Dr. Walter Choate of Choate Eye Associates in Nashville, TN, and Hendersonville, TN, sees thousands of patients every year, many of whom suffer from dry eye syndrome. That is, they produce an inadequate number of tears and/or tears that evaporate too quickly. There are many effective ways to treat dry eye, but one possible form of treatment relates to the patient's diet. The relationship between nutrition and dry eye is one that those who suffer from this condition may benefit greatly from knowing more about.
The eyes are no different than any other part of the body. They require a balanced diet to function properly and remain healthy throughout life. To maintain optimal eye health, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Optometric Association recommends foods containing vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin. In addition, they recommend the essential omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These nutrients are naturally available in a balanced diet that includes fruits and dark leafy vegetables, eggs, nuts, grains, and cold-water fish.
Those who find it difficult to maintain a diet that is optimal for eye health—especially older patients at higher risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—might consider using a special nutritional supplement known as the AREDS or AREDS2 formulation. Interested patients can ask one of the professionals at Choate Eye Associates for more information.
There is some evidence to suggest that Vitamin A eye drops and vitamin D supplements are helpful in preventing and treating dry eye. However, the research is still inconclusive. On the other hand, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and other professional eye organizations have stated that the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA may act to combat dry eye. It can be found in cold-water fish, such as anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna. It can also be taken as a supplement.
These oils are known to reduce inflammation and have been shown to improve function in the eye glands that produce oil for the tears. Omega-3s also may help prevent macular degeneration and other age-related conditions from developing or worsening. However, proper dosages have not been established and it is important to note that studies have shown a link between omega-3 oils and prostate cancer.
While nutritional supplements might prove helpful in treating and preventing dry eyes, the focus should always be on eliminating the causative agent or agents. Those suffering the scratchy, uncomfortable sensation that comes from chronic dry eyes, or those having any other vision-related needs, are encouraged to get in touch with the pros at Choate Eye Associates. Doctor Choate will perform a thorough eye examination and provide whatever treatment is necessary to get his patients seeing clearly again.
His busy office serves patients in Nashville and Hendersonville, as well as the surrounding areas. Patients can give him a call at (615) 851-7575 or send us a message online.