Fish Oil Could Be Good for Your Dry Eye

Dry and the Pacific Northwest aren’t usually terms that go together. There’s a reason firs and spruce grow to the size of skyscrapers up here. 

So then how can your eyes be so dry? We’re not talking about occasional dryness on a windy dusty day or after spending hours in an overheated room on a rainy January day; we’re talking about a chronic condition known as dry eye. When a person suffers from dry eye, their eyes aren’t sufficiently lubricated, often because the consistency of their tears has changed, and they no longer have enough oil 

There is growing evidence that the most Northwest of things, fish oil, may help people with dry eye. 

What causes dry eye? 

You wouldn’t think drying eyes would be a problem in this region, but the causes are internal more than external. Your tear ducts may not be producing enough tears. There could be a chemical imbalance in the tears themselves. Natural tears require a particular chemical balance to lubricate the eyes efficiently. Sometimes, your eyes are actually overproducing tears due to the irritation in your eyes, but the tears aren’t the right consistency to help. 

Aging makes us all more likely to develop dry eye — it’s more common in people over the age of 50. It can be a side effect of taking certain medications, a sign of another medical condition, or the result from an injury. 

Women tend to get dry eye more than men due to the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy and menopause. Oral contraceptives can also lead to inconsistent tear ingredients. 

Fish oil 

Some recent research points to possible benefits of fish oil for improving dry eye. Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EHA), which have been shown to provide various health benefits. It appears that these fatty acids may improve the eye’s oil film that’s produced by the Meibomian glands. This oil helps keep your tears from evaporating too quickly from your eye, which leads to dry eye. Fish oil also seems to reduce inflammation and irritation of both the eyelids and the surface of the eye. 

Where can I get fish oil? 

If you eat fatty fish, they are full of fish oil. Salmon, striped sea bass, halibut, albacore tuna, and catfish are all high in fish oil. If you take it as a supplement, studies show that 180 milligrams of EHA and 120 milligrams of DHA taken twice daily is the right amount. Don’t overdo it, as higher levels can be harmful. 

Fish oil looks to be a promising option for treating dry eye. If you have questions about the condition or about adding fish oil to treat it, please give us a call at The Eye Clinic, (503) 297-4718.

Posted in: Dry Eyes

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