We probably have all heard of dry eye supplements or even recommend them ourselves but do you know why? And do they really work?
Studies now show that 70% of dry eye syndrome (DES) patients became asymptomatic from using a combination of essential fatty acids and antioxidant supplements! This not only benefits DES but also helps to reduce heart disease and arthritis.
This makes it a win-win for most patients.
Dry eye symptoms
I’m sure we have all had those patients that sit in the chair complaining of excessive dry eye symptoms. However, slit lamp examinations show very little clinical signs leaving us baffled. This is because, until recently, dryness was over simplified as a lack of aqueous production. It has now been shown as a multi-factorial problem which affects the aqueous and lipid layers of the tear film, the lacrimal gland and inflammation of the ocular surface.
Artificial tears are a great way to manage the patients’ symptoms but do not tackle the underlying cause. We know from our patients at AVC how much impact dryness can have on their day to day life; affecting work and leisure time.
So which dry eye supplements and why?
Omega 3 & 6
To tackle the inflammation we need to look at the roles played by omega 3 and 6. Both produce eicosanoids which are signalling molecules that are involved in the body’s inflammation response. These responses are not fully understood. It is thought that omega 3 derived eicosanoids are anti-inflammatory and omega 6 eicosanoids are pro-inflammatory.
It is a common belief that we just need to have a greater intact of omega 3 to improve DES symptoms, but really it’s all about the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 which should be 1:1. Omega 6 is readily available in cooking oils so most people get plenty of this but omega 3 is less easy to get. It is found in oily fish, flaxseed and walnuts. This is why the majority of people’s ratio of omega 6 : omega 3 is more like 15-17:1.
Numerous studies involving essential fatty acids have been conducted which show an improvement in dry eye symptoms. The studies with omega 3 showed overwhelming improvements in symptoms but not in clinical signs. This reinforces that clinical signs are not always a good measure of dryness. Due to this evidence, omega 3 supplements are an effective way to treat dry eye syndrome.
Dietary antioxidants have also been shown to improve the symptoms as well as the clinical signs of dry eye. A study by Drouault et al in 2009 used a supplement containing vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. They found an improvement in symptoms as well as an increase in the tear break up time and tear stability. Dry eye supplements are now available where the formula includes dietary antioxidants.
In conclusion, it is important to understand that the clinical signs may not match the patients’ symptoms. Artificial tears have their place in managing the symptoms but think about treating the underlying inflammation with omega 3 supplements and dietary antioxidants. Your patients will be very grateful for the relief in their day-day lives.
Find out more
If you are worried about dry eye syndrome or would like to transform your life, then why not contact AVC TODAY and request your free information pack or book your consultation to find out how we can help you say goodbye to your glasses.