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computer use and dehydration

The Curious Link Between Computer Use and Dehydration

The Curious Link Between Computer Use and Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in. If we don’t replace those lost fluids our bodies struggle to perform their necessary functions.

Usual symptoms include increased thirst, concentrated urine, tiredness, and dry eyes and skin. Rehydrating reverses most of these symptoms, but it's better not to neglect water in the first place.

The eyes are a delicate and beautiful gift from nature and it’s our responsibility to preserve them, especially from the harmful radiation of digital devices. Dehydration poses visible eye complications for eyes which must be healthy for comfortable on-screen occupations.

Now let's take a closer look at the potential aspects linking dehydration and computer use.

  • Symptoms of Digital Eye

    How does dehydration disturb computer use?

    Eyes are our windows to the world and in this day and age, a lot of our world involves the usage of digital devices. Therefore it’s critical to handle long computer sessions with adequate hydration.

    Dry eyes are usually the outcome of dehydrating eyes that don't produce enough tears.

    The eye tear film consists of three main layers - inner mucin, the middle aqueous layer and the outer lipid. The mucin layer sticks tears to the eye surface, while the aqueous or watery layer provides nourishment. The lipid or oily layer on the outer surface prevents tears from evaporating. [1]

    Each of these layers plays a vital function in eye health, a concern for frequent computer users. As you cannot sacrifice digital screens, try to enhance your vision by upping fluid intake.

    The severities dehydration brings out in the eyes include: dry eye syndrome, digital eye strain, computer vision syndrome, eye floaters and sunken eyes.

    Read on to understand more about these!

    Symptoms of digital eye discomfort

    Studies predict that the current worldwide internet users population of 63.1% will rise drastically by the end of 2022. [2]

    We must accept the truth that computers and other digital devices are our constant companions, bridging all necessities with the online information society.

    Prevention is always better than cure, especially when protecting your eyes from digital devices. Look for these symptoms that indicate dehydration and eye strain from prolonged computer use.
    • Dry, burning or red eyes
    • Itching and foreign body sensation
    • Tired or sore eyes causing fatigue
    • Blurred or temporarily fluctuating vision
    • Extreme sensitivity to light (photophobia)
    • Headaches, neck and shoulder pain
  • Problems of dehydrated eyes and computer use

    1. Dry eye syndrome

    Dry eyes are a condition when your tear ducts produce inadequate tears, and the eye cornea (front surface) loses moisture.

    Tears protect the eyes from foreign particles and infections by clearing away debris at the sight of vision. They nourish the ocular surface naturally. So the quantity and quality of tears are crucial factors which lack in dry eye sufferers.

    Dry eyes cause scratching, redness, stinging, aches and burning sensations. Often blurred vision and grittiness or a feeling of something inside the eyes occur.

    Watery eyes are an ironic symptom when the eyes sense a lack of moisture and produce excessive tears to compensate for the inefficiency. [3]

    2. Digital eye strain

    Dehydration and eye strain are closely related. [4]

    It’s easy to forget to blink while working and this decrease in blink rates (from 15-20 times per minute to 5 times per minute) lowers the level of nutrients and minerals delivered through lubrication.

    Frequently drying eyes may cause vision changes (blurred or double vision, headache, eye fatigue) due to extended sessions of digital time.

    3. Computer vision syndrome

    Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) has evolved recently as more people spend longer durations staring at bright light monitors.

    The eyes get strained by constant movement, shifting focus, varying information impulses to the brain, and cumbersome efforts of the ocular muscles.

    The eye strain symptoms mentioned in this article will negatively impact our digital working hours if taken for granted.

    If you wish to keep CVS at bay, try implementing as many eye care treatment ideas as possible to safeguard your vision. [5]

    4. Eye floaters and sunken eyes

    Before heading for treatment, it’s vital to know that spots distracting the vision could be a cause of dehydration.

    A gel-like substance of the eye called vitreous humour loses shape and triggers black spots to fly around the vision. Since it contains 98% water, its proteins solidify when the eyes dehydrate.

    Sunken eyes are another issue which occurs when layers of eye tissue lose their plumpness and make eyes appear hollow and discoloured.

  • Tips for Dehydration and Prolonged computer use

    10 Eye care tips for dehydration and prolonged computer use

    1. Frequent blinking: Blinking often helps spread tears and mucus around the eyes.
    2. Routine breaks: Never prolong your computer usage. Try switching to non-screen tasks like leisure walks, household chores, warm baths, etc. to relieve the eyes from heavy work.
    3. Proper eyewear: If you’re facing vision blurs, check with the ophthalmologist for ways of vision improvement. Prescribed glasses help to reduce headaches and eye strain. Wear glasses with an anti-reflective coating or blue lenses to protect from the effects of harmful screen radiation.
    4. Good posture: Proper posture and a comfortable chair protect the neck, shoulder and back muscles from wear and tear.
    5. Computer adjustments: Maintain a distance of 20 to 28 inches from the computer screen and place it 4 to 5 inches below eye level. Keep the text and visuals comfortable to view by adjusting the contrast, brightness, font sizes and refresh rate to between 70 and 80 Hz. [6]
    6. Reducing screen glare: Position yourself properly away from excess or dim overhead lighting and windows to prevent screen glare.
    7. Air quality and indoor humidifiers: Another way to combat eye discomfort is by improving the equality of the environment. An indoor humidifier increases humidity in the air around the eyes. Also, keep fans and cooling events away from your face. Growing plants inside the house are a great way to moisten the air.
    8. Eye drops: Over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops lubricate the eyes with artificial tears. But be careful to check for preservatives that can cause irritation. [7]
    9. Eye exercises: Eye exercises strengthen the eye muscles, just like how workouts tone the body. They’re basically about 'focus' and 'relaxation' to revive your eyes' energy.
    10. Natural foods and supplements: Leafy green vegetables, legumes, carrots, citrus fruits, nuts and seeds, sweet potatoes, and fish boost eye health like nothing else. If you find it difficult consuming these types of foods try supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids and bilberry extract. [8]


    Q: Does dehydration affect the eyes?

    A: Yes, dehydration makes the eyes dry, red, gritty, and sore. When severe, eyes become extremely sensitive.

    Q: How do dehydration and computer use damage the eyes?

    A: Dehydration and extended computer use can lead to dry eye syndrome, computer vision syndrome, digital eye strain, eye floaters, and sunken eyes.

    Q: Are there treatments for dehydration in the eyes?

    A: Yes. Other than general eye care, medicines and clinical procedures are available.

    Q: Which habits improve eye discomfort?

    A: Eye discomfort can be eased by keeping on top of your hydration and following the 20-20-20 rule (focusing on objects 20 feet away for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes.)

    Q: How can we enhance vision through diet?

    A: Foods rich in vitamins A, B and D, omega-3 fatty acids, and bilberry extract are great vision enhancers.

  • To summarise

    The eyes suffer significant damage when fluid levels drop too low

    After exploring the curious yet problematic connection between dehydration and computer use, it’s clear that the eyes suffer significant damage when fluid levels drop too low.

    It’s impossible to imagine a world without our eyes and not just for the sake of computers. Keeping your water levels topped up and looking out for the early warning signs of dry eyes will make a huge difference in keeping your windows to the world in proper working order.

    Try following the simple suggestions mentioned above, and your eyes will be grateful for every drop of water that flows through the body to health and happiness!

    Written by Kieran Higgins, Health Writer.

    Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.