You’ve been at your desk all day, and your eyes are burning, your vision is blurry, and the light is killing you. All you want to do is close your eyes to get some relief. Believe me, we’ve all been there. Doctors call this condition dry eye, and it’s no fun at all.
Thankfully, there are many things you can do to get relief, both immediate and for the long-term. Here’s everything you need to know about this uncomfortable condition, including how to use fish oil and flaxseed oil for dry eyes.
Common Causes and Symptoms of Dry Eyes
The natural tears your eyes produce contain a combination of water, mucus, and fatty oils. If your tear production is too low, or your tears are evaporating too quickly, the result is tired, dry eyes.
Dry eye can be caused by age-related macular degeneration, certain medications, chronic health conditions, or chronic inflammation of the tear ducts. It can also occur when your eyes are exposed to dry air for long periods of time.
Many people have dry eye symptoms when their cell membranes dry out on airplanes, in air-conditioned rooms, or when they spend a lot of time staring at a smartphone or computer screen. It’s also a common side effect of Lasik eye surgery.
Dry eye symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable. They often include:
A burning, stinging, or scratchy feeling in your eyes.
Blurred vision/tired eyes.
Difficulty seeing at night.
Difficulty wearing contact lenses.
Mucus in or around the eyes.
Traditional treatment of dry eye includes things like lubricating eye drops or artificial tears, making the switch from contact lenses to glasses, or simply taking a break from staring at a computer screen.
Although these are all helpful to some degree, the benefits are usually only temporary. Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids may provide longer-lasting relief and prevention of dry eye symptoms.
The best sources of omega-3 are fish oil and flaxseed oil, in either food or supplement form.
Relieving Dry Eyes with Fish Oil
The human body cannot produce omega-3s on its own, so we must get them through diet or supplements. Fish oil is a wonderful source of essential fatty acids. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are the two long-chain fatty acids found in fish oil, and they have some pretty powerful health benefits.
EPA and DHA, from sources like fatty fish or fish oil supplements, are essential nutrients for brain function and lowering the risk of heart disease. They also have significant anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body.
When it comes to your eye health, these omega-3 fatty acids support the production of tear film from the meibomian glands (small glands located at the edge of the eyelid) which relieves dry eye symptoms.
Increasing your intake of fatty fish, like sardines, is a good way to get more omega-3s in your diet. If you don’t like fish, you can also take a fish oil supplement as part of your daily supplement regimen.
It’s always a good idea to consult with your health care professional before introducing a new supplement to your routine, especially if you have a health condition or take medication. Using fish oil and flaxseed oil for dry eyes is a great way to get lasting relief. However, if your dry eye symptoms persist or become severe, consult with your ophthalmologist for additional recommendations.