How much water do you drink? Sadly, I find that most people do not drink enough water. I wrote a whole chapter on the importance of drinking enough water in my book, Bursting With Energy. Staying hydrated is important for blood pressure, cardiovascular function, bowel function, detoxification, kidney function, and energy production. But what about your eyes?
Your eyes have a very high water content and unique system of regulating the movement of fluids through the various eye compartments. Just this last month researchers published a new review paper on how not drinking enough water can affect your eyes.
The authors systematically reviewed all of the current evidence about water intake and eye disease and function. Here's what they concluded after looking at all the evidence. "Our findings suggest systemic hydration status broadly affects a variety of ocular pathophysiologic processes and disease states. For example, dehydration may be associated with development of dry eye syndrome, cataract, refractive changes, and retinal vascular disease." They also say, "Our findings indicate that assessment of hydration status may be an important consideration in the management of patients with chronic eye diseases and undergoing eye surgery."
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So if you have any eye problem at all — and especially if you are looking at possible eye surgery — be sure to think about hydration. Are you drinking enough water? To answer the question, try drinking half your weight in pounds in ounces of water every day. For example, a 140-pound person would drink 70 ounces of water per day. Do it for one week and see what happens. You might very well find that you feel better, have more energy, lose unwanted weight, have better bowel function, have less aches and pains, and even see better. If so, then just adjust the intake to what is needed to maintain. But that's not all. Here are two last thoughts.
Sorry, but coffee, tea, beer, and wine are not water! They not only don't hydrate, they actually dehydrate because they act as diuretics. I'm not against these things by any means. But if you are taking them, be extra careful to get enough water. And second, don't rely on thirst to indicate whether or not you're getting enough water. Thirst only shows up when you are already way over the line. The time to drink water is when you're not thirsty.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Sherwin JC, Kokavec J, Thornton SN. Hydration, fluid regulation and the eye: in health and disease. Clin Experiment Ophthalmol. 2015 May 7.