According to the National Eye Institute, an estimated 5 million Americans aged 50 and over suffer from dry eye, and it affects twice as many women as men.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is caused when the eye does not produce sufficient tears, and not just the kind of tears produced when a person is feeling emotional. Tears are constantly produced to keep the cornea and outer part of the eye moist, nourished and protected from bacteria, dust and foreign objects.
There are many symptoms of dry eye, including:
- A gritty, sandy feeling in the eye
- Dry eyes that are hard to open, particularly after sleep
- Excessive tear production
- Pain and redness in the eye
- Temporary moments of blurred vision
- Tired eyes or heavy eyelids
- Stinging or burning of the eye
- Inability to shed tears when emotionally upset
- Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
- Eye-strain when reading
Dry eye is most common in older people, but it can be caused by medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, birth control pills, HRT, tranquilizers and anti-depressants. It can develop after LASIK surgery, long-term use of contact lenses or as a result of eye damage, conjunctivitis or disease of the glands or delicate skin around the eye.
Dry eye can also be caused by pregnancy, immune system disorders, or as a side effect of excessive eye strain from computer or video screens. Fortunately there are some natural healthy living tips to help those living with this annoying condition.
Healthy Living Tips for Treating Dry Eye
Left untreated, dry eye can cause scarring or damage to the cornea. If you’re looking for dry eye home remedies that work, try fish oil supplements.
In fact, A study on 60 patients by the Australian University of Melbourne looked at how omega-3 fatty acids could ease the symptoms of dry eye. The participants were given 1450 mg krill oil and DHA or 1500 mg fish oil and DHA or a placebo of olive oil for 90 days. The results showed improved osmotic concentration and better tear stability of those taking omega-3 compared to the placebo. There was a slightly better result from those taking krill oil compared to fish oil. However, there is controversy regarding the environmental impact of krill harvesting. Another healthy and vegetarian source of omega-3 is evening primrose oil.
Related: Is Krill Fish Oil Dangerous?
By eating more oily fish such as tuna and salmon in your regular diet and taking omega-3 supplements are important tips for healthy living and can prevent or alleviate the symptoms of dry eye. Studies found that those who took significantly more vegetable-sourced omega 6 than fish-sourced omega-3 were more likely to have dry eye syndrome, showing that not all fatty acids produce the same results, an interesting fact to bear in mind when considered healthy habits in your diet.