Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Dry Eyes

Published by Auckland Eye on Monday, 06 Nov 2017

Many of us have grown up with our parents telling us "eat your fish, it is good for your brain".  As adults we may have also started consuming more fish to maintain and improve cardio vascular health. Did you know though that fish and fish oils  (particularly cold water fish, which contain higher levels of Omega-3's) can also boost our eye health? Here's how: A study from The Advanced Eye Centre, Chandigarh, India, presented at The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Symposium in San Diego, (2015) has shown a promising link between Omega-3 fatty acids and the improvement of conditions such as Dry Eyes.

Dry Eyes is one of the most common causes of eye complaints around the world. Symptoms include a scratchy, burning or  tingling sensation in the eye, which can also be accompanied by pain and sensitivity to light.  If let untreated, it can lead to more serious vision issues. Symptoms of dry eyes can worsen as we age, and seems to affect women more than men. It is also affected by how much time we spend in front of a screen.

The Chandigarh research looked at 60 patients with moderate eye disease, over a period of 12 weeks. One group was given a fish oil capsule containing 1.2 gm of Omega-3 fish oils and the other (placebo) group was given a Vitamin E supplement. All patients were given eye drops and warm compresses. The results revealed a "statistically significant" improvement  in patients receiving Omega-3 fatty acid capsules than those taking just Vitamin E.

Lead author Arun K Jain says: “At the 12-week mark, tear break-up time had increased 105 per cent in the Omega-3 group, compared with a 51 per cent improvement in the placebo group."

“Ocular Surface Disease Index scores improved 67 per cent among Omega-3 recipients, compared with 27 per cent among those receiving vitamin E.

“Tear film quality increased 50 per cent among those receiving the fish oil supplements, versus 12 per cent for those receiving placebo".

“All of these differences were highly statistically significant.”

Dr Jain also conducted 'contrast sensitivity' tests and found 'significant improvement' amongst the Omega-3 recipients in most of the testing conditions, in comparison with the Vitamin E group.

So, do continue eating fish (and taking your Omega-3 supplements) knowing they are healthy not only for your heart but also for your eyes.  As with any supplements, it is best to consult with your doctor before taking them in any significant quantity.

Categories: Eye Conditions

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