What we feed our bodies feeds our eyes.

Many of the vitamins and minerals in our bodies are found in much higher concentrations in our eyes, so a diet lacking in these vitamins and minerals can lead to vision problems as we grow older.

Take the time every day to give your eyes (and the rest of your body) the nutritive support they need.

Eat the foods and take the supplements that provide the antioxidant vitamins and minerals your eyes require.

You’ll Protect Your Eyesight, ensuring years of good eye health, and increasing the odds that you’ll avoid blindness or vision loss for the rest of your life.

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Table of Contents

Dry Eyes and Crocodile Tears


When we think of tears, we usually think of sadness, grief, joy or other strong emotions.

The phrase "Not a dry eye in the house" sums up our reaction to weddings, funerals and other life-changing events.

Movies that make us cry even have their own special name: weepies.

But did you know that the tears we weep when we're feeling blue are different from the ones we shed when we chop an onion? Or that, even though crocodiles can't cry, there's a real medical condition called Crocodile Tear Syndrome?

This month, it's time to get clear about tears.

Cheers for Tears

Human beings need to cry. Tears are a liquid that cleans, nourishes, lubricates and protects the eyes. Without tears, the outer covering of the eye would be damaged due to dryness, and the cornea would not receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function, nor would its waste products be flushed away.

There are three basic kinds of tears:

1. Basal tears maintain the health of the cornea by keeping it wet and free of dust. These tears are surprisingly complex, containing among other substances lipids, glucose, sodium, potassium and an enzyme called lysozyme, also present in our saliva, which is crucial to eye health. Some of these substances serve an immune function by protecting against bacterial infection.

2. Reflex tears are the body's way of expelling foreign particles (dirt, dust) or other irritants, such as onion vapors, tear gas or pepper spray. The reason onions are an irritant is that they contain a compound that, when it encounters water in our tear ducts, creates sulfuric acid! (Next time you're cooking, try slicing the onion in the sink under running water.)

3. Emotional tears, brought on by pain, stress or strong feelings, have a different chemical makeup than other tears. Emotional tears may be the body's way of expelling excess hormones.

How Dry I Am

People who suffer from a condition called keratitis sicca, or "dry eye," know how important tears are. Dry eye sufferers endure stinging, itching, burning, blurry vision, or light sensitivity; the condition also makes the eyes feel scratchy and gritty, as if there is a speck of dirt that won't go away.

Ironically, this condition may actually cause the eyes to respond with reflex tears, which do not help the problem, as they don't contain the lubricating substances necessary to alleviate the dryness.

Protect Your eyes, Your Eyes will thank you.

Vision Tip of the Month: Treating Dry Eye

Dry eye condition can be treated with artificial tears, a prescription drug called Restasis or plugs that are inserted in the tear ducts to block drainage. If the condition is left untreated, eye damage and/or vision loss can occur. So the next time you have a "good cry," celebrate the good!

Vision Facts of the Month

* An estimated 12 million Americans have dry eyes.

* Computer screens, airplanes, and burns can make dry eye worse.

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