has been working in Ophthalmic industry for 10 years and has been a qualified optometrist since 2014, working for a range of opticians.

She has experienced working for multiples such as Boots and Vision Express as well as having worked for a number of independent eye care specialists.

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