Consuming more fatty acids may reduce symptoms of dry eye
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(ARA) -- Spring weather may bring warmer, humid air, but millions of
Americans still experience discomfort associated with dry eye
syndrome. Dry eye is a condition where tears lack sufficient
moisture and lubrication, which is necessary to maintain good eye
health and clear vision. Tears not only wash away dust, but also
soothe the eyes, provide oxygen and nutrients to the cornea and help
defend against eye infections by removing bacteria.
The frequency and severity of dry eye varies but may include
irritated or gritty eyes, redness, burning, a feeling that something
is in your eyes, blurred vision and even excessive watering. This
condition has a multitude of causes but generally stems from the
Age: As Americans age, eyes naturally become drier. Typically,
people older than 65 experience some dry eye symptoms.
Gender: Women are more likely to develop dry eye with hormonal
changes during pregnancy, while using oral contraceptives and
Medications: Decongestants, antihistamines and antidepressants are
among numerous medications that can reduce tear production.
Medical conditions: Health issues associated with arthritis,
diabetes, Sjogren's syndrome and thyroid problems can produce dry
Environment: Dry climates and exposure to wind and smoke may trigger
Eyewear/surgery: Contact lenses may cause dry eye or make eyes less
comfortable if they are dry, and eye surgery may lead to a temporary
decrease in tear production.
Cosmetics: When the lid margin is coated with heavy makeup, it can
block the openings of the oily glands, which help lubricate the eye.
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Treatment for dry eye syndrome varies depending on the severity.
Several new studies have confirmed the correlation between fatty
acids and an improvement in dry eye syndrome. Salmon, tuna, herring,
mackerel and other cold-water fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids can
help reduce inflammation, enhance tear production and support the
eye's oily outer layer, as well as provide health benefits for your
cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems.
Additionally, some people can use artificial tears or ointments that
simulate the action of tears. There are also oral capsules that can
maintain tear production and guard against future tear loss. The
American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends consulting an eye
doctor to diagnose the condition and discuss proper treatment. The
AOA also recommends adults have yearly eye exams. For additional
information on how best to cope with dry eyes, visit
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