Monday, December 22, 2008

Dry Eye Disease and Fish Oil

One of the most common reasons that patients come in to the office are symptoms related to dry eye disease. These generally are watery eyes, sandy gritty eyes, burning eyes, and itchy eyes. While one can have other disease processes with these same symptoms, dry eye disease is the culprit in the vast majority of these cases. One of the most common approaches of the past and sometimes presently was to simply use artificial tears as a first line treatment. While this is still a good approach a new addition to our arsenal of treatment has become more a routine part of my treatment options. This is the use of fish oil supplements. This has been in the literature and in lectures for a number of years now. Using these gel capsules has been quite useful to most of my patients with dry eye disease. There are a number of companies that make these supplements with varying degrees of quality. I try to educate my patients to only get these fish oil supplements that are of pharmaceutical grade only. These are made in a nitrogen atmosphere and therefore one does not get the "fishy burps" that can be associated with non pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplements. Not only do these supplements help with dry eye, but they have systemic applications as well, ie. brain and heart healthy. I have personally been taking these supplements for about a year now and have not had to use any artificial tears at all since I began taking them. We do carry one brand in the office for sale to our patients made by Pro Omega. Feed back from patients has been quite positive with the use of this fish oil supplement. If you have certain diseases which have side effects of severe dry eye such as Shogren's disease and others, do yourself a favor and try this. You will be glad you did!

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