Do Flaxseed Oil Relieve Dry Eyes?
Dry eye syndrome and associated symptoms is a condition that affects millions of people around the world.
It can effect any race and gender but effects more women than men. Usually from around the age of 40 and onwards.
“The essential fatty acids in flaxseed oil have been shown to significantly help people suffering from the effects of dry eyes.”
Possible Causes of Dry Eyes
For the eye to function properly it requires lubrication. We produce this lubrication through tear glands in and around the side of the eye. When we blink the teardrop is spread evenly over the surface of the eye (the cornea) to keep it moist.
Unfortunately for many, this process may be hampered, resulting in dry eyes:
Not Enough Tears Being Produced
Insufficient tears can occur through age. As we get older our production of tears slows down. A result of certain medical conditions (such as Sjogren syndrome), or through taking various medications.
The environment can also play a part. Dry or windy climates can effect tear production by causing tears to evaporate very quickly.
If normal levels of tear production decreases or tears evaporate too quickly, then the symptoms of dry eyes can occur.
Poor Quality Tears
The teardrop or the tear film is made up of 3 different layers; mucus, water, and oil.
The inner layer is the thinnest and is made of a very thin layer of mucus. This mucus helps spread the water part of the tear across the cornea of the eye.
The middle layer of the tear is the thickest part and is primarily water. This keeps the eye moist and helps remove any debris such as dust and grit from the eye.
The outer layer is made up of oil and fats. It may help to prevent the watery layer beneath from evaporating.
The Role of Flaxseed Oil for Dry Eye Symptoms
Dry eye syndrome (DES), known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a result of inadequate water in the middle layer of the tear. However, the symptoms of DES can often be brought on due to a lack of protection from the outer layer of the tear (the oily part).
In today’s society, our diet woefully lacks the amount of essential fatty acids. Our body needs for optimal health. This includes essential fatty acids in the form of omega-3. It is used to supply the outer tear film with the necessary fats to protect the water layer.
As we know, flaxseed oil is rich with essential fatty acids. Consuming flaxseed oil daily could eliminate the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
These findings are backed up by the American Optometric Association (AOA):
There is a lot of help and some excellent resources online such as The Dry Eye Zone. This is a comprehensive resource dedicated to dry eye problems with a lot of treatment suggestions. A forum where fellow suffers can share their experiences.
Here’s what they say about the use of flaxseed oil and omega-3:
“It is widely believed that omega 3 essential fatty acids, of which North Americans. In particular, are believed to have a very low dietary intake normally. This may have benefits for keeping the tear production system healthy.”
They recommend that flaxseed oil and/or fish oil be consumed to treat patients with dry eye.
Further Evidence on the Effectiveness of Flaxseed Oil for Dry Eyes.
Where to get Flaxseed Oil?
You can buy flaxseed oil from your nearest grocery store or online from Amazon.
Based on this research, it certainly seems that the essential fatty acids found in flaxseed oil – namely the omega-3. It may be particularly beneficial to sufferers of dry eye syndrome or the effects of dry eye.
It makes sense that it would, considering part of the tear that keeps the eyes moist, consists of fats and oils.