Research proves that taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement can reduce symptoms of dry eyes which include stinging, itching, burning, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and excessive tearing. A study published in the journal, Cornea, showed that oral consumption of 2240 mg of DHA and EPA in the re-esterified triglyceride form of Omega-3 fatty acids is associated with statistically significant improvement in tear osmolarity (severity of dry eye), omega-3 index levels in the blood, Tear Break Up Time (TBUT), MMP-9 (indication of inflammation), and Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) symptom scores.
Dry eye disease tends to be a chronic condition, and it usually cannot be cured completely. However, in addition to using medications like Restasis and preservative-free artificial tears for comfort, taking a high quality Omega-3 supplement can improve the quality of the tears and help relieve symptoms of dry eyes. Dr. Barbara Evans, a board-certified ophthalmologist in Des Moines, has a special interest in treating dry eye disease as she herself has Sjogren’s Disease which causes chronic dry eyes.
To maintain eye comfort and good vision, the front surface of your eye must be covered with an even layer of tears that contain the right mix of water, mucous, and oils. If tears are not of sufficient quantity or quality to maintain that layer, dry eye disease (also called ocular surface disease) can develop.
The oil component of tears is made by the small meibomian glands at the base of the eyelashes along the edge of the lid. It is crucial to have a healthy layer of oil in the tears to keep the tears from evaporating quickly. Omega-3 deficient glands may become inflamed and clogged which accelerates tear evaporation and dryness due to missing oil. Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease inflammation and improve the oil layer component of your natural tears which improves dry eye symptoms and reduces the need for artificial tears. Omega-3 supplements are safe for most healthy adults and generally have few side effects when taken in a standard dose.
In recent years, fish oil has been suggested as a possible remedy for dry eyes. Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA. Studies show that long-term consumption of EPA & DHA in the re-esterified triglyceride form (rTg) can help to maintain a healthy tear film and assist in overall eye comfort. These two Omega-3 fatty acids are also thought to provide a wide range of other health benefits including improved heart and brain health. Due to these potential benefits, fish oil has become a popular dietary supplement.
As a board-certified ophthalmologist in Des Moines, Dr. Barbara Evans has reviewed research studies regarding the effectiveness of using Omega-3 supplements to treat dry eyes. There are numerous Omega 3 supplements available for purchase and they vary widely in the amount of EPA & DHA they contain as well as their bioavailability and effectiveness in treating dry eye disease. Dr. Evans recommends the De3 Dry Eye Omega Benefits supplements manufactured by Physician Recommended Nutraceuticals (PRN). De3 contains EPA 1680 mg and DHA 560 mg (which is the dosage used in the study above) in the easily absorbed re-esterified triglyceride form.
Q: Why shouldn’t I buy fish oil at my local store?
A: Many store-bought omega-3s are in a synthetic (ethyl ester) or unpurified form, which is difficult to absorb and leaves a fishy odor/aftertaste. PRN Omega-3s are in an ultra-purified re-esterified triglyceride (rTG) form, which is a similar form to a piece of fish, but without the impurities like mercury. This form is easier for your body to absorb and micro-distilled to remove contaminants like PCBs, lead, mercury and more. PRN omega-3s are manufactured in an NSF®️ certified facility.
Q: Why can’t I just eat fish?
A: The American Heart Association and the American Cardiology Association recommend 2-3 grams of omega-3s daily (EPA+DHA). To get this amount of Omega 3s (generally equal to 3 soft gels of PRN Omega 3s daily) from eating fish, you would have to consume the equivalent of 37 cans of tuna per week! Eating this much fish could result in an increased risk for mercury poisoning. Other fish that can be purchased in stores are mostly farm-raised which have little Omega-3s, or wild-caught, which are optimal but have an increased risk of being contaminated with harmful PCBs, dioxins, mercury, etc.
Q: Why not Flaxseed?
A: Flaxseed contains the plant source of Omega-3s, also known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This form is less easy to absorb and less effective in the body. Marine-based Omega-3s have been shown to be more absorbable which may provide systemic benefits. PRN does make a vegan Omega-3 supplement (Omega-V Benefits) made from algae that contains the recommended DHA and EPA Omega-3 fatty acids.
Q: Are there any side effects when taking Omega-3 supplements?
A: Commonly reported side effects of omega-3 supplements are usually mild. These could include unpleasant taste, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, headache, and odoriferous sweat. In addition, Omega-3 dietary supplements, such as fish oil, have the potential to interact with medications such as Warfarin and other blood-thinning medications. People taking these and other medications on a regular basis should discuss possible interactions with their healthcare providers.
Q: Where can I buy De3 Dry Eye Omega Benefits?
Physician Recommended Nutraceutical supplements, like De3 Dry Eye Omega Benefits, are not available in stores, but rather are sold through a mail order system upon the recommendation of an ophthalmologist. It takes 90 days for the Omega-3 supplements to improve your dryness symptoms. PRN offers a 100% money back guarantee if you don’t experience any improvement from taking the Omega-3 supplements after 90 days.
Q: How can I make an appointment with Dr. Evans?
Call 515-225-2566 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Barbara Evans at Physicians Eye Clinic, 2101 Westown Pkwy, West Des Moines, IA 50265. She will be happy to examine you and help you manage your dry eye disease.