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How to Treat Dry Eye Disease Naturally with Diet

One of the most common eye disorders, dry eye disease, causes irritation or discomfort, and can decrease functional vision, sometimes causing a dramatic deterioration in the quality of life. About five million Americans over age 50 suffer from moderate-to-severe dry eyes, and tens of millions more have mild or episodic manifestations of the disease, at a cost of more than $50 billion.

In terms of treatment, there are several drops and drugs that can help. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars on things like artificial tears, but currently there is no therapy available to actually fix the problem. If drugs don’t work, doctors can try plugging up the outflow tear ducts, but that can cause complications, such as plugs migrating and eroding into the face, requiring surgical removal. Alternatively, surgeons can just cauterize or stitch up the ducts in the first place.

There has to be a better way.

What about prevention? Dry eyes can be caused by LASIK surgery, affecting about 20-40% of patients six months after the operation. With a million LASIK procedures performed annually, that’s a lot of people, and sometimes the long-term symptoms can be severe and disabling.

There’s a long list of drugs that can cause it, including antihistamines, decongestants, nearly all the antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, anti-Parkinson’s drugs, beta-blockers, and hormone replacement therapy, as well as a few herbal preparations.

In the developing world, vitamin A deficiency can start out as dry eyes and then progress to becoming the leading cause of preventable childhood blindness. Vitamin A deficiency is almost never seen in the developed world, unless you do it intentionally. There was a report in the 1960s of a guy who deliberately ate a vitamin A-deficient diet, living off of bread and lime juice for five years, and his eyes developed vascularization and ulceration of the cornea, which you can see (if you dare) in my Treating Dry Eye Disease with Diet: Just Add Water? video. That was better than what happened to an unfortunate woman who was the member of a cult and tried to live off of brown rice and herbal tea: Her eyes literally melted and collapsed.

There are also a couple case reports of autistic children who refused to eat anything but French fries or menus exclusively comprised of bacon, blueberry muffins, and Kool-Aid, and became vitamin A deficient. A case in the Bronx was written up as vegan diet and vitamin A deficiency, but it had nothing to do with his vegan diet—the kid refused to eat vegetables, consuming only potato chips, puffed rice cereal with non-fortified soymilk, and juice drinks. “His parents lacked particular skill in overcoming the child’s tendency to avoid fruits and vegetables.”

A plant-based diet may actually be the best thing for patients with dry eye disease, those who wear contact lenses, and those who wish to maximize their tear secretions. People with dry eyes should be advised to lower protein, total fat, and cholesterol intake, and do the following:

  • increase complex carbohydrates;
  • increase vitamin A content (by eating red, orange, yellow, and dark green leafy vegetables);
  • increase zinc and folate intake (by eating whole grains, beans, and raw vegetables, especially spinach);
  • ensure sufficient vitamin B6 and potassium intake (by eating nuts, bananas, and beans);
  • ensure sufficient vitamin C intake (by eating citrus);
  • eliminate alcohol and caffeine;
  • reduce sugar and salt intake; and
  • consume six to eight glasses of water per day.

We know dehydration can cause a dry mouth, but could dehydration cause dry eyes? It may seem kind of obvious, but evidently it was never studied until recently. Is the answer to just drink more water? We know that those suffering from dry eye are comparatively dehydrated; so, researchers figured that tear secretion decreases with progressive dehydration just like saliva secretion decreases and gives us a dry mouth. And indeed, as one gets more and more dehydrated, their urine concentrates and so does the tear fluid. But, one can reverse that with rehydration, raising the exciting prospect that improving whole-body hydration by getting people to drink more water might bring relief for those with dry eyes. The researchers recommend eight cups of water a day for women and ten cups a day for men.

Find more on the importance of proper hydration in my How Many Glasses of Water Should We Drink a Day?, Does a Drink Of Water Make Children Smarter?, and Can Dehydration Affect Our Mood? videos.

To learn more on other topics related to eye health, check out:

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

113 responses to “How to Treat Dry Eye Disease Naturally with Diet

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    1. Some vitamins, such as C are decreased, but some nutrients become more bio available. Overall, it’s probably a wash. Most nutrition oriented doctors urge people to eat a healthy mix of raw and cooked vegetables.

      1. Hi John, this is my reply to both you and Doro: Hi Doro, this is Daniela Sozanski, PhD in Natural Medicine and Moderator with Nutritionfacts. I agree with John S that some vitamins are destroyed such as vitamin C; however, so are the live enzymes that plants contain, with great health protective properties besides just aiding digestion.
        In addition, particular to cruciferous veggies (kale, broccoli, cabbage, etc) sulfurophane and I3C are very potent against hormone related cancers, but they to get destroyed by cooking; there are a few simple ways to promote sulfurophane production which I put in an article on my @newhealthahead fb page (flash steam, scald or treat it with additional myrosinase enzyme) if you are interested. In my opinion there is more merit in eating raw veggies, at least as a portion of your daily regimen. I hope this helps, Daniela

    2. Hi Doro, this is Daniela Sozanski, PhD in Natural Medicine and Moderator with Nutritionfacts. I agree with John S that some vitamins are destroyed such as vitamin C; however, so are the live enzymes that plants contain, with great health protective properties besides just aiding digestion.
      In addition, particular to cruciferous veggies (kale, broccoli, cabbage, etc) sulfurophane and I3C are very potent against hormone related cancers, but they to get destroyed by cooking; there are a few simple ways to promote sulfurophane production which I put in an article on my @newhealthahead fb page (flash steam, scald or treat it with additional myrosinase enzyme) if you are interested. In my opinion there is more merit in eating raw veggies, at least as a portion of your daily regimen. I hope this helps, Daniela

  1. Could you give some medical reference for your recommendations?
    Any suggestions for dry eyes related to Sjögren Syndrome?

    Thank you for all the great work!

  2. What about DHA/EPA? I’ve heard this helps. I take ~500mg EPA/DHA per day (algae-based) but am not sure how much it helps. I am wondering what the experience of others might be.

      1. Marvin,
        Thanks. Very interesting. I’ve read about N-acetyle-carnosine for cataracts but was never quite certain how safe those drops might be.

  3. Plant based nutrition healed all of my ailments but the dry eyes remained. Increasing water consumption helped but not entirely, until I discovered, with some trial and error, that I was able to completely resolve the problem by avoiding chlorinated tap water and consuming natural spring water instead. Voila! No more dry eyes! Thank you Dr Greger for all you do!!

    1. Hi Margot, this is Dr. Sozanski Phd in Natural Medicine and Moderator with Nutritionfacts. What an excellent find, I will remember this simple remedy and share it with others. Many thanks, Daniela

    2. Having only spring water to drink, my eyes went dry. So that was not the answer for me. I found that taking fish oil capsules Omega 3 did the trick for me and in fact that was recommended by my eye doctor.

  4. Also patatoes and eggs can help. Not into the mouth but heat up till hot, put into a wet towel and place on the eyes for 20 minutes so that the tear duck can reactivate.

  5. I think Dr. Gregor is a little behind the times on the cause of dry eyes…

    “With Restasis, we learned a lot about the causes and potential treatments for dry eye. What we thought was a disease related to not enough tears turned out to be a disease of chronic pain that affects primarily women but that men suffer, too. We learned that it is an inflammatory condition like rheumatoid arthritis and that like inflammatory diseases, if left untreated (or treated only with artificial tears), people with dry eye disease were doomed to have their disease worsen slowly over time.

    This is important because now we understand why artificial tears, punctual plugs and warm compresses don’t help people who suffer from dry eye.”

    1. Interesting. I never have dried eyes and so I don’t know. I always thought that not enough tear is the cause but it is inflammation. Perhaps both are the cause depending on the person.

    2. >>>that like inflammatory diseases, if left untreated (or treated only with artificial tears), people with dry eye disease were doomed to have their disease worsen slowly over time.

      I am not against taking Restatis or Xiidra, but the doom and gloom statement strikes me as over the top. I’ve had dry eyes for at least 20 years. At one point, I had to put gel in my eyes or I would be miserable the next day. I hated artificial tears, even those without preservatives – they all made my eyes feel uncomfortable. (At one point I bought about 20 different ones and systematically tried them out.) I used to have to carefully wipe my eyelids twice per day to prevent blepharitis, and use warm compresses to open up the Meibomian glands (on the margins of the eye lids) to free up the production of the oils that prevent tears from evaporating, and squirt artificial tears in my eyes off and on all day long. But over the last 2 years or so, the condition has improved to the point where I have only used artificial tears once, and then only for a few days. I also no longer need to pay special attention to my eyelids or use warm compresses, except on rare occasions.

      So what’s the difference? Not sure exactly. I switched from being a lacto-pesco-vegetarian to a WF vegan about that time, increased my DHA/EPA, so perhaps one or the other or both of those changes made the difference. Besides all the nutrients I get from all the veggies and fruit, I have found I am much better hydrated. Dr. Fuhrman claims that those on a WFP diet need less water than others to stay well hydrated, and my experience leads me to believe him.

      Perhaps if you eat a typical SAD diet, the gloom and doom statement holds, but I see no reason to believe it necessarily holds.

      Just because some problem might be an inflammatory condition, does not mean that it cannot be reversed or at least managed with dietary and other lifestyle changes.

      Also, note that for some people the real problem is that they do not fully close their eyes when sleeping. There are soft goggles that prevent evaporation of tear fluid, e.g.

    3. I have my doubts about your post.. Have you a financial interest in this matter?

      There may be a financial relationship between the owner(s) of Toyosclinic and the manufacturers of Xiidra which Toyosclinic touts as superior to Restasis. i suggest this possibility because Toyos Clinic did one of the clinical trials for Xiidra. Who funded that trial?

      It is also worth noting that Xiidra is a new drug and its long term efficacy has not been established yet.

      The manufacturers of Xiidra is MALLINCKRODT PHARMACEUTICALS. Curiously Tuttle Marketing Services operates an online store for this company.

      1. TG, Tuttle marketing does logos on products like pens, water bottles, & in this case, lab coats. We use their services for our business, & I actually know Nancy Tuttle (I know, what are the chances of that). They have a lot of contracts with pharmaceutical companies, but it’s unlikely that they would have anything to do with marketing a drug.

        But I, too, am skeptical of the relationship between Toyos Clinic & Mallinckrodt.
        I especially find the statement that people are “doomed to have their disease worsen slowly over time” alarming. This sounds like fear mongering to me, because it certainly isn’t the case with me. My dry eye problem has slowly gotten better & is now nearly non existent since becoming completely WFPB (& not the half-a$$ed version I was doing before). I think I used the drops once last month. And that was after spending hours staring nonstop at a computer screen.

        Maybe dry eye will worsen on the SAD, but it’s not necessarily so on the WFPBD, since it reduces inflammation. But of course you can’t can’t sell drugs when you make that kind of recommendation to people.

      1. Christopher’s Herbal Eyebright solution has helped me… I also keep a DIY sea salt and distilled water mixture in my bathroom cabinet that I use twice a day… Feels great. Sometimes before going to sleep at night, if my eyes are particularly burning, I’ll put some organic virgin coconut oil in my eyes before going to sleep. The world is a little blurry when you wake up, but it soon clears.

  6. I’ve had pretty severe dry eyes. The recommendations by the Dr. are very good. In addition to that I soak my eyes for 5 minutes every morning with my washcloth and the hottest water I can get in my sink. If it still acts up, I do it again in the evening. If that doesn’t work, I take 3 antioxidant Thera Tears pills in the AM. If problems exist after that, try Systane Balanced, but limit it to twice a day. If you need more drops after that, use preservative free ones.

  7. Speaking of vitamin A, carrot and sweet potato for instance have plenty or beta carotene that has to be converted to Vitamin A by the body, albeit inefficiently when you get old or have a gene mutation. It’s not true vitamin A so that you know.

    And collagen will fix your leaky aqueous eyes beside repairing your other organs.

    1. Jerry, do you mean collagen plugs? Your comment makes it seem like you should ingest collagen to help cure dry eyes. But that study you linked does not say that at all. DANGEROUS!

          1. No, plugs are simply inserted under local anesthesia. Mine took about one minute total. Dissolvable ones can be made of various materials including collagen but are eventually absorbed by the body. Semi-permanent ones can also be made of various materials including silicone. Some can be mechanically removed, others flushed out.

        1. Where does it say that?

          To compare the short-term efficacy of collagen and silicone plugs for treating dry eye using quantitative lacrimal scintigraphy.
          Prospective randomized clinical trial.
          In this institutional study, 24 dry eye patients were evaluated in two groups: group I (n = 22 eyes) received collagen plugs and group II (n = 26 eyes) received silicone plugs. Comparisons were made with normal control subjects (n = 22 eyes). Data for the Schirmer I test, tear break-up time, and ocular surface staining with rose bengal dye were recorded before and after punctal occlusion. Lacrimal scintigraphy was performed at each time point, and the time to half maximum activity on the ocular surface (T(1/2)), and the percentage retention of activity on the ocular surface at the end of the dynamic study (RI) were recorded.
          In both patient groups, Schirmer I results, tear break-up times, and rose bengal staining scores improved significantly after plug insertion. Mean T(1/2) values and RI values increased significantly in both groups (P .05).
          Collagen and silicone plugs both resulted in significant increases in aqueous tear volume, half-life of nuclear material on the ocular surface, and percentage of nuclear material retention. The groups’ post-insertion values for all parameters were similar. These results suggest that these two plug types have similar efficacy as treatments for dry eye in the short term. Further studies evaluating long-term results are required.

                1. That has absolutely nothing to do with your original claim nor does it say people should eat collagen containing foods. Why do you continually misreport these things?

            1. Jerry Lewis,
              Are you kidding? In this context, “collagen and silicone plugs” can only mean “collagen [plugs] and silicone plugs”.

              Proof: ” patients were evaluated in two groups: group I (n = 22 eyes) received collagen plugs and group II (n = 26 eyes) received silicone plugs. ”

              Just as I have suspected, you really do read by keyword extraction.

        2. Jerry Lewis: Here’s the title of the reference you cited to support your ridiculous claim:

          “Silicone versus collagen plugs for treating dry eye: results of a prospective randomized trial including lacrimal scintigraphy.”

          Using your key word extraction approach to interpreting text, one might conclude the study fed silicone to the participants!

          You must be putting us on.

  8. Tears are composed of both water and lipids. My right eye does fine all the time–no dry eye. My left eye however produces water tears but evidently the ducts that produce lipid component in tears is being compromised. So the lubrication is short lived and results in my left eye experiencing drying. This becomes very painful at night and during the day when exposed to sunlight.

    I use the “Advanced” version of “Refresh” (containing water soluble lubricants) to mitigate the problem–albeit temporarily. I follow a plant-based.

      1. Been there done that. Only offers temporary relief even shorter than Refresh. I am looking for a long term solution that preferably addresses the root cause.

      1. I prefer TheraTears because they’re supposed to be the closest thing to real tears. I used the gel & the drops for a couple of years due to eye strain & possibly also laser surgery. Since finally going full WFPB, I rarely ever to use them, & even then it’s usually because I’ve been staring at a computer or TV too long.

      1. So far a WFP diet has not stopped the progression of my cataracts, although possibly the progression has been slowed. Hard to say for sure since the doctors do not objectively measure progression – they simply look in the eye and say “yup, it’s getting worse”. I eat a mostly Fuhrman nutritarian diet (so lots of nuts/seeds, veggies and fruit) although I also eat a lot of whole grains for the calories (I exercise a lot and tend to get too thin). I also take DHA/EPA (about 500 mg per day) and many herbs/spices, and other ant-iinflammatory foods. I am also very careful to block UV from getting into my eyes. On the other hand, my mother had, and my two brothers have, age-related macular degeneration, but I have absolutely no trace (no drusen), and I attribute that to my diet. I speculate that my cataracts started because I am an ex-smoker (started at age 15 but mostly quite by late 20s). But the who knows. I find it interesting that these diseases can develop independently.

        1. There is some evidence that people who have surgery for cataracts, and have a replacement lens implanted, have significantly increased risk of macular degeneration. Ophthalmic surgeons (who make money from doing cataract surgery) tend to deny this, though.

          1. Re age related macular disease (AMD)

            “Studies show increased AMD risk in individuals who had a higher intake of saturated fats and cholesterol.”

            Gosh, now we have to add AMD to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, dementia and various cognitive impairments to construct a list of conditions for which dietary saturated fat and (dietary) cholesterol are risk factors. Won’t Jerry be pleased?

            1. The system won’t allow me to post the link for this quote but go the the aao,org website and look for the five ways to protect against macular degeneration page.

          2. Thanks for the references, Tom. My ophthalmologist has denied this. My concern over this possibility is why I have resisted getting the procedure for years. I suspect the reason is simply that most people do not take enough care to block UV from getting to the retina. It’s really kind of scary for someone who has a familial history of AMD. More research is definitely required.

            1. David, I understand why you want to resist. This is what happened to my mother. She had her 1st cataract surgery in 1 eye in 2004 or 2005. In 2009, she had full blown AMD in that eye. She had cataract surgery on her other eye around 2010 or 2011, then developed AMD in that eye about 2 years ago.

              The progression of the disease stopped in the 1st eye, but she’s still getting treatment for the other eye. She’s pretty much blind now. She can’t recognize faces & struggles to read small amounts of large text with a magnifying glass.

              1. It obviously doesn’t mean that everyone who has cataract surgery gets AMD, but it would be a start for doctors to at least recognize that it’s happening in some cases so that we can find out why.

              2. Wow, that’s terrible.

                By the way, it occurred to me the discussion is overlooking the difference between dry AMD and wet AMD. I have a familial history of dry (for which there is no intervention). The links provided by Tom Goff seemed to be talking about wet AMD, although I have not had time yet to read them in detail.

                Do you know which variety your mother had? Thx.

                1. David

                  Yes, the study I linked to concerned wet AMD. Apparently they did not collect data on whether patients developed dry AMD or not.’

                  We know it was wet AMD because they linked records for cataract surgery and records.for photo dynamic therapy (PDT) which is apparently only used in cases of wet AMD.

                  “Fifty (0.85%) cataract patients and 94 control cases (0.32%) underwent PDT after cataract surgery (P<0.0001, chi-square test). A significant rise in PDT rate was noticed in cataract patients compared to controls during the first 6 months after surgery (P = 0.004, chi-square test). Between 6 and 12 months postoperatively, the PDT rates were similar in both groups. However, a more significant rise in PDT rates occurred between 1 and 1.5 years after surgery (P<0.0001, chi-square test). The Kaplan–Meier PDT-free survival curve of cataract patients was significantly worse than that of the controls (P<0.0001, chi-square test; P = 33.7, log-rank test). The hazard ratio for cataract patients compared to controls to undergo PDT after surgery was 2.7 (confidence interval = 2.4–5.7). The most significant factors to reduce the time to PDT were advanced age followed by having had cataract surgery, place of birth, socioeconomic status, and hyperlipidemia (Cox proportional hazards survival regression)."

                  1. Thanks, Tom. I read the abstract. It’s quite worrisome. I noticed the article was from 2007, quite a long time ago. I wonder what kind of follow up studies have been done and will need to do a search. Also wondering why my opth. says so categorically that there is no connection (especially since he seems quite on top of things and not overly rigid).

                    1. David, my opth said exactly the same thing. This is now 2017 versus 2007. Cataract “surgery” is becoming routine. I even saw a 60 minutes piece where they do cataract “surgery” on poor people in Nepal I think who go blind, in some kind of makeshift “operating room” or more like an assembly line where people are lining up to do. Anyway, my opth said that if you wait too long then the cataract is harder to remove and it will lead to complication when you do. I have mild cataract and my opth said that I don’t need any surgery now but he will monitor.

                      My current opth is also an older doctor who is on top of everything and takes time to examine and not just rushes patients to sell eyeglasses like my previous opth did and I replaced him. And he has no incentive to recommend surgery or not because it will be done by another doctor anyway.

                      So get the latest info and not rely on info 10 years old info like certain 50 year old theory (sorry). Just think logically, cataract is the front of the eye while AMD is the back of the eye and it should not be related. The only thing that cataract surgery may do is to allow more light into the eye because the foggy lens is replaced, and that cannot cause AMD. And of course you eat a lot of foods that are beneficial to your eyes and prevent AMD in the first place such as Vit A. The old theory may be flawed and biased because people with cataract are older people who tend to have AMD anyway.

                    2. I think the professionals deny this for a number of reasons. Whether it is the same reasons that the medical profession is still doing huge numbers of stent procedures is something I am not clear about.

                      The criticisms I have seen of this paper state that the experimental and control groups in that Israeli study were not randomised. Therefore the results coukl have been confounded by other variabkes.

                      On the other hand, I have not seen any studies which demonstrate safety either. So, no firm answer as yet I think.

                    3. Tom,
                      I’ve been looking into this issue further and as far as I can tell from the very limited studies I could find that the evidence is conflicting but the general consensus (could be biased, of course) is that there is no convincing evidence that cataract surgery makes AMD worse. Caution with someone who already has AMD is routinely advised.

                      I found the discussion below interesting even though there are no refs.

                      i Here’s the most relevant part of the interview with Joshua Dunaief, MD, PhD, Scheie Eye Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Wednesday, November 30, 2016

                      “Joshua Dunaief, MD, PhD
                      Scheie Eye Institute, University of Pennsylvania
                      Wednesday, November 30, 2016

                      “Will Cataract Surgery Make Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Worse?

                      While there are a few studies suggesting that cataract surgery might make AMD worse, the largest, most definitive studies indicate that it has no effect. AMD affects the retina, in the back of the eye, but cataracts are a clouding of the lens in the front of the eye that prevents light from reaching the retina. In theory, inflammation associated with cataract surgery could worsen AMD, but the clinical evidence says that it does not.”
                      A few other refs.

                      Cataract surgery and age-related macular degeneration. 2017

                      PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The following review describes the recent evidence regarding the effect of cataract surgery on age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

                      RECENT FINDINGS: For patients with both visually significant cataracts and AMD, recent evidence supports the role of cataract surgery with reports demonstrating improved visual acuity, absence of significant disease progression, and improved quality of life.
                      SUMMARY: Recent evidence does not find cataract surgery to cause or worsen AMD.

                      Cataract surgery and age-related macular degeneration. An evidence-based update. 2015
                      “We did not find an increased risk of progression to exudative AMD 6-12 months after cataract surgery [RR 3.21 (0.14-75.68)], but the included number of subjects was small, and thus, the quality of the evidence was moderate.”


                      Long-term visual outcome after cataract surgery: comparison of healthy eyes and eyes with age-related macular degeneration. 2012

                      Patients with signs of AMD at cataract surgery had a longitudinally worse visual outcome than patients without clinical signs of AMD. However, there is no reason to discourage patients with concurrent visually significant cataract and AMD from having surgery because most AMD patients had better CDVA 10 years after surgery than before surgery.

                    4. Jerry-
                      >>>The old theory may be flawed and biased because people with cataract are older people who tend to have AMD anyway.
                      Quite possibly.

                      >>cataract is the front of the eye while AMD is the back of the eye and it should not be related.
                      This is of course true, but that in and of itself does not resolve the issue. One possibility that occurred to me is that inept surgeons can inadvertently damage the interior/back part of the eye, leading to some disease process in susceptible people. And as you mentioned, there is likely underlying AMD disease in many cataract surgery patients, and no doubt they also generally do not take care of their health/eyes e.g .block UV.

          3. Isn’t is so that the only way to get rid of cataracts is through surgery? Mine are mild and have slowed since WFPB diet, but I assumed I would have to have the surgery at some point, but I would not have the lenses changed out for vision correction, even though it seems to be quite popular. Thanks for your response.

            1. Watercress, you are seeking medical advice from a guy who cooked his liver and pancrea through the use of statin drug. So buyer beware.

              Also cataract is done routinely in this country and it is just a minor surgery to replace the lens and so his claim that cataract surgery can cause AMD is quite unscientific and dangerous. If you have cataract and don’t fix it soon then it can harden and it will be harder to fix later.

              1. Unlike you, I am not providing medical advice Jerry

                It’s just a matter of referring to relevant studies – My advice is and always has been that people should take account of the evidence and consult their doctor.

                1. Me too. My doctor said that I have mild cataract. No surgery is needed and he will monitor and if it gets worse then surgery will be needed. If I wait too long then it will be harder to remove.

            2. Hello there,

              surgery isn’t always necessary:


              “Cataract surgery is only recommended when the outcome is expected to improve vision, unless the cataracts obscure treatments for other eye diseases. Those considering cataract surgery should discuss how cataracts are affecting their daily lives with an ophthalmologist. Learn more about cataract risks, symptoms and treatments at”

              Your doctor should advise you the best,

              Moderator Adam P.

  9. What about people, notably in old age, with urinary inconsistency ? To drink a lot of water on a whole-food plant based diet may worsen the fact that they have to wake up a lot of time at night… sometimes every 2 hours.

    1. Hello,

      you shouldn’t drink anything 2 hours before going to bed. So that should also apply to old incontinent people.

      Moderator Adam P.

  10. I have had dry eye for many years and what has helped me is flax seed oil capsules. I take 4 a day, 2 in the am and 2 at night.
    It is a natural and safe treatment that really works!

    1. Using the website, I tuned up my diet to getting about 3.2 grams per day of Omega-3. The majority of this comes from ground flax seeds. How much omega-3 is in each of your capsules?

    2. That’s very interesting, Leslie! I take 2 TBL of ground flaxseed once per day but perhaps the seed oil works better for this purpose…

      1. It does seem to make a difference. I am a small woman and that dosage works for me. A bigger person might want to start with 6 a day, 3 and 3. I think body weight is a factor. Give it 2-3 weeks!

  11. I’m relatively young, 38. And I’ve been 90% wfpb for almost 6 years. I’ve had dry eyes for many years. I’ve seen improvement with restasis, plugs, and smoothies with flax seed. I saw the most improvement with the plugs and the flax. My dry eyes are definitely inflammation related, they are the canary in the coal mine so to speak, because when I eat bad and my inflammation goes up, my eyes are the first to feel it. But with all the interventions, I’m happy to say I’ve gotten to a point where I can wear contacts all day. My eyes are still pretty bloodshot most days, but they feel ok.

    1. Christy, this is not to promote meat eating or anything but just for info:

      The gritty feeling could be a sign you’re suffering dry eye syndrome, Ms Burns told MailOnline.

      She said: ‘This gritty sensation may be caused by age, for example in post-menopausal women, taking certain medications, environmental factors as well as deficiency in vitamin A.

      ‘True vitamin A is only found in animal foods – especially liver, other organ meats and cod liver oil; with some in egg yolks, butter, fish, other meats and grass-fed dairy products.

      ‘Although vegetables are often said to contain vitamin A, they don’t – they only contain beta-carotene or ‘pro-vitamin A’, which the body may only convert to vitamin A in very small amounts, as little as three per cent.’

      So, how can we top up vitamin A levels?

      Sharon Morey, a nutritionist at Quest Vitamins, told MailOnline the best way is to eat a small serving of liver once or twice a week.

      Failing that, she said: ‘Take a good-quality cod liver oil supplement or make sure you’re regularly eating the other animal foods listed above.

      1. Jerry Lewis,
        Even if one has a polymorphism preventing adequate conversion from beta carotene to retinol, this does not mean one has to eat animal foods, because vitamin A palmitate is also synthetically produced – it’s used both to fortify foods and to treat vitamin A deficiency.

        it is not clear to me how prevalent such a polymorphism is in the general population.

        On the other hand, I think that if one has any issue that could be related to vitamin A deficiency, then they should consider having their blood level checked or even get a DNA analysis. I know the latter can be useful in specific instances, since I have a polymorphism that causes me to absorb too much iron – yes, even non-heme iron, in the presence of vitamin C. Learning this, allowed me to reduce my overly high iron levels to normal by simply not taking vitamin C supplements or multivitamins with C or even eat fruit with meals.

        1. David Johnson, synthetic vitamin a (and E) causes cancer. That’s what the studies and Dr Greger said, I don’t use and so I don’t know.

          You can take a test to see if your beta carotene is converted adequately to vitamin A. Since I eat foods with real Vitamin A, I don’t need it.

          As for watery eyes caused by inflammation, it is right in the first link when you google.

          “Tear ducts can become blocked from infection and inflammation, both of which can also lead to excessive tear production. “

      2. This is more pseudoscience Jerry.

        The Weston Price Foundation are notorious crackpots and, if you value your health, should be ignored.

        The Daily Mail is a UK tabloid with a generally poor reputation. It will also quite happily quote some unlikely self-described “experts” if it will deliver a sensational story. Cassie Burns is such an “expert” but I have no idea what her qualifications are. She calls herself a dietitian and nutritionist though she is not a Registered Dietition in the UK.

        It is far better to consult the scientific literature on these things than to listen to kooks or the dodgy internet marketers that Jerry seems to favour. To learn about vitamin A, start here

      1. Jerry Lewis –
        What do you mean “the same inflammation issues”? I skimmed your reference and found no mention if watery eyes being caused by an underlying inflammatory disease, which i assumed was what you meant. Is that wrong?

        1. I am trying to help this guy and this is what I get back and he simply has an English reading problem. Completely not a human. My dog is much better than this.

              1. For example, look at Jerry’s earlier comment on this page about a study about using plugs to treat dry eyes.

                Jerry repeatedly says that the study advises us to eat collagen containing foods or use silicon plugs. in fact the study makes absolutely no mention of dietary collagen and merely compares collagen plugs to silicon plugs.

                If you go back to the comments on previous videos and blogs, you will see that Jerry makes a habit of doing this.

                For what it is worth, I do not believe that Jerry lies. I think he is totally sincere but can only see what he wants to see. he starts from his preferred conclusions and interprets everything in the light of those conclusions. I think he is incapable of understanding studies because of his rock-solid biases.

    1. Dry eye is sort of a joke name, because it makes eyes drip and be watery during the day. However, during sleep, they do become inflamed with less than adequate fluid, setting up conditions for higher than usual bacteria counts. It can be painful especially in the first few seconds of open eyes on waking. Your eyes are meant to be washed in a river of tear fluid night and day, with immunoproteins to fight infection.
      Best thing I’ve found is not an eyedrop (they wet the eye for a few seconds, and no drug sticks around long enough.). It’s an OTC product called Systane. It’s about 95% sterile petroleum jelly which sounds awful but it’s the reason it works. It comes in a little tube, so I squirt out a 1/4″ length per eye. It’s challenging to get it in place so I use the spatula-like end of a toothpick to smush it in. Then without blinking I close my eye and move my eye to spread it around. I do this last thing before bed a few nights in a row, and it breaks the dry-eye cycle so to speak, so my eyes are healthy again and I can go months before I need it again.
      I find if I skip eating vegetables a few days in a row, my eyes get that old irritation trying to come back.

    1. Thank you for your question and sorry to hear about your son. I am afraid I have not been able to find any studies on visual snow and nutrition

  12. Dear Dr. Greger, iI don’t recall the particular study , however years ago, after eye surgery,I developed dry eye syndrome and based on that study I began eating a tablespoon of ground flax seed daily. IT WORKED!!
    I religiously continue to eat it and notice that if I miss a day, my eyes dry out and it becomes painful to open them when i awaken. My eye doctor told me he recalls having heard that fact in medical school, but failed to tell me about it!
    Surprised you did not mention flax seed in your discussion.

    1. Anthony De Paola, if your eye doctor went to med school in the US, it’s highly unlikely that he heard it there. They don’t teach much nutrition / prevention in med school here. They teach how to treat, which is much more profitable.

  13. How does one deal with eyes that water too much? When i go out in cold or windy weather my eyes stream and i have to keep drying them. I would love to have info from anyone who has experuenced this and who knows what causes it and whst if any natural ways to deal with it. Cheers,

  14. HELP! I saw this blog and the list of speaking engagements. What city are those going to be in? Webmaster, will you please show those in the list? Without that information, no one can plan, and who would click open every one of them just to see what city? Thanks in advance, Kim


    No one else has mentioned this, but I added 1000 mcg. of biotin to a B-complex, hoping to improve my brittle nails, which it did over time, however the biotin also greatly improved and almost eliminated my dry eye condition. Upon awaking, a little dry, but it quickly goes away. I learned there is so little biotin in the complex, because it is one of the most expensive vitamins.

    Hope this helps.

  16. Been WFPB for 4 years this July. I had dry eye and also had some pressure in my eyes, indicating pre-glaucoma. I was always using naturopathic drops for the dry eye. I’m not sure when, but early on after I went WFPB whole-hog (after reading The China Study), I noticed my dry eye was gone!!! That’s not all: on the next exam by my opthalmologist he said my pressure was normal and my eyes were very healthy. I am 76; wear glasses for vision correction, but I am so blessed to have healthy eyes. My WFPB diet hasn’t solved all my problems (another story), but this improvement came amazingly quick. PS. Last time I visited the opthalmologist, I tried to explain how my diet had been responsible for the improvement, he just smiled and said dismissively “oh yes, a lot of my patients take supplements.” He hadn’t a clue!

  17. I have been told by a co-worker that eating a vegetarian diet or vegan diet… (I’m a strict vegan)… that unless you go back to eating meat,,, panic attacks will come much more frequently and severely… I haven’t had one for a few years… especially I cut out all refined sugars from my diet…
    I looked on the internet and there are quite a few people out there that swear eating vegetarian actually increased their panic attacks…
    So… and my co-worker is now on meds and is overweight and is gone back to eating meat… so… research says what???????
    Thanks Amy

  18. Hi Amy- I’d be skeptical about any advice that starts off with “I’ve been told by a co-worker.” As noted in this video which presents the evidence very clearly (, dietary intake of the omega 6 fatty acid arachidonic acid, found primarily in eggs, chicken and other meats, is implicated in inflammation of the neurological system (brain, nervous system) and can thereby negatively impact our mental health. As the studies in this video highlight, removal of this pro inflammatory agent by eating a whole food plant based diet, can greatly improve mood and decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Please share this information with your co-workers too!

  19. Try cutting out dairy and grains, especially ‘whole grains’, otherwise stick to rice if you must consume grains and you will notice dry eye syndrome as well as acne, eczema, joint pain, psoriasis, IBS will soon disappear :) I know many people on this site still believe whole grains are a valuable part of health but please do some more research on this, as this worked for me and many others! I also cut out animal protein a long time ago but grains are very damaging, especially to the gut and nervous system. Its just some people have a better tolerance to grains than others. Gluten sensitivity is becoming more well known but it is not so easy to diagnose by your typical doctor as the symptoms are very similar to many other diseases. However there is genetic testing for this, I used 23andme followed by Promethease which confirmed I have the ‘gluten sensitivity’ genes. Keep researching people and keep up the good work Dr. G.


  20. This is from a study in Lancet. You have said that saturated fats are Bad!

    The second interesting article published by The Lancet concerns the role of macronutrients (fats, proteins and carbohydrates) in the diet and their relation to cardiovascular disease and overall mortality. To quote the conclusion of the study:hat

    “High carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality, whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality. Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or cardiovascular disease mortality, whereas saturated fat had an inverse association with stroke. Global dietary guidelines should be reconsidered in light of these findings.”

    To put this is plain English, the more carbohydrates you consume, the greater your risk of dying. Fat intake, no matter what type, had no effect on heart disease, and eating more fat, especially saturated fat, lowered the risk of stroke or of dying.

    1. Right on, but the koolaid people here don’t want to believe. And to their detriment. Sigh!

      P.S. some guy even fried his liver and pancrea with statin in the name of low cholesterol.

  21. The tips shared with respect to the concern of dry eye treatment here are really useful as treating it naturally is good thing rather than going for medication.The diet plays an important role in such cases along with other ways like avoiding pollution, using lenses carefully, use of artificial tears,hydrating yourself, blinking often which helps to cure dry eyes permanently.

    1. Four years ago I was pre-glaucoma ( had some pressure in eyes), plus I had dry eye which drove me crazy. My husband and I, after reading the phenomenal book “The China Study” by Dr Colin Campbell, gave up meat, dairy and processed oils. My eye pressure and dry eye disappeared and I have excellent eye health. Note it wasn’t just what we gave up but the good food we eat – veggies, fruits, whole grains and lots of beans and legumes, brown rice and quinoa. “How not to Die” by Michael Greger MD is also recommended and is starting to be used in med schools. (Time doctors learned about healing power of food).

  22. Can someone please help me answer this?

    I got silicon plugs, and it cured my dry red eye symptoms completely. I plugged both my upper and lower puncta. I would wake up with moist eyes for about 2.5 weeks and my eyes would stay perfect all day.

    Now I wake up with dry red eyes. After being awake for a while, I make some tears that are caught in my lid, and they are certainly not dry. But they are red. Why are they red again? My plugs are still in. I really want to cure this red eye problem.

    1. Hi, V! Have you tried out any dietary approaches for preventing/treating dry red eyes? Dr. Greger recommends consuming a whole food plant-based diet (a diet composed of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, and devoid of animal products and processed foods) along with drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. His specific recommendations are to “lower protein, total fat, and cholesterol intake, and do the following:

      • increase complex carbohydrates;
      • increase vitamin A content (by eating red, orange, yellow, and dark green leafy vegetables);
      • increase zinc and folate intake (by eating whole grains, beans, and raw vegetables, especially spinach);
      • ensure sufficient vitamin B6 and potassium intake (by eating nuts, bananas, and beans);
      • ensure sufficient vitamin C intake (by eating citrus);
      • eliminate alcohol and caffeine;
      • reduce sugar and salt intake; and
      • consume six to eight glasses of water per day.”

      From reading through the comments above, it looks like several people with the same issue have benefited from ensuring adequate omega-3 fatty acid intake/taking a EPA/DHA supplement. The recommendation for supplementation is 250 mg daily of pollutant free (yeast- or algae-derived) long-chain omega-3’s (EPA/DHA) ( That could be another thing to look into.

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