Dry skin and eyes are symptoms often experienced as part of the ageing process. Dry eye syndrome is also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, a condition which can cause inflammation and blurred vision and lead to complications including conjunctivitis and scarring of the cornea. People over 60 are more likely to be affected by this condition.
Dry eyes – and skin – are not unique to older people. A common complaint I hear, from people in their 20s and 30s, is that their skin is lizard-like, and that they have to moisturise all over, every day. They may also complain that their eyes feel gritty. If you’re not ageing and creaking yet still have dry skin and eyes, you have a problem which may be diet related.
More specifically, you may have a fatty acid deficiency. Many people are now fat phobic, thanks to utterly misinformed and misguided nutrition advice from so-called experts who exhort us to cut out fat at every conceivable opportunity. In chapter four of I Wish I Hadn’t EatenThatI explain how fat is essential, and how deficiency of certain fatty acids can lead to a wide number of symptoms, including dry eyes and dry skin. Other symptoms of fatty acid deficiency include poor memory and concentration, mild depression, fatigue, PMS, infertility and period pain.
The fatty acid people are most likely to lack are EPA and DHA, which are part of the omega-3 family. The best source of these fatty acids is oily fish, so if you do have dry skin and eyes, and aren’t yet old and wrinkled, try upping your intake of salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, herring, anchovies. If you really don’t like that sort of fish, fish oil capsules might also help.