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How Does Dehydration Affect the Eyes?

When you go to the doctor you may have an expectation that you are going to receive a diagnosis and be given a treatment, usually a medication, to make you feel better. Yet almost all patients at one time or another end up being sent home and told to "drink more water!" It can be frustrating to hear that such a simple thing that we all do is your solution, but dehydration extremely common.


Sensitivity to LightEyeaches
HeadachesTired Eyes
DizzinessPressure on/near the eyes
FatigueDry, sandy, tired eyes
Feelings of hungerOver-eating

How Much water should I drink?

There is no perfect medical consensus, but about 2 Liters a day is thought to be enough water to keep most people hydrated. You may find you need more or even less to feel excellent. Although some people may say you can tell if you get enough water by the color of your urine, try not to rely on this or any single symptom as many factors can play a role in your symptoms. Instead, keep a journal of how much water you drank and how you feel overall. Getting the big picture through keeping record is the best way to know how much you need.

Tips on building Hydration Discipline Through Habit

"Drink More Water!" Well, that's about as helpful as telling someone to eat more vegetables or exercise more… It is not easy to do! It is building the discipline through habit that is the difficult part. But how do we build healthy habits? Here are some tips for the best way to get yourself drinking more water:

  1. Try carrying with you a 2-3 Liter water bottle and drink it every time you see it throughout the day.
  2. Add bright colors, bells, and ribbons to your water bottle if you need it to draw more of your attention.
  3. Drink as much as you can right before each meal. This combines your habit of drinking water with a positively enforced habit you already have- eating.
  4. Drinking water right before eating creates sensation of feeling 'full' to stop you from over-eating. Try drinking ½ to 1 Liter before eating, but no more than 1 L an hour.
  5. If you fail to drink your bottle during the morning and afternoon on your first day, you might still want to drink it before bed. Waking up throughout the night to use the restroom can help deter you from putting off the water on day #2! By day #3, you'll remember to drink it all before 6PM.
  6. Download apps that track and reward your habits such as 'Momentum' for iOS phones.
  7. Read books such as 'The Power of Habit' for more strategies for positive change.

If you have any questions about hydrating and keeping your eyes from getting dry, tired, sensitive to light, or eye aching, please contact us at (951) 672-4971.

Thank you.

Lysle Shaw-McMinn, O.D.

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Written for Our Blog on March 1, 2017


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