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Dry Eyes? What Should You Drink (and Avoid) for Relief?

What drinks are dry eye friendly

If you suffer from dry eye then you need to think about what you eat and drink a bit more carefully. The impact of certain foods have been extensively researched, but what about what you drink? Dry Eye Zone has been exploring the research behind the impact of every day drinks on your dry eye symptoms. Things are not as straight forward as you might think.


Read on to learn more …..


Water – is it the secret to dry eye relief? You will have no doubt read that consuming those extra glasses of water will help in the control of dry eye symptoms. However, a recent large-scale study involving over 50,000 people has called this advice into question. Hydration is essential for good health overall but additional water consumption did not show the expected dry eye benefits. In fact, most surprisingly, those people studied with the highest water intake appeared to be carrying a small additional risk of dry eye. The researchers concluded that more studies were needed to fully understand this.


Coffee – friend or foe?

In a large population study the amount of caffeine-based drinks, including coffee, consumed was measured and the level of dry eye symptoms recorded. As coffee is a well-known diuretic it seemed reasonable to think it might antagonise dry eyes. The findings might surprise you – not only was their no link between caffeine and dry eye, caffeinated coffee actually decreased dry eye risk. In a separate study that looked into the effect of coffee on tear production, an increase in tear secretion was seen after drinking a cup of coffee.


Tea – refreshment for dry eyes?

Unlike coffee tea was linked to an increased risk of dry eye disease so if your eyes are feeling tired a refreshing cup of tea might not be your ideal beverage.

Interestingly, a reduction in tear film quality and quantity was also observed in a study of 60 people after drinking a cup of green tea. What makes this result noteworthy is that there are studies which looked at the effect of using eye drops made from green tea which showed positive results! This was attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of green tea.


Alcohol – a bit of a surprise here too

The impact of consuming higher than the recommended levels of alcohol on many aspects of your health is well known. In a review of scientific publications related to dry eye it was concluded that alcohol consumption was a significant contributory factor in dry eye symptoms. The message was clear, if you want to manage dry eye symptoms then keep your drinking to a minimum. A more recent study of over 70,000 people went on to conclude that alcohol consumption was only a dry eye symptoms risk factor in women, and not men. As alcohol is both a diuretic and has inflammatory properties it is not understood why the men were not affected – more research needed!


Fizzy drinks – are they a dry eye pick-me-up?

Generally fizzy drinks, like colas and orangeade, contain caffeine. There have been several studies which have concluded that caffeine does not appear to be a risk factor when it comes to dry eye.


Feeling thirsty?

Do not forget to keep hydrated for general health reasons but for your dry eyes – it looks like you might be better off with a nice cup of coffee! Enjoy.


And don’t forget to visit Dry Eye Zone and subscribe to the regular free information updates.



If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms then you should ask the advice of your eye care professional. Do not leave things untreated as symptoms may progress. Why not book your next eye examination with an independent optician today.




Nguyen L, Magno MS, Utheim TP, Jansonius NM, Hammond CJ, Vehof J. The relationship between habitual water intake and dry eye disease. Acta Ophthalmol. 2023 Feb;101(1):65-73. doi: 10.1111/aos.15227. Epub 2022 Aug 8. PMID: 35941821; PMCID: PMC10087849.


Magno MS, Utheim TP, Morthen MK, Snieder H, Jansonius NM, Hammond CJ, Vehof J. The Relationship Between Caffeine Intake and Dry Eye Disease. Cornea. 2023 Feb 1;42(2):186-193. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000002979. Epub 2022 Jan 26. PMID: 35081066; PMCID: PMC9797200.


Osei KA, Ovenseri-Ogbomo G, Kyei S, Ntodie M. The effect of caffeine on tear secretion. Optom Vis Sci. 2014 Feb;91(2):171-7. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000000129. PMID: 24240351.


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Magno MS, Daniel T, Morthen MK, Snieder H, Jansonius N, Utheim TP, Hammond CJ, Vehof J. The relationship between alcohol consumption and dry eye. Ocul Surf. 2021 Jul;21:87-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jtos.2021.05.005. Epub 2021 May 21. PMID: 34029755.


Nejabat M, Reza SA, Zadmehr M, Yasemi M, Sobhani Z. Efficacy of Green Tea Extract for Treatment of Dry Eye and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction; A Double-blind Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial Study. J Clin Diagn Res. 2017 Feb;11(2):NC05-NC08. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2017/23336.9426. Epub 2017 Feb 1. PMID: 28384900; PMCID: PMC5376801.


Saeed, Rabia & Iqbal, Iqra & Wahab, Zubair & Iqbal, Maryam & Sultan, Sharjeel & Tabassum, Dr & Farhan, Muhammad & Tabassum,. (2022). Effect of Green Tea Consumption on the Tear Film Stability and Quantity of Tear Production in Normal Subjects. Annals of the Romanian Society for Cell Biology. 26. 1762-1768.




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