A recent study published in the Journal of Optometry and Vision Science found that people who suffer from chronic dry eye may be more likely to have a slower rate of reading.
Dry eye is a condition where the eye doesn’t produce enough natural tears to lubricate the eye properly, or the tear film is of poor quality due to tear gland dysfunction. It’s a fairly common condition, especially in older adults, and can be caused by a variety of different factors including age, medication, gender, other medical conditions, screen time and environmental conditions.
All of the 186 adults who participated in the study were 50+ years old and had not used any prescription or over-the-counter eye drops in the 24 hours prior to the study. A majority of the participants (116) suffered from significant dry eye, while 39 had dry-eye symptoms of some kind and 31 acted as the control group.
The study suggested that dry eye has the potential to slow reading speed by as much as 10 percent. Sufferers of dry eye read at a speed of 32 words per minute less than those who didn’t suffer from the condition. Researchers also found that the condition may make it difficult for some people affected to read for more than 30 minutes at a time.
While dry eye sufferers can use over-the-counter medications, an important first step is visiting an eye doctor to get professional testing, an official diagnosis, and recommendations for appropriate lubricants and treatment. If you suspect you may be suffering from dry eye, make sure to schedule an appointment at an FYidoctors near you.
There are also easy ways to maintain good eye health overall. One of these is ensuring you have plenty of antioxidants in your diet, such as vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. These can be found in foods such as carrots, fatty fish, spinach, cabbage, kale, walnuts, almonds, citrus fruits and supplements.
Other tips to maintain eye health include: staying hydrated, wearing sunglasses while outdoors, blinking regularly while using a computer or reading, increasing the humidity at home and at work, and getting check-ups on a yearly basis.
Read our blog for additional tips on how to prevent dry eye.