A Clear Look at the Best Supplements for Dry Eyes
Our eyes are by far among the most sensitive organs of the human body. Unfortunately, they are also widely exposed to harmful factors that disrupt their normal functionality.
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Right now, about 12 million Americans are struggling with itchiness, stinging and other unpleasant symptoms caused by Dry Eye Syndrome – and finding the best dry eye supplements on the market is far from easy.
However, before finding the cure to this condition, we should be able to spot it and understand why – and when – it happens. Today, we’ll have a look at what is dry eye syndrome, how you can prevent it and how to find the right supplement for your needs.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a medical condition that affects millions of people throughout the United States every year. When your body doesn’t produce enough tears, your eyes can’t stay clean and function as usual. This condition is also medically known as Keratitis Sicca or Xerophthalmia and it’s actually more common than diabetes or heart issues.
However, DES doesn’t only happen due to lack of fluid. Sometimes, the composition of our tears changes – which, once again, prevents the eye from being properly lubricated. Tears seem simple, but they need fatty oils, mucus and over 1,500 proteins to make everything run smoothly!
- Constant itchiness
- Stinging or burning sensation in the eye
- Feeling there’s something in the eye
- Watery tearing although the eyes are dry
- Blurred vision
Each of these symptoms is strongly influenced by time of day, allergies, pollution and time spent looking at screens (whether it be computers, smartphones or television).
What are the risks if DES remains untreated?
If you leave DES untreated, the next potential complication you may get is conjunctivitis. Because the eye isn’t lubricated, the outer layer covering the eyeball gets irritated; this inflammation is usually mild, yet pretty unpleasant.
Ultimately, the inflammation caused by dry eye syndrome can severely damage the cornea (the protecting layer in front of your eye). This process is called keratitis and may leave you with permanent scars that affect vision for good.
All these complications can be prevented by diagnosing each condition on time. A health care professional will examine your eyes, tear stability and cornea to establish the right diagnosis and treatment.
Underlying health conditions that lead to DES
Sometimes, this health condition comes as a consequence of other underlying deregulations. If you’re suffering from DES, you may also struggle with at least one of the following:
Our hormones play a big part in tear production and both may be altered due to menstrual cycles, pregnancy or menopause.
As mentioned earlier, sometimes the transparent layer covering the eyeball may get an inflammation and your tears aren’t enough to lubricate the eye anymore. Conjunctivitis and DES often go hand in hand and may be a cause for each other.
This condition is described by severe dryness of the eyes, mouth and genitals area. Because it affects tear production, it doesn’t take long until DES appears as well.
A common condition among the elderly, it’s characterized by the inflammation and swelling of the joints. Sometimes, rheumatoid arthritis can affect the glands surrounding the eye too – and may even lead to inflammation of the white of the eye itself.
Though usually mild, this inflammation of the eyelid rims is unpleasant and often associated with DIS. It is caused by poor hygiene, such as rubbing your eyes with dirty hands.
Other underlying causes may include lupus, HIV, eye injuries or surgery and Bell’s Palsy (face muscle paralysis).
However, disease isn’t the only reason for DES. Many times, the cause may simply be environmental, such as wind, a dry climate or high altitudes. These factors, combined with certain activities like spending too much time in front of the computer, could ultimately lead to dry eye syndrome.
Dry eye syndrome is a progressive medical condition. If left untreated, it can
turn into chronic DES – a further state where all the usual symptoms of DES
are amplified and more frequent. This may also attract other illnesses.
What are the risk factors of DES?
Regular hormone production is crucial for good quality, constant eye lubrication. Considering the many hormonal changes women are going through, it’s no wonder they’re more prone to this condition than men. DES can especially occur during pregnancy and menopause.
The elderly also seem to be more commonly affected by this illness. In fact, about five million Americans over 50 years old are suffering from dry eye.
Many medications including antidepressants and chemotherapy can have DES as a side effect. Note that your nutrition also has a strong impact on this condition; studies proved that low omega-3 fatty acids diets can lead to this illness in time.
The conventional treatment of DES
There is no exact cure that can make DES go away. However, depending on the cause, there are various ways you can treat the symptoms by yourself. The most common treatment is using artificial tear drops (or eye lubricant drops) and/or supplements, which will moisturize your eyes and regulate tear production.
If you get diagnosed by a specialist, he may also recommend certain anti-inflammatory medication such as cyclosporine, which increases tear production, or cholinergics. If they don’t work, your doctor will probably change the prescription.
Because tears are so complex, they need a wide range of nutrients on a daily basis. Omega-3 essential fatty acids and vitamin A are proven to have a positive impact on your eye health. Although nutritional treatments last longer than other options, they are a good way to relieve DES symptoms.
If none of the treatment options is working, your doctor may suggest surgery that redirect tears towards your eyes using punctal plugs. However, this is the ultimate solution and is only taken after many other treatments failed completely.
Prevention methods that relieve DES symptoms
Luckily, dry eye syndrome can pe prevented with a series of small changes in your daily routine. Here are the most important things you can easily do to keep your vision healthy:
- Take a break. According to the Health and Safety Regulations, it’s best to take a 5-10 minute break after every hour spent at the computer, TV or smartphone.
- Sleep. Your eyes need plenty of time to recover after a long day of work. Lack of sleep is associated with dry eye and may even lead to glaucoma on the long term.
- Use humidifiers. Air conditioning systems or living in a dry climate can affect tear production, thus leading to DES. Set your humidifier to improve the quality of air at least while you’re at home
- Drink plenty of water. Guess what’s the main ingredient of tears! Constant dehydration may promote symptoms of dry eye, so make sure you drink fluids throughout the day.
- Wear glasses (not contacts!). Sometimes, contact lenses may prevent the eye surface from functioning properly, so while you’re suffering from DES, make sure to avoid wearing them.
How to prevent more serious complications
The same prevention tips can be helpful to avoid the serious complications we discussed earlier on (conjunctivitis, chronic DES, scarring of the tissue).
Another useful option is to start using specialized eyewear. Moisture chamber spectacles are a type of glasses that act similarly to goggles: they wrap around your eyes, keeping a moist, humid environment that regulates tear production.
Using air filters is yet another solution to prevent DES complications. The eye usually cleans itself through tears, therefore dry eye only creates a perfect environment for dust and microbes to settle in and create infections.
What are dry eye syndrome supplements?
Eye supplements are products with high nutritional value that have a positive impact on your eye health. These items help you reach your daily intake of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), which improves tear quality and quantity.
However, note that the primary aspect in this case is to maintain a balanced diet. No matter how many supplements you take, they cannot replace the nutrients you get from whole foods. It’s already known that deficient diets can worsen vision problems or even lead to serious health issues.
Most effective DES supplements on the market
Omega-3 fatty acids
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, omega-3s are extremely effective in treating inflammation of the tear glands, as well as irritation caused by dry eye. The most common supplements containing this nutrient are as following:
- Fish oil. Among the most popular options on the market, fish oil capsules are recommended as long-term treatments – both to prevent and treat dry eye. Admittedly, there are studies that both confirm and infirm the positive impact of this supplement. Research proved that fish oil works best in combination with other forms of treatment.
- Krill Oil. Although krill and fish oil supplements contain similar amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, this option is recently more widely preferred. Due to its high content of phospholipids (a healthy type of fat), krill oil is better absorbed by the body. One study proved that both options are effective as supplements, but krill oil was more effective at relieving unpleasant DES symptoms.
- Flaxseed oil. This versatile ingredient can be integrated in your foods, but in order to get the maximum benefit, it’s best to take it as a supplement. Flaxseed oil contains two types of omega-3s which prevent and treat DES, improve your heart health and reduce the risk of cancer. However, its nutritional value can be damaged by oxygen, so if you take a supplement in liquid form, it’s best to refrigerate it.
This option is gaining more and more popularity due to its wide range of benefits. Not only does coconut oil help eye lubrication, but it’s also a powerful antibacterial solution; this, as we know, is crucial for eyes that can’t clean themselves properly. Like omega-3s, this option is also quickly absorbed by the body and can suppress inflammation.
How should you choose the optimal supplements to self-help?
Right now, the market is filled with so-called ‘revolutionary’ supplement options that relieve DES symptoms. However, most of the times, the simplest products may have the biggest positive impact.
The first step to choosing the right product is to answer these three simple questions:
- What are the benefits of this product?
- What’s the recommended dosage?
- Are there any risks associated?
If the answer matches your current needs and lifestyle, then that’s the right product for you.
How to spot and avoid misleading advertising
Unfortunately, many products in this category contain misleading information regarding the right dosage. The front label of the product contains a certain dosage, but that’s not always the one you get per serving. For example, the front label may say 1200mg omega-3, but the back label of the product mentions that you actually need two pills for that amount; therefore, a single pill has 600mg omega-3.
However, as long as you take care of this aspect and read the label throughouly, you should have no problems figuring out the right dosage for you.
When do you need medical assessment?
Taking vitamin-based supplements doesn’t seem like such a big decision; after all, nutrients are good anytime, right? To many consumers’ surprise, vitamin overdosing can cause certain unpleasant symptoms like trouble sleeping, mood swings and nerve issues such as tingling.
Fish oil reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by preventing the formation of blood clots. However, if you’re taking aspirin or other anti-coagulant medication, the American Heart Association recommends that you contact a specialist before taking the supplement.
Meanwhile, flaxseed oil can alter hormonal balance. While it’s normally safe to consume, this option isn’t recommended to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding – unless the doctor advises so.
If this is the first time you’re taking such a supplement, pay close attention to how you’re feeling after the first dose. If you experience skin redness, trouble breathing or other unpleasant symptoms, it may be an allergy so call your doctor right away.
Take home conclusions
Dry eye syndrome is an unpleasant condition that affects the quality or quantity of tear production. It can have many underlying causes ranging from serious eye illnesses to environmental reasons like climate. When left untreated, DES can become chronic and requires more serious, doctor-recommended treatment.
Thankfully, this condition can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes such as resting your eyes and staying hydrated. Those who do need treatment can use supplement therapy to regulate the lubrication process of the eye; the most highly recommended options are omega-3 rich supplements, along with coconut oil and certain vitamins.
Best supplements for dry eyes
Clearly, choosing the right supplement is not only a good way of treating DES, but also to improve your overall physical health. We’ve done our research and now we’re ready to reveal the top products that, in our opinion, will help you get rid of the unpleasant symptoms of this condition.
Looking for a quick way to create an eye-friendly nutrition program? This plant-based supplement contains nothing more than what your vision needs: a balanced blend between flaxseed oil and fish oil that maximizes the positive impact of omega-3 fatty acids on tear production. As a plus, this option also contains plenty of vitamin E which, some research proves, may keep your vision sharp.
- 1200 mg of highly refined fish and flaxseed oils
- Plant-based formula which makes it friendly to most diets
- Soft texture that’s quick and easy to swallow
- One serving of 1200 mg actually requires 3 soft gels
This product packs up natural fish oil and purely organic flaxseed oil to meet your needs for healthy eye lubrication. One serving consists in 2 softgels that combine 1400mg of omega-3s, which is more than what other products on the market offer. As a plus, this dietary supplement is enteric coated to avoid unpleasant flavors or aftertaste.
- Only natural, organic ingredients
- Firm outer coating that prevents fish odour
- Maintains eye lubrication even while using contact lenses
- Some customers claim it takes longer until the treatment becomes effective
What’s great about this option is that it’s a blend of fish oil and krill oil – both of which have essential benefits for eye recovery. The ingredients used for each capsule are extracted from fisheries that meet the MSC Fisheries standards of operation. The technology used to create the softgels prevents any fishy odor.
- Krill and fish oil combined for maximum health benefits
- One serving consists in a single pill consumed daily
- Easily absorbed and digested by the body
- A customer reported metallic taste after ingesting the product
Aside from a blend of omega-3 fatty acids, this option also contains a mix of micronutrients such as magnesium along with vitamins A, E, C and B6. All these ingredients boost tear production and improve your immune system to prevent or treat further infections. The product is free from genetically modified ingredients, thus providing you with a healthy ally against DES symptoms.
- Contains extra micronutrients that improve overall health
- Some customers reported a positive impact even for chronic DES
- No unpleasant aftertaste or side effects
- One serving means taking four softgels a day after each meal
If you’re looking for a product that really impacts your overall physical health, then this is the right option. Each serving packs up plenty of micronutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals that improve your vision on the long term. With a single softgel per day, you will meet your daily nutrient requirement regardless of your diet.
- Plenty of vitamins and minerals for your eye health and not only
- The softgel form and size make it easy to swallow and digest
- The wide range of nutrients is beneficial for improved vision as well
- The dose of omega-3s per serving is lower than with other products
Although dry eye syndrome is definitely not among the most complex conditions out there, choosing the right supplement to treat it may seem challenging. You should consider the source of omega-3 acids used, additional vitamins and minerals, daily recommended dosage and overall quality.
With all these criteria in mind, our product of choice is MegaRed Advanced 4in1.
Firstly, this option contains krill oil, which is better absorbed by the body than any other omegaoemga-3 rich oil out there. However, it also has fish oil, which offers enough health benefits to gladly include it in your daily diet.
You only need one pill every day to ge the entire dosage recommended, which is very beneficial for active people who need quick solutions. Furthermore, the product manufacturing ingredients are sourced from verified fisheries that operate in safe conditions.
Overall, MegaRed Advanced is a great way of treating and preventing dry eye syndrome in a simple, healthy manner.