Your eyes are tiny windows into your health. As a naturopathic doctor, I learn a lot about a person’s nutritional status and overall health during an eye exam. When your eyes do not produce enough lubrication, the result can be dry, red and irritated eyes, also known as dry eye syndrome. The tears produced by the lacrimal glands of each eye prevent the accumulation of dust and bacteria and keep your vision clear. With age, the skin surrounding your eyes naturally begins to sag due to a loss in elasticity; however, there may be other causes for the sagging such as seasonal allergies, poor diet and insomnia.

Keep an Eye on Your Diet and Your Environment

Caffeinated beverages, alcohol and foods high in sodium disrupt your body’s delicate electrolyte balance and lead to dehydration. A dehydrated body leads to dehydrated, puffy eyes upon waking up in the morning. If you suffer from allergies, the high levels of histamine in circulation can lead to itching and habitual eye rubbing which may provide temporary relief, but eventually stretches the delicate skin around your eyes. Limit caffeinated beverages and alcohol especially close to bed time. If you suspect that you may have allergies, see your health care provider for an assessment.

Be Mindful of Your Eye Hygiene

The skin around your eyes is much thinner than the rest of skin on your face. Your blood vessels in this area are also closer to the surface. It is therefore really important to take good care of the skin in this area. Refrain from tugging on your skin around your eyes and avoid using harsh soaps around your eyes. Be gentle with how your remove your eye make-up and hydrate with chemical free, natural skin care products on a daily basis.

Remove Your Contact Lenses Nightly

Contact lens technology has come a long way however, it is still not recommended to keep lenses in your eyes for extended periods of time. Follow the directions provided for the type of lenses that you own and do not keep your lenses past the expiry date. Contact lenses that are kept in your eyes for extended period of times can lead to dry, painful eyes.

Fish Oil

DHA is a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in cold water fish, and it is essential for vision development in infants. Omega-3 fatty acids are powerfully anti-inflammatory and a great addition to the diets of individuals who suffer from dry eye syndrome. In some cases, simply increasing the consumption of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids can make a difference in the overall appearance and function of your eyes. One study found that women who ate two servings of fish per week had less risk of developing dry eye syndrome than women who ate less fish. Salmon, sardines, herring, and trout are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to prevent damage to your eyes and is nourishing to your skin. It’s a common component of skin creams but on it’s own it can be applied topically around your eyes to soothe inflamed skin. North American diets are typically low in vitamin E. To increase the vitamin E in your diet, be sure to include foods such as sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almonds and hazelnuts. You may require a supplement if you are not able to eat foods that are high in vitamin E. Speak to your health care provider.


About the Author

Dr. Olivia Rose graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Nutritional and Nutraceutical Sciences and in 2006, she graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.

In addition to her private practice, Dr. Rose is the director of Fertility Acupuncture Services, a mobile service that brings acupuncture to couples undergoing in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination at Toronto fertility clinics. Her special areas of interest include infertility; children and teen health; stress management; weight loss; heart disease; digestive and immune health; skin rejuvenation and pain management. She is a birth doula and has additional training in cosmetic acupuncture and needle-less therapies for skin rejuvenation and joint pain.

Dr. Rose is a sought-after lecturer for community organizations; a freelance writer and mentor to new graduates. She has been interviewed by various media outlets including Global Toronto’s, “The Morning Show”, “News at Noon” and “News Hour”. In her free time, she unplugs at the spa and she enjoys spending quality time with her husband, son and tea-cup Yorkie. For more information on Dr. Rose's practice and special events, please visit -