A strong study in the International Journal of Ophthalmology found that omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduced dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome is becoming more prevalent in the West from extended close-up work on computers and phone screens. The condition can also be caused by an autoimmune disorder; it can accompany menopause; and it can have other causes. Symptoms include burning, dryness, irritation, a feeling of grit, and difficulty reading for extended periods.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in highest quantity in flax seeds, certain types of fish, chia seeds and walnuts. The human body cannot manufacture the omega-3 fatty acids DHA, AHA, and EPA. Therefore, we must ingest them in our diet or from supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for infant eye and brain development;. They also reduce triglycerides and may reduce symptoms of arthritis, depression, and Macular Degeneration.
The study1 supplemented DHA (175 mg/day) and EPA (325 mg/day). This research met the criteria of a solid scientific study: large group (254), placebo-controlled, double-blind, prospective, interventional, randomized and peer-reviewed. Authors of the study expressed concern that there is no gold standard for measuring dry eye. They checked the study subjects each month of the study for:
slit lamp examination
corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA)
questionnaire of symptoms
routine tear function tests (such as Schirmer I test, tear film break-up time (TBUT), Rose Bengal staining and conjunctival impression cytology)
After three months, the study found that 65% of patients who took the omega-3 fatty acids improved. Only 33% of the control group had significant improvement in symptoms. The authors noted that patients with blepharitis and meibomian gland disease had the best results.
Editor’s Note: Obtaining enough of these nutrients in the diet is challenging. See our page on food sources of omega-3’s. Heavy metal pollution of fish requires we limit our intake. The higher-quality fish oil supplements have been cleaned of mercury contamination. Look on the product packing to make sure. We recommend 1500mg-3000mg/daily for most adults.
Up Next: Dry Eyes Respond Best to Specific Type of Omega-3 Fish Oils
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