Vitamin D deficiency is more common during this time of year because there are less daylight hours, UV levels are low, and people choose to stay inside to keep warm from the cold. Nicknamed the ‘sunshine vitamin’, when it comes to healthy function of the body vitamin D is very important. It helps regulate the amount calcium and phosphate in the body which helps keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Not having enough vitamin D can result in muscle weakness and increased susceptibility to infection.
Research published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases showed vitamin D deficiency is strongly associate with dry eyes
But another sign of vitamin D deficiency to be wary of is in a person’s eyes, according to one study.
Research published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases showed vitamin D deficiency is strongly associate with dry eyes.
Symptoms of dry eyes include feelings of dryness, grittiness or soreness that get worse throughout the day.
Other notable symptoms are burning and red eyes, eyelids that stick together when you wake up, and temporarily blurred vision, which usually improves when you blink.
According to the researchers, vitamin D plays a role in dry eyes due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
They added vitamin D may help prevent dry eyes by inducing cathelicidin, an anti-microbial protein that can help heal eye wounds.
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms: Are you at risk? One sign to look for is in the eyes (Image: GETTY)
The study involved 50 women who were deficient in vitamin D and 48 women sufficient in vitamin D.
Only pre-menopausal women took part in the study, as postmenopausal hormonal changes have been found to be associated with dry eye.
Summarising the findings of the study, the researchers said: “To our knowledge, our study is the first to demonstrate the association between dry eye and clinical parameters of hypovitaminosis D such a fatigue, functional impairment and pain.”
They added: “We are of the opinion that vitamin D plays a protective role in the development of dry eye, probably by enhancing tear film parameters and reducing ocular surface inflammation…vitamin D supplementation may be useful for dry eye symptoms, including ocular discomfort, soreness, redness, ocular fatigue, sensitivity to light and blurred vision.”
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms are more common during the winter months (Image: GETTY)
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms: Dry eyes can be a sign (Image: GETTY)
While the best source of the vitamin is from sunlight, it can also be gained by eating certain foods.
The Association of UK Dieticians recommends nine foods to eat to help your body get vitamin D:
Oily fish – this includes salmon, sardines, pilchards, trout, herring and kippers. Eels also contain reasonable amounts of vitamin D.
Cod liver oil contains a lot of vitamin D, but pregnant women are advised against taking it.
Egg yolk, meat, offal and milk contain small amounts but the levels can vary during the different seasons.
Finally, margarine, some breakfast cereals and some yoghurts have added or are ‘fortified’ with vitamin D.
Alongside eating a vitamin D-rich diet, taking vitamin D supplements is recommended.