The significant rise of chronic disease from the mid-twentieth century threatens to overwhelm public health systems in an increasing number of countries and is now considered an epidemic. Dry eye disease is an underappreciated disorder that bears all the hallmarks of chronic disease. Preventative health care seeks improved and sustainable patient engagement in the self-management of health to limit the progress and extent of chronic disease. Environments and lifestyles behaviours can be harmful to human health and considered as direct or indirect threats to successful preventative health strategies. Chronic disease can be viewed as the result of physiological responses of the human body to the modern environment. The quest for an increasingly convenient, global, and disease-free lifestyle is ironically threatening to undo the gains in health and quality of life made over the last one hundred years. Considering dry eye disease as a human-caused chronic disease, contributions of diet (food and beverages consumed) and nutrition (extending to relationships with self, community, and nature) to the development of dry eye disease are explored in this review. Evidence of environmental and behavioural instigators of chronic disease with an emphasis on production, disbursement, and preservation of food, is presented. Furthermore, evidence of traditional food practices that offer resistance to the development of chronic systemic inflammatory disorders is reviewed as an exemplar of potential strategies that can be put into practice by individuals and communities to reinstate a balanced life, community and planet.

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