Omega 3 and the Eye

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Omega 3 and the Eye.

With a growing number of food supplements on the market claiming to improve and maintain eye health, many people are confused about the different
vitamins and eye supplements specifically suited to them. It is important to realise that most food supplements for the eyes should be taken as a preventative rather than a cure of any eye condition.

We will firstly talk about the much publicised eye condition Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Recent studies have shown-namely the AREDS 2 (Age Related Eye Disease Study)- that anti-oxidants lutein and zeaxanthin help in building up, and preventing the breakdown, of macular pigment.

AMD

Visual distortion with AMD

Loss of macular pigment is the main cause of macular degeneration, so building up this pigment is essential in its prevention.
These nutrients can be found naturally in certain foods such as leafy green vegetables (eg.spinach and kale) and other coloured fruit and vegetables.
It is strongly advised however that patients over 40/50 with any other risk factors for AMD (family history, smoker, overweight etc.) take a daily supplement in tablet form of these nutrients in a concentrated formulation.

Dry Eye as a condition is increasingly becoming more problematic for patients of all ages. As well as treating any underlying cause or condition, nutritional supplements are recommended on a long-term basis to help prevent and to reduce the severity of discomfort from dry eyes. Omega-3 in the form of fish oil and flaxseed oil are highly recommended for this.

Tear Film Layers

The 3 layers of the tear film.

Having a diet high in omega-3 (eg.salmon, tuna, sardines) is important, but again dry eye sufferers or people at risk are advised to take higher concentrations in the form of eg. cod liver oil or flaxseed oil. While they are both available in capsule form, the oil forms are easily absorbed and provide a more instant effect. Some of the commercially offered Omega 3 supplements are more easily absorbed by the body than others and thus more effective. A squeeze of lemon or a dash of orange juice can be added to disguise the taste when taking these oils in straight liquid form. Freshly ground flaxseed can be sprinkled in cereals or smoothies.
Drinking plenty of water is also essential in the management of dry eyes.

In our Dublin based clinics we recommend Nutrof. This is a product from a French based company and it is the most widely used food supplement for the eyes
across most of continental Europe, where macular degeneration levels are very high due to excessive UV exposure.
Nutrof is an all-in-one capsule to promote eye health, including lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as omega-3 essential fatty acids.

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