More About Fish Oil and Dry Eye

Fish Oil Helping Dry Eye SyndromeWe love our salmon (and its prevalent omega-3 fatty acids) here in the Pacific Northwest. That goes for our eyes, too!

For the past couple blogs, we’ve been discussing dry eye and the possibility of treating or alleviating its symptoms with fish oil or flaxseed oil. Last month we wrote that fish oil appeared to be a better option specifically for dry eye.

This month, let’s get into a little more detail about fish oil and dry eye.

Tell me about dry eye again

When a person suffers from dry eye their tears either are not being produced in enough quantity to adequately keep the eyes moisturized, or the tears aren’t made of the proper mix of water and oil and they evaporate too quickly. Dry eye is more often caused by meibomian gland dysfunction, a condition where these glands simply don’t produce enough oil to make the person’s tears the correct mix.

Fish oil

Fish oil, specifically the omega-3 fatty acids in it, have two positive effects on dry eye. They relieve the chronic inflammation related to the meibomian glands not functioning correctly, and they improve the quality of the oil in the tears.

Research is mixed on the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for your eyes, but there isn’t any downside and supplementing your diet with more natural fish oil or through supplements is a good idea. Here are some tips for doing so.

  • Get enough— Most research on omega-3 and dry eyes have used at least two fish oil capsules every day. Some research points to even higher levels as increasing the anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Be consistent— To keep the lipid balance of the oil in your tear film, you need to be consistent with your fish oil supplementation. Don’t expect results if you take it for a couple of weeks and then miss a few days.
  • Be patient— Fish oil isn’t an instant cure for dry eye. Research shows that the benefits take at least three months before they start really showing up. That’s because it takes time for the omega-3 to build up in your body.
  • Old fish oil is like old fish— Make sure your fish oil supplement is fresh. Omega-3 molecules can oxidize and basically go bad. In the fish oil world this is known as becoming rancid. Your supplement should not have a fishy taste or smell. If it does, whether it is liquid or capsule form, that means it has gone bad.

Have other questions about fish oil and dry eye? Call us at The Eye Clinic, (503) 297-4718, and let’s talk about it.

Posted in: Dry Eyes

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