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What Vitamins Are Good for Dry Eyes?

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An assortment of food rich in Vitamin C sorted into wooden bowls.

Living with the long-term discomfort of dry eyes can be frustrating, and sometimes debilitating. While there are various treatments available, there’s growing evidence that our diet plays a key role in eye health. Omega fatty acids, and vitamins B12, C, E, and A can all contribute to the health of your tear film. Determining the root cause of your dry eyes with regular eye exams is the first step toward relief.   

Common Causes of Dry Eyes

Dry eyes can be triggered by various causes:

It’s important to identify and address the root cause of your dry eyes, as addressing these underlying issues will be integral to your long-term eye health.

The Role of Vitamins in Our Eye Health

Vitamins play a crucial role in maintaining healthy eyes by supporting various functions, from antioxidant protection to improved tear production. Certain vitamins and their associated minerals are known for promoting eye health, and incorporating them into your daily regimen may provide some relief from dry eye symptoms.

Vitamin A

Known as retinol when obtained from animal sources or beta-carotene in plants, vitamin A is vital for good vision, and a deficiency is linked to numerous eye problems, including dry eyes. It also helps to maintain the mucous membranes that protect the eye’s surface.


A complex of eight different vitamins, B-complex vitamins like B2 (riboflavin) and B12 are important for overall eye health. 

Vitamin C & E

Vitamin E in particular has been studied for its role in increasing the tear film lipid layer, which can be beneficial for those with evaporative dry eye. Vitamin C can reduce or delay the onset of cataracts and has been shown to slow the progression of macular degeneration. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Though not vitamins in the strict sense, these essential fatty acids have been shown to decrease dry eye symptoms by reducing inflammation and supporting healthy tear production in addition to other health benefits.

Essential Sources of Eye-Healthy Nutrients

Identifying which foods contain these important vitamins and nutrients is the first step toward finding relief for dry eyes. Here are some great sources for each:

  • Vitamin A: liver, eggs, sweet potatoes, spinach, and carrots
  • B-Vitamins: whole grains, meat, eggs, legumes, seeds, and nuts
  • Vitamin C: citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and kale
  • Vitamin E: nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseeds, and walnuts

The key to incorporating these nutrients into your diet is to focus on a wide variety of foods and ensure that a significant portion of your diet is made up of whole, unprocessed foods.


While getting vitamins through your diet is the optimal route, sometimes it’s not possible to get enough of these important nutrients through food alone. Supplements can play a crucial part in ensuring you’re getting adequate levels of the vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy eyes.

Vitamin A Supplements

Be cautious with vitamin A supplements, as high doses can be toxic. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adult men is 900 micrograms (mcg) per day, and for adult women is 700 mcg per day.

B-Complex Supplements

Vitamin B supplements can be particularly helpful for vegetarians and people who have malabsorption issues. The RDA for most B vitamins isn’t very high, making supplementation an easy way to meet your needs.

Vitamin C & E Supplements

Both of these vitamins are very safe and easy to find in supplemental form.

Omega-3 Supplements

For those who don’t eat fish or find it hard to get enough omega-3s from their diet, a fish oil supplement can be beneficial. Look for one with high levels of DHA and EPA, the active forms of omega-3s.

It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, as they can interact with other medications or medical conditions.

Can Vitamins Make Dry Eyes Worse?

Just as vitamins can alleviate dry eye symptoms, some may worsen the condition when taken in excess. Excessive vitamin A can lead to a condition called hypervitaminosis A, which can cause an array of symptoms including dry eyes. Vitamin supplements are labeled with their amounts, which can be a useful way to control intake.

Additional Considerations

In addition to vitamins, other nutritional strategies can help manage dry eyes:


A young man drinking water from a glass.

Dehydration is a major player in dry eyes, so drinking enough water is always essential. Try to aim for eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

Beverage Choices

Limit caffeine and alcohol, both of which can contribute to dehydration and worsen dry eye symptoms.

Meal Frequency

Focus on eating balanced meals throughout the day to maintain consistent energy and hydration levels in the body.

Beyond Nutrition: Lifestyle Strategies for Dry Eye Relief

In conjunction with a nutrient-rich diet, there are various lifestyle changes and practices that can support your eye health and help manage dry eye symptoms:

The 20/20/20 Rule

Staring at screens can reduce your blink rate, contributing to dry eyes. Refer to the 20/20/20 rule, taking regular breaks to refresh your eyes.

Humidifier Use

Adding a humidifier to your home or office can help maintain optimal humidity levels and prevent the air from drying out your eyes.

Eye Protection

Wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection to shield your eyes from wind and sun, and consider protective eyewear when in dry or dusty environments.

Regular Eye Exams

Keep up with regular eye exams so that any issues with dry eyes can be identified early and treated appropriately.

Finding Relief

Our eyes are both a product and a mirror of our lifestyle and dietary choices. By maintaining a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, and scheduling regular eye exams you can maintain your overall eye health.

An eye exam at Insight Eyecare can help identify the root cause of your dry eyes. Our friendly, experienced team can provide eye care for everyone in the family. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Written by Dr. Karen Sahota

Dr. Karen Sahota is originally from Maple Ridge, BC. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of British Columbia. She then went to Pacific University of College of Optometry, where she received her Doctor of Optometry degree (with distinction) in 2008. She and her husband, Dr. Avi Sahota, started Insight Eyecare – Doctors of Optometry in 2010. Dr. Sahota is a member of the Beta Sigma Kappa International Optometric Honour Society, BC Doctors of Optometry, and the Canadian Association of Optometrists. Besides giving exceptional optometric exams for general eye health and vision correction, Dr. Sahota also specializes in contact lens fittings and diagnosis of early glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal pathologies. She is very experienced in pediatrics, infant vision, and pre- and post-operative LASIK and cataract surgery through her training in the United States at the Spokane VA Eye Clinic, Eugene Oregon Eye Care Centre, and the Oak Harbor Naval Hospital. Dr. Sahota is also fluent in Punjabi. She is dedicated to educating her patients and increasing public awareness about the importance of regular eye health check-ups and providing her patients with the utmost best care possible. Currently, Dr. Sahota resides in South Surrey with her husband, Dr. Avi Sahota and her two sons, Kai and Luka. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, travelling, and reading.
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