Do you struggle with dry eyes? You might have heard that fish oil provides relief, but is it the right solution for you? Keep reading to learn the latest about this possible dry-eye remedy.
There are many reasons you might have dry eyes, a condition that causes discomfort and pain for about five million Americans every year. Whether it’s the result of pollution, allergies, conditions like diabetes, or even hormonal changes, if you suffer from dry eye, you’ve probably looked for a solution to the scratchy, irritating, or burning sensation and other dry eye symptoms.
Why Do People Take Fish Oil for Treatment of Dry Eye?
While eye drops or artificial tears are common remedies, another possible solution that many have turned to for relief is fish oil. Fish oil has been said to help relieve dry eye because it contains omega-3 fatty acids from the skin of oily fish, such as salmon or mackerel. It can be found in capsule form, as well as in a diet rich in seafood sources of omega-3s, like salmon, tuna, herring, and sardines.
Why We Need Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Two types of omega-3 fatty acids are present in fish oil: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These are present in every cell in the human body and are building blocks of chemical regulators. There is research to support a variety of health benefits from consuming omega-3 fatty acids, including that they can help lower risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, dementia and even depression and other mental illnesses.
Omega-3s and Our Eyes
In our visual system, both DHA and EPA improve the function of the eye’s meibomian glands, which produce oil needed for tears. These fatty acids also reduce inflammation, and, for those who have age-related macular degeneration and other retinal diseases, can reduce the growth of abnormal blood vessels. So, does that mean you should take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement? Supplementing with fish oil might help relieve dry eyes, especially if inflammation is the root cause.
However, making sure to include fatty fish in your diet may have a bigger impact. A significant study of 32,000 women found that those who consumed their omega-3s from fish had a 17% lower risk of dry eye than women who ate little or no seafood. And one major study from the National Eye Institute (NEI) found that fish oil supplements were no better than a placebo in soothing dry eye.
With that said, your eye doctor is the best person to consult as to whether or not you should be treating dry eye with a fish oil supplement or another treatment. He or she will be able to help you understand the root cause of your dry eye problems and recommend the right remedy for you.
Suffering from dry eye? Schedule an eye exam today and get started finding relief for this uncomfortable condition.