Foods to Welcome and Avoid for Healthy Eyes
Posted: Jan 08, 2019
Dr. Sirish Nelivigi shares the optical values of omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 for Dry Eye Disease
People around the world are becoming acquainted with the benefits of ingesting high quality omega-3 supplements as the main treatment for people with dry eyes. Oral supplements of good quality omega-3 fatty acids, in proper dosage, alters the composition of the fatty acids secreted by the Meibomian glands. This prevents blockage and improves the health of the glands resulting in more moisture.
Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are many differences in the omega-3 procured from various sources. The omega-3 supplements available vary in their purity, effectiveness, and overall nutritional value.
One of the most prolific sources of omega-3 is fish, but they contain carcinogens and mercury, making it unhealthy to consume it in the quantity required. Manufacturers of fish oil use alcohol to neutralize the harmful compounds. However, adding alcohol to fish oil makes it an ethyl ester solution, which makes it more difficult for the body to absorb it. Good quality omega-3 undergoes a re-esterification process, which is costly and time-consuming. The alcohol is removed from the compound to formulate a clean, yet still natural, omega-3 supplement, which is not only better-absorbed than the ethyl ester variety of omega-3 but better tolerated by the body.
The majority of over-the-counter (OTC) omega-3s are of the less healthy ethyl ester or alcoholic variety or in the unpurified triglyceride form. Hence, it is important that dry eye patients and even optically healthy people avoid OTC omega-3 supplements, especially those made from fish oil. Since there are a number of omega-3 products out there, it is important to choose the most effective supplement.
Another abundant source of omega-3 is plants. However, research suggests that omega-3 derived from plants makes minimal difference to the composition of meibum. The research also indicated that omega-3 derived from plants cannot be converted by the body even in high doses. The most prevalent type of Omega-3 is that, which appears in food and is in unpurified or chemical form.
Omega-3 fatty acids with the most benefits are EPA and DHA. The recommended dosage is 2.24 grams of EPA or DHA in the ratio of 3:1. Indeed, Omega-3 products like Blue Bell and Pennsylvania are not available over-the-counter and can only be made available through a medical prescription.
Omega-3 for Other Conditions
Inflammation is the major factor in dry eye disorder, but if it is combined with omega-3 deficiency, other systemic ailments may also be associated with it. There is a high percentage of patients with the dry eye condition who also suffer from macular degeneration associated with aging.
The omega-3 index is given by the omega-3 levels on membranes of red blood cells. This acts a proxy for levels of omega-3 in all cells. Once the omea-3 index reaches>8%, we are able to optimize the ocular, rheumatologic, neurologic and cardiovascular benefits from omega-3 supplements. An omega-3 index of 8% is said to be cardio-protective. Research has shown optimal serum levels to reduce the risk of sudden death from myocardial infarction by up to 90%. Studies have also indicated risk-reduction of diabetic retinopathy by 48% with highy-concentrated levels of DHA omega-3
Omega-3 for Ocular Disease
Studies have continued to show rising evidence of the benefits of nutritional supplements over time. Nutritional therapy is highly recommended as the first line of treatment for dry eyes. Research findings presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology compared three different types of omega-3 supplements and showed that Physician Recommended Nutriceuticals (PNRs) achieved the omega-3 index of 8% in 44% of the patients after one month.
Hence, it may be safely concluded that nutritional supplementation of high-quality omega-3 fatty acids, in adequate doses works as the primary treatment for dry eye condition.
For more details about eye health, visit...