When managing dry eyes, nutrition plays a big role in improving dry eye signs and symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help to reduce the underlying inflammation of dry eye disease. Omega-3 oils can help promote better function in the eyelid’s meibomian oil glands, which produce the oily part of the tears that help to prevent the tears from evaporating too quickly.
There are plenty of ways to increase our dietary intake of omega-3s. Some great sources include fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring and tuna. Nuts and seeds like walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds are also good options.
Getting a high amount of omega-3s into your diet can be done by supplementing with concentrated omega-3 capsules or liquid formulas. It’s important to note that not all omega-3s are created equal.
Most omega-3 supplements are sourced from fatty fish and you want to look for one that is purified for heavy metals and toxins and that contain a sufficient amount of EPA and DHA. To know how much EPA & DHA each pill contains simply look at the ingredients and add up the EPA DHA – the remainder is filler or fish fat.
When it comes to omega-3s the quality of the oils is just as important as how much you are taking. PRN Physician Recommended Nutriceuticals® is one of our favorite specialty medical grade omega-3 products designed for dry eye disease. PRN products are supported by clinical evidence and are custom formulated with a high concentration of omega-3s. One teaspoon per day provides a 3:1 ratio of EPA/DHA in the triglyceride form which is the naturally occurring form found in fish.
Many other fish oil products can be of low quality, unpurified, or are sold in a synthetic, ethyl ester form. This form, which is more difficult to absorb, can leave a fishy odor or after-taste. If your omega-3 supplements smell or taste very fishy this is a sign that the fish oil is of poor quality or has even gone bad.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, we also have plant based options to help with your dry eyes. To purchase these products, visit our online store. To find out more about nutrition and dry eyes, book an appointment with one of our Optometrist to discuss what omega-3 supplements are right for you.