Dry eye syndrome: where are my tears?

Water dropAbout 12 million Americans suffer from dry eye syndrome according to WebMD. If you, like me, are one of them, you know how uncomfortable this can be.

According to a WebMD report, “Tears are a combination of water, for moisture; oils, for lubrication; mucus, for even spreading; and antibodies and special proteins, for resistance to infection.”

Oils and fluids from the meibomian glands in our eyelids keep our eyes moist. If our meibomian glands fail to produce or secrete these oils, we experience dry eye symptoms. It’s thought that the high-fat diet of our culture thickens these fluids, making it difficult for them to be released from the meibomian glands. Reseachers believe Omega-3 fatty acid from fish oil and possibly flaxseed oil helps soften these secretions, enabling them to flow freely from the meibomian glands.

Flax seeds
Flax seeds

Studies indicate that the fatty acids EPA and DHA found in fish may reduce the risk of macular degeneration. However, the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) says a recent study indicates that the fatty acid ALA found in flaxseed oil may substantially increase the risk of macular degeneration. UMMC warns, “More research is needed. Until then, people with macular degeneration should get omega-3 fatty acids from sources of EPA and DHA (such as fish or fish oil), rather than ALA.”

There are other contraindications and drug interactions for flaxseed oil as well. You can read about some of these in the links below below. You should ask your doctor if it is safe for you before taking any supplement. For more info, see:

WebMD: Flaxseed Oil Supplements May Help Dry Eyes

UMMC: Flaxseed Oil

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