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Alleviating "Dry Eye" Syndrome

A problem that affects people as they age is the onset of dry eye symptoms. This disorder is one of the leading causes for visits to the optometrist and ophthalmologist. Dry eye can be a very uncomfortable condition but generally does not lead to serious eye complications. One of the best treatments for dry eye symptoms is a good soothing eye drop.

There are numerous drops on the market, many of which have toxic preservative systems that can actually make the problem worse with continued use. Additionally, some of these drops contain lubrication systems that will only stay in contact with the corneal epithelium (the outer layer of the cornea) for a few minutes.

Most eye doctors that are oriented toward prevention will recommend an eye drop containing the lubricant glycerin and/or carboxymethylcellulose sodium plus other nutrients such as vitamin E, vitamin A, carnosine or glutathione. A drop of this combination will provide significant relief to dry, irritated eyes. It is estimated that 10% of all adults and 18% of elderly adults suffer from discomfort due to chronic eye dryness or irritation.49 An eye drop containing the above listed ingredients-used one to four times daily will provide comfort and protection against dry irritated eyes and will provide the nutritional support needed by the aging eye.

Dry eye syndrome is one of the most frequent eye problems in the United States, and a common complaint of patients seeking eye care. It is usually caused by a problem with the quality of the tear film that lubricates the eyes.

Conventional treatment options may include surgical intervention (punctal plugs inserted into tear ducts) or eye medicines. Often, these treatments provide only temporary or incomplete relief.

Dry eye syndrome can lead to discomfort, poor vision, and problems with reading, using a computer, or driving at night.

In a study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical school, participants who consumed the highest amount of Omega-3 fatty acids had an 83% lower risk of dry eye syndrome. 32,470 female health professionals aged between 45 and 84 years provided information on diet and Dry Eye Syndrome.54 Based on this study, oral Omega-3 fish oil supplements may provide dry eye relief.

Without a doubt, fish oil (EPA and DHA fatty acids) is the single most important nutritional deficiency in the United States. Omega-3 oils are important to your health in relation to fighting depression, inflammation, and Alzheimer's. Inflammation has recently been implicated as a cause of AMD.47

Most cases of dry eyes can be cleared up, as this research suggests, simply by increasing consumption of healthy omega-3 fats. The other eye benefit from omega-3 would be a reduction in the risk of the most common cause of blindness in most developed countries, age-related macular degeneration.46,48

Over 2,000 scientific studies have demonstrated the wide range of problems associated with omega-3 deficiencies. Your brain is more than 60 percent structural fat, just as your muscles are made of protein and your bones are made of calcium. But it's not just any fat that your brain is made of. It has to be certain types of fats, and it is highly likely you no longer eat these types of fats like you used to.

In fact, researchers believe that about 60 percent of Americans are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and about 20 percent have so little that test methods cannot even detect any in their blood.

Meanwhile, Americans eat excessive amounts of man-made trans-fats and saturated fats and vegetable oils high in omega-6 fatty acids, all of which interfere with your body's attempt to utilize the tiny amount of omega-3 fats that it gets.

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Full references are here.

Adapted with permission from an article in Life Extension, Feb 2003