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A Fishy Solution to Dry Eye

Young woman taking fish oil supplement

It’s painful, frustrating, and affects nearly five million Americans age 50 and older. We are talking about dry eye.

Dry eye occurs when tear production is inadequate. Without enough tears, debris doesn’t get washed away, resulting in a gritty feeling in your eyes. It can be uncomfortable, not to mention annoying.

While dry eye won’t lead to vision loss, it can cause blurred sight. As such, dry eye can reduce your tolerance for visual tasks, like working on the computer, reading, or doing a crossword puzzle.

The following factors can cause dry eye, including:

  • Hormone deficiencies (namely estrogen)
  • Certain medications, including birth control pills, HRT, antidepressants, and blood pressure drugs
  • Allergies
  • Immune disorders

Over-the-counter artificial tears are a way of life for many dry eye sufferers. While these are often effective from a topical standpoint, research shows that there may also be an excellent internal solution—fish oil.

Fish oil tends to get a lot of attention for its heart-health benefits, but studies show it also has eye benefits. The key is the omega-3 fatty acid content, namely docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Studies show that women with higher fish consumption have a lower risk of developing dry eye syndrome. Similarly, two studies—one published in Acta Ophthalmologica and the other in the Journal Francais D Ophthalmolgie— found that fish oil supplements can benefit people suffering from dry eye.

If you live with dry eye, consider increasing your intake of wild, cold-water fish, aiming for at least two to three times a week. You can also take fish oil supplements, ideally 1,000-2,000 mg daily.

Ask your eye care professional if fish oil supplements are right for you!


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