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Wellness Tip

Dry Eyes Impair Reading

by Wellness Letter  

If you have chronic dry eyes, here’s another reason to get the problem evaluated and treated if self-help measures aren’t sufficient: It can slow reading and make prolonged reading difficult, according to a study in Optometry and Vision Science in December 2018.

Researchers tested the reading ability of 116 people with significant dry eyes and compared it to that of 70 people without dry eyes or just mild dryness. In a 30-minute reading test, those with significant dry eyes read about 10 percent fewer words per minute, on average, than the comparison group (but they did just as well at reading out loud for less than a minute). Such reading impairment could hinder daily tasks requiring prolonged visual concentration, such as working at a computer, the researchers noted.

Dry eye syndrome causes eyes not only to feel dry, but also to burn, sting, and feel scratchy, and can result in blurry vision and, paradoxically, excessive tearing (due to corneal scratching). It can have many causes and contributing factors, notably decreased tear production, altered tear composition, and rapid evaporation or drainage of tears.

This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.

Also see Eating Right for Healthy Eyes.