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Dry Eyes: The 3 Essentials

Dry eyes is the result of our tear ducts producing unsufficient amount of tears to keep the eyes moist and lubricated. The common symptoms of dry eyes include itching, redness, burning sensation and also transient blurring of vision. It is usually relieved by blinking. Aside from being irritating to our daily lives, dry eyes syndrome may progressively worsen if left untreated. The common causes of dry eyes syndrome include ageing, dusty environment and extended hours looking at electronic screens such as computer and television screens. However all is not lost. Here are 3 essentials to alleviating dry eyes.

Over the counter eye drops

The main reason for dry eyes is insufficient tear production by the tear ducts. Over the counter eye drops or artificial tears are the most direct way to lubricate the eyes. Depending on the severity, we can choose which eye drops to use. For mild dryness, you may use carboxymethylcellulose-based eye drops (Refresh Tears®). For more severe dryness, we can opt for a lipid based eye lubricant (Artelac® Lipids) for a long lasting relieve.

Oral supplements

There are a myriad of eye supplements in the market currently. One of the top compounds is bilberry extract.

Bilberries are closely related to blueberries and are in the same family as cranberries. Bilberry is rich in a very potent antioxidant called anthocyanoside. Anthocyanoside works to reduce inflammation in the body, especially retinol inflammation. Since one of the main triggers of underproduction of the tears is retinol inflammation, supplementation with bilberry works incredibly well to improve the condition.

Omega fish oil also helps improve the symptoms for dry eyes. In a 2011 clinical study, test subjects who received 750mg of omega fish oil reported to have more tear production and volume after 90 days of being on the supplement.

Lifestyle changes

The main culprit for dry eyes is lifestyle choices. Prolonged hours of staring at electronic devices is the reason why most of us get dry eyes, especially with younger persons. Lifestyle changes such as looking away at greeneries every 30 minutes or so may actually reduce the onset of dry eyes and may even improve productivity as well. Appropriate glasses that filter blue light helps cut the damage done to our eyes too.

All in all, dry eyes are incredibly irritating to our daily living but with the proper eye lubricants, supplements and lifestyle changes, we can make it better and improve our quality of life in the process.


1.National Eye Institute. 2017. Facts About Dry Eye. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 31 August 2017].

2.Julie Edgar. 2012. Bilberry Extract and Vision. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 31 August 2017].

3.Wojtowicz JC, Butovich I, Uchiyama E, Aronowicz J, Agee S, McCulley JP. Pilot, prospective, randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled clinical trial of an omega-3 supplement for dry eye.  Cornea. 2011;30(3):308-314


dry eyes, ageing, dusty environment, electronic devices use, eye drops, otc eye drops, oral supplements, Supplements, lifestyle changes, lifestyle habits, omega fish oil, bilberries

About The Author
Chang Wai Ken
Ken Chang graduated with a first class honour degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from International Medical University. He is currently a practicing dietitian in the community. His areas of expertise include weight management, pre and post gastrectomy diet management, diabetic meal management, hypertensive/ dyslipidemia meal management, cancer support nutrition recommendations, functional food and supplementation recommendations.

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