If you have dry eyes, fish oil might help you

Several researches have suggested that taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement can reduce symptoms of dry eyes.

Omega-3 supplements are safe for most healthy adults and generally have fewer side effects, when taken in a standard dose.

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 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.

Symptoms of dry eyes include a stinging, itchy or burning sensation in your eye, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, mucus in or around your eye, and excessive tearing. Dry eye disease tends to be a chronic condition, and it usually cannot be cured completely. However, various treatments can be used to ease symptoms, including over-the-counter artificial tear eye drops.

In recent years, fish oil has been suggested as a possible remedy for dry eyes. It contains two omega-3 fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA.

Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to provide a wide range of health benefits. Due to these potential benefits, fish oil has become a popular dietary supplement.

Research studies looking into the benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplements have found fewer dry eye symptoms in people who take the supplement. It seems that omega-3 fatty acids can improve the eye’s oil film that is produced by small glands on the edge of the eyelid, called the meibomian glands. This improves dry eye symptoms and reduces the need for artificial tears.

However, a high dose of the supplement has been associated with some have harmful effects. These include an increased bleeding risk, higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol, blood sugar control problems, and a fishy aftertaste or odor. In some at-risk populations, such as people who have had a heart transplant, omega-3 fatty acids may affect heart rate.

You can get fish oil in your diet from eating fish, too, of course. Fatty fish, such as catfish, halibut, salmon, striped sea bass and albacore tuna, are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Some fish can contain high levels of mercury. While the mercury in fish doesn’t lead to problems in most healthy adults, it can be a concern for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.