What Causes Dry Eyes?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/24/2024

Struggling with dry eyes can make daily life difficult and can be damaging to the eyes. Understanding this condition is the first step to implementing a better management plan.

Learn about common causes of dry eye, how a vitamin A deficiency can hurt you, and what you can do to prevent this issue from continuing.

Understanding Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A plays a crucial role in maintaining our overall health. It's not just about sight, although that is certainly significant.

This essential nutrient helps with cell growth and differentiation, playing a critical part in the healthy development of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.

Without adequate vitamin A, deficiencies can occur. While these are rare in developed countries thanks to abundant food sources rich in this nutrient, like cod liver oil or butter, they're still an issue worldwide.

The Role of Vitamin A in the Body

A lack of vitamin A can impact many bodily functions, but focus on one symptom you might be surprised by: dry eyes. Vitamin A deficiency can cause dry eyes and other symptoms such as sinus issues and sleep apnea.

This link between eye health and nutrition shows how interconnected our bodies are—each system influencing another, creating a symphony of biochemical reactions that keep us alive.

The Connection Between Dry Eyes and Vitamin A Deficiency

If you're experiencing the annoying sensation of eye twitching or the discomfort of dry eyes, a potential underlying cause could be a deficiency in vitamin A. This essential nutrient plays a critical role in maintaining optimal eye health.

The Impact of Vitamin A Deficiency on Eye Health

Vitamin A is more than just another vitamin, it protects them from damage and ensures they function optimally. When deficient in this essential nutrient, issues can start to arise.

Your tear ducts are particularly affected by a lack of vitamin A. They become less effective at producing tears, which leads to dryness and discomfort.

The stats don't lie: a significant percentage of people suffering from chronic dry eyes have been found to have inadequate levels of this vital vitamin.

To keep your eyes well-lubricated, getting enough dietary or supplemental vitamin A is paramount. But remember, not all sources are created equal.

Dietary Sources of Vitamin A

Preventing vitamin A deficiency isn't tricky. It simply involves including foods rich in this essential nutrient in your diet.

Animal-based Sources of Vitamin A

You can find vitamin A in various animal-based products, significantly benefiting your health.

Cod liver oil is one of the most potent sources available. Butter and egg yolk are also packed with this vital nutrient.

Plant-based Sources of Vitamin A

For those who prefer a plant-based diet or want more variety, there are numerous sources of vitamin A to choose from.

Leafy greens like kale and parsley contain pre-vitamin A, which is just one step away from becoming fully-fledged vitamin A once it enters our bodies.

The Role of Gallbladder in Vitamin A Absorption

Your gallbladder, a tiny organ situated beneath the liver, is essential for your body to absorb vitamin A.

Understanding Gallbladder Function

The gallbladder is like a storage unit for bile - a fluid made by your liver to break down fats during digestion. The gallbladder releases bile into the small intestine, facilitating digestion of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A.

This bile then acts as a detergent, breaking down large fat globules and allowing enzymes to do their job more efficiently. As a result, vitamins are better absorbed.

How a Sluggish Gallbladder Affects Vitamin A Absorption

A sluggish or poorly functioning gallbladder might not release enough bile when needed, leading to problems absorbing necessary nutrients, including vitamin A.

Research shows that issues with your gallbladder can prevent up to 40% of dietary vitamin A from being adequately absorbed. This means it's crucially important we keep our digestive system running smoothly for optimal health.

Correcting Vitamin A Deficiency

If you're battling dry eyes and skin issues, these could be signs of vitamin A deficiency.

Dietary Changes for Boosting Vitamin A Levels

Your diet plays a pivotal role in maintaining your vitamin levels. Adding foods high in vitamin A to your daily meals is an uncomplicated way of increasing your intake.

Animal-based foods like cod liver oil, butter, and egg yolk are packed with it. Choose leafy greens such as kale or parsley containing pre-vitamin A if you prefer plant-based sources.

Vitamin K deficiency, Doctor writing on transparent screen

The Role of Bile Salts in Correcting Vitamin A Deficiency

Beyond dietary changes, did you know bile salts can help too? These substances support gallbladder function, which aids the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A.

A sluggish gallbladder may hinder proper absorption, but bile salt supplements can provide a much-needed boost. They promote better digestion and let your body use all that good stuff from your food.


Dry eyes can significantly impact daily life and eye health, making it essential to understand the underlying causes, such as vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health, including eye health, by supporting cell growth and differentiation. Deficiencies in this essential nutrient can lead to symptoms like dry eyes and other health issues.

Ensuring an adequate intake of vitamin A through dietary sources like cod liver oil, butter, egg yolk, and leafy greens is crucial for preventing deficiency.

Additionally, supporting gallbladder function is vital for optimal absorption of vitamin A, as bile released by the gallbladder aids in fat-soluble vitamin absorption.

By understanding the importance of vitamin A and taking proactive steps to maintain adequate levels, you can prevent dry eyes and support your health and well-being.

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