Close up on woman with blue eyes to represent the condition dry eyes

Q & A: Dry Eyes

“I have just turned 65 years old and recently noticed that my eyes have become very dry, red and sore. They are especially sensitive to the cold weather right now. I picked up some eye drops from the chemist, which helped slightly, but I’m wondering if there are any dietary changes that I should make to help my dry eyes?”

Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer answers:

It sounds like you have a case of dry eyes, which happens when your tear ducts fail to produce enough lubrication for the eyes. Unfortunately, it’s very common and can be exacerbated by the weather, environmental pollutants as well as central heating.

The good news is that increasing your intake of the essential omega-3 fatty acids can often help. These are found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and smaller amounts in tuna. If fish is not your bag, then flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, spinach and soy beans are all good sources of omega-3s.

Try to include these in your diet as much as possible but I also recommend you take an omega-3 supplement. The body doesn’t always metabolise these fats effectively, particularly foods from plant sources, so taking a supplement may provide relief sooner.

I also suggest you include lots of other green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, kale and cabbage in your diet; they all contain a carotenoid micronutrient called lutein, which is great for general eye health.