How dehydration impacts your eyes

Dehydration can cause numerous effects on your immediate health and wellbeing, whether it’s headaches, sleepiness, cramps or lightheadedness. But what you might not know is that as your body dehydrates, so do your tear ducts – which could result in dry eyes and problems to your vision.

What is dry eye?

Dry eye is when your tear ducts are no longer producing sufficient tears, or some of the tear components may be lacking, causing the tears to break up prematurely and therefore leaving the eyes dry. As a result, eyes aren’t producing the moisture they need to stay hydrated.

This often causes irritating and uncomfortable symptoms, such as grittiness, redness and blurred vision.

Can my contact lenses become dehydrated?

As your contact lenses rely on the natural moisture of your eyes to remain hydrated and comfortable to wear throughout the day, they’ll start to dry out if your eyes become dehydrated.

It’s also interesting to note that even though high water lenses allow a lot of oxygen through, they could also be unsuitable for dry eyes as they’re thicker. The best lenses for dry eyes are low-mid water lenses.

How can I stop my eyes from getting dehydrated?

It’s a good idea to drink plenty of water over the course of the day for a wide range of reasons, including to keep your eyes hydrated and safe from dry eye and irritation.

Other measures you can take to prevent your eyes becoming dehydrated include taking regular breaks from sitting at the computer or watching TV, as use of these screens often reduces the amount that you blink, therefore increasing the chance of dry eye.

It’s also recommended to avoid using air conditioning, fans or indoor heating wherever possible, to keep the air from becoming too dry and causing your eyes and contact lenses to dry out. An alternative way to protect your eyes from this is to introduce a humidifier to your home or workplace to counter the effects of these influences.

The use of eye drops/gels specially designed to prevent eyes from drying and offer fast, effective relief is also advised.

Quick links:

What does the water content of a contact lens mean and is it important?
What should I do when my contact lenses hurt?
Can I clean my contact lenses in water?