Fish Oil and Dry Eye

Summer in California’s Central Valley can be hot and dry. But most of us don’t think of our eyes as being dry. Don’t tell that to our Central Valley Eye Medical patients with a condition known as dry eye. Dry eye is appropriately named for the condition where the eyes don’t provide sufficient lubrication.

While we treat dry eye with simple solutions such as artificial tears or more complex options such as punctual plugs inserted to limit tear drainage, there is growing evidence that dry eye can be successfully managed with fish oil.

What causes dry eye?

Dry eye can develop when the tear ducts are not producing a sufficient number of tears. Or the cause can be a chemical imbalance in the tears themselves. Natural tears require a particular chemical balance to lubricate the eyes efficiently. Sometimes, your eyes are actually overproducing tears due to the irritation in your eyes, but the tears aren’t the right consistency to help.

As we get older, we’re more prone to dry eye. It also results from taking certain medications, certain medical conditions, or injury. Women tend to get dry eye more than men due to the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy and menopause. Oral contraceptives can also lead to inconsistent tear ingredients.

These are other causes of dry eye:

  • Antihistamines, decongestants, and blood pressure medications
  • Environmental conditions such as smoke, wind, and excessive sun
  • Eye injury
  • Long-term contact lens use
  • Eye or eyelid surgery
  • Conjunctivitis or keratitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid disease

Fish oil

Over the past few years, fish oil has been suggested as a possible treatment for dry eye. Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EHA), which have been shown to provide various health benefits. You can now add treatment of dry eye to those benefits.

It appears that these fatty acids can improve the eye’s oil film that’s produced by the small glands on the edge of the eyelid, the meibomian glands. This oil helps keep your tears from evaporating too quickly from your eye, which leads to dry eye.

Research studies found improvements in dry eye as a side benefit of sorts, usually when looking at other benefits of fish oil. As a supplement, the studies have advocated 180 milligrams of EHA and 120 milligrams of DHA taken twice daily. Higher doses of fish oil supplements have been shown to have some harmful side effects.

Fish oil looks to be a promising option for treating dry eye. If you have questions about the condition or about adding fish oil to treat it, please give us a call at Central Valley Eye Medical Group, (800) 244-9907.

Posted in: Dry Eyes

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION

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Dear Friends,

We at Central Valley Eye hope that you and your families are well. To continue to protect the health of our patients and staff during the coronavirus pandemic, we are taking all reasonable precautions as we provide the eye care that our community needs:

  • All patients and staff must now wear masks within the clinic building. Please bring one from home.
  • Whenever appropriate, we are rescheduling patients with fever, cough, or cold symptoms
  • We have adjusted our schedule to decrease the number of patients in our waiting rooms
  • We have increased our already strict sanitizing practices
  • Whenever appropriate, we are diverting visits to telemedicine (by cell phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop). Please contact us for further details at 209-952-3700.

If you are unsure whether to come in for your visit, please call us.

Following state guidelines, the doctors at Central Valley Eye have recently resumed performing elective surgeries. Our surgery coordinators will be contacting patients to reschedule the surgeries that needed to be postponed. We appreciate your patience during this time.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 209-952-3700.

Warmest regards,

Brandy Simpson
Practice Manager
Central Valley Eye Medical Group, Inc.

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