Fish Oil and Supplements for Dry Eye

By Walter Choate on July 30, 2019

Taking a dietary supplementIf you suffer from dry eye syndrome, you probably know how much the discomfort and irritation can make daily routines difficult. Thankfully there are many at-home and professional treatments available for the condition. Dr. Walter Choate has helped so many people in the greater Nashville, TN area suffering from chronic dry eye.

If you suffer from dry eye, you may have heard some claims about the effectiveness of fish oil supplements in reducing the severity or occurrence of dry eye attacks. We want to consider some facts when it comes to dry eye and these claims about fish oil.

The Claim: Fish Oil Can Help Minimize Dry Eye

So much has been written over the years about the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are essential for normal bodily function, and has been shown to help fight depression and anxiety, reduce the risk of degenerative eye diseases, promote better brain function, reduce inflammation, and help reduce risk factors for heart disease.

The claim regarding dry eye is that the omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can help people suffering from chronic dry eye, reducing the frequency of dry eye flares as well as their severity.

The Facts: Can Fish Oil Help People with Dry Eye?

Unfortunately, facts are much different than the reality.

According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), omega-3 fish oil supplements were no more effective at treating dry eye syndrome than a placebo. This study involved 535 different participants at 27 different eye care centers. The full study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Other Dry Eye Supplements: What You Should Know

Similar claims have been made with regard to flaxseed oil, which is another rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Patients at our Nashville practice sometimes ask if they should consider adding flaxseeds to their diet to help with their dry eye issues. A dedicated study to address the potential benefits of flaxseed oil has yet to be performed, though it is may yield similar results to fish oil supplements.

With all this in mind, even if fish oil and flaxseeds are not beneficial in managing dry eye, they do have other health benefits that contribute to general wellness and should be incorporated into you daily diet and supplement routine. Just be realistic about what omega-3’s can do for you.

Tips for Managing Dry Eye

If you do suffer from dry eye syndrome, it’s important that you carry lubricating eye drops with you at all times. Liquid tears can provide necessary relief when your eyes are uncomfortable and irritated.

Your surroundings can potentially trigger dry eye attacks, so it’s important that you avoid smoky, dusty, dry, or windy environments if you are prone to dry eye attacks. Using a humidifier in your room can work wonders for reducing dry eye at home.

When Professional Dry Eye Treatment Is Ideal

People with chronic dry eye attacks not helped by at-home management techniques should visit an eye doctor to learn about their professional treatment options. The use of punctal plugs or medicated eye drops may be extremely helpful in providing relief and comfort.

Learn More About Treating Dry Eye

If you suffer from dry eye and would like to learn more about improving your overall eye health and sense of wellness, be sure to contact our skilled team of vision specialists. The team at Choate Eye Associates can be reached by phone in the Nashville area at (615) 851-7575.

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