Vegan Omega-3 For Dry Eyes - Amandean

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March 04, 2022 6 min read

In this article:

Dry eyes: What causes the condition and how to treat it
Dry eye symptoms, causes, and treatments
What are the types of omega-3 fatty acids and their benefits?
Dietary sources of omega-3
Why take omega-3 for eye health & how to choose them

Dry Eyes: What Causes the Condition and How to Treat It

  • Dry eyes: What causes the condition and how to treat it
  • Dry eye symptoms, causes, and treatments
  • What are the types of omega-3 fatty acids and their benefits?
  • Dietary sources of omega-3
  • Why take omega-3 for eye health & how to choose them

To start, let's look at exactly how dry eye is defined. According to Medscape, conditions related to dry eyes can be diagnosed as

  • Dry Eye Disease (DED)
  • Dry Eye Syndrome (DES)
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)
  • Keratitis sicca

These conditions fall under the umbrella of OSD, Ocular Surface Disease (ocular means having to do with the eye). These conditions may overlap and be caused by multiple factors. Furthermore, dry eye disease may be categorized as one of two non-mutually exclusive types:

  • Aqueous deficient dry eye (ADDE)
  • Evaporative dry eye disease (EDE)

As you may know, the surface of your eye and cornea is covered with a thin film of tears produced by the tear or lacrimal gland. These tears help to protect your eyeballs and keep your eyes moist and comfortable.

If the surface of your eyeballs becomes too dry because your body doesn't produce enough tears (or the tears are poor quality), you may develop dry eye symptoms such as redness and irritation.

Dry Eye Symptoms

It's not uncommon to experience dry or slightly itchy eyes from time to time. Dry eyes could simply be due to seasonal allergies, windy weather, or too much screen time. However, it becomes a much larger problem when severe dry eye symptoms are persistent, causing discomfort and interfering with your daily activities.

Symptoms of dry eye  include:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Mucoid discharge
  • Feeling the eye is scratchy, burning, or gritty
  • Excessive tearing
  • Ocular irritation or dryness
  • Fluctuating or blurry vision

Symptoms may worsen over the course of the day or be exacerbated by smoke, dry environments, indoor heating, or excessive computer use.

Dry Eye Causes

You may have a chronic condition of dry eye if you experience these symptoms consistently. In this case, it's important to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist so they can diagnose the underlying cause. 

A variety of factors can cause dry eyes, including:

  • Aging
  • Ocular surface damage due to contact lenses, eye surgery, or other injuries
  • Environmental conditions
  • Medications with side effects of dry eye such as antihistamines and antidepressants
  • Hormonal changes, particularly during menopause
  • Autoimmune conditions such as Sjogren's Syndrome or a thyroid disorder

Sjogren's Syndrome is defined by the Mayo Clinic as an autoimmune disease that affects mucous membranes and moisture-secreting glands of the eyes and mouth. The most common symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth. This condition is more common in women, and most patients are over 40 years old when diagnosed.

Dry Eye Treatments

Once the cause of dry eye is identified by a health care provider, there are several treatment options that your doctor may recommend. The National Eye Institute lists the following as common treatments of dry eye:

  • Over-the-counter artificial tears or lubricating eye drops
  • Prescription medications or eye drops
  • Lifestyle changes such as - avoiding smoke, limiting screen time, using a humidifier, wearing sunglasses
  • Tear duct (punctal) plugs
  • Surgery in extreme cases

Living a generally healthy lifestyle, drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day, and sleeping 7-8 hours a night, can also help keep your eyes healthy.

What are the Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Their Benefits? 

We've talked about omega fatty acids in the past, but let's take a closer look at what they are and why they're so crucial for your health.There are three main types of Omega-3 fatty acids: DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). These are essential fatty acids, which means your body cannot produce them, and they must be ingested in food.

Health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Brain and eye development during pregnancy and infancy
  • Decreased inflammation throughout the body
  • Improved blood flow to heart and brain
  • Reduced depression and anxiety symptoms
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Protection against Alzheimer's disease and brain health
  • Lowered cholesterol

Dietary Sources of Omega-3s

The best dietary sources of ALA include flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, walnuts, and soy. While humans can convert small amounts of ALA to EPA and DHA, this process is limited and inefficient. This is why it's essential to choose foods or supplements that are a good source of EPA and DHA. (Read more about decoding the difference between ALA, DHA, and EPA here.)

Some foods commonly fortified with DHA include eggs, orange juice, yogurt, and milk. You can get omega-3s in your diet from food. The primary sources of EPA and DHA include fatty fish and marine plants such as:

  • tuna
  • halibut
  • salmon
  • mackerel
  • sardines
  • algae
  • seaweed

Though omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for your health, there are some concerns when it comes to consuming fish, such as contamination. Fish may be contaminated by heavy metals like mercury, lead, and other harmful chemicals polluting ocean waters.

Young children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of heavy metals. This is why many people choose fish oil supplements. It’s a good idea to choose a supplement from fish that have been sustainably sourced, or choose a vegan omega-3 supplement free of those concerns.

Why Take Omega-3s for Dry Eyes

Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in health throughout your body. In particular, they have powerful anti-inflammatory properties which can help in eye conditions where the membranes and structures of the eye are inflamed.

Researchers have discovered that the retina has a high concentration of DHA omega-3s. One epidemiological review and review of the scientific literature suggest DHA supplementation could protect the retina and optimize the fluidity of membranes and visual function. The same study indicates a positive relationship between dietary intake of omega-3s and reduced risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). It appears that omega-3s have a variety of benefits for eye health!

Schirmer's test is a medical measure used to determine if the eye is producing enough tears. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on dry eye and omega-3 supplementation found that supplementation significantly improved the Schirmer's test and tear break-up time in patients suffering from dry eye. Based on these results, the researchers suggest omega-3 fatty acid supplementation could be an effective treatment for dry eye.

Recommendation for Omega-3 Supplements

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 1g/day of EPA and DHA. However, data from the NHANES study shows that consumption of DHA and EPA from foods is about 40 mg in children and teens and about 90 mg in adults. Because few Americans can meet the recommendations for omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA and EPA intake from food alone, a supplement may be beneficial. 

Consider the following factors when looking for a high-quality omega-3 supplement.

  • Amount of omega-3: Look for 1g or 1000mg of omega-3 to meet the daily recommendation. 
  • Types of omega-3 fatty acids: Ensure the supplement contains DHA and EPA, a ratio of 2:1 or more is recommended.
  • Source of omega-3:Look for sustainably-sourced omega-3 from wild-caught fish or algal oil.
  • Purity of omega-3. Look for supplements with a third-party seal of approval and CGMP verification.

Consider Amandean Vegan-Omega-3 supplements, which meet all the above recommendations. The Amandean supplements contain 300 mg of DHA and 150 mg of EPA.

If you're suffering from dry eyes, optometry professionals recommend omega-3 supplementation to help improve your dry eye symptoms. Omega-3 nutritional supplementation could provide the much-needed eye relief you're looking for while providing a host of other health benefits for your body!

Summary Points:

If the surface of your eyeballs becomes too dry because your body doesn't produce enough tears (or the tears are poor quality), you may develop dry eye symptoms such as redness and irritation.

Symptoms may worsen over the course of the day or be exacerbated by smoke, dry environments, indoor heating, or excessive computer use.

Researchers have discovered that the retina has a high concentration of DHA omega-3s.

The researchers suggest that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation could be an effective treatment for dry eye.

The Amandean supplements contain 300 mg of DHA and 150 mg of EPA.

References:

  1. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/dry-eye
  2. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1210417-overview
  3. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1210417-clinical
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sjogrens-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20353216
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3206354/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4165511/
  7. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/
  8. https://stoneycreekeyecare.com/how-omega-3s-can-help-treat-dry-eye/



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