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Dry Eyes - Omega-3 & Omega-6 Fatty Acids, etc.

Posted Sep 22 2008 11:05am
Utah is tough on dry eyes. Dry air, heat, air conditioning, lots of sunshine and glare, and, unfortunately, poor air quality are all to blame.

I have always had underactive tear ducts and desert-dry Utah definitely makes them worse. Some kind of allergy, maybe due to the abundant construction dust being kicked up next door, also seems to have snuck in to peeve my eyes.

So, I started reading about dry eyes and these are the common things to avoid:
  • Allergenic food (yep, it's advised to stop sneaking things like wheat, dairy, corn, and nightshade vegetables into the diet)
  • Caffeine (those delightful double espressos have to go too?!)
  • Toxic fats (from red meat, dairy products, fried foods - not such a hard category for me to avoid)
  • Sugar ( especially over 11 teaspoons a day -- let's see, if the coffee goes, so goes some of the sugar!)

Apparently, sugar and even artificial sweeteners are some of the worst offenders in making dry eyes worse.

For improving dry eyes, here are some things to include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids (1-2 grams DHA from flaxseed oil or fish oil)
  • Omega-6 fatty acids (GLA from borage, black current or evening primrose oils)
  • Glucosamine (500mg three times a day - when cornea damage is involved)
  • Multi-vitamins (vitamins A, C at 300-500mg, D3, E, B6 at 50mg, and Magnesium are all important)
  • Probiotics (5-10 billion CFU three times daily, especially for people with Sjogren's syndrome )
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine (200mg three times daily for Sjogren's syndrome , a more serious condition with a hallmark of dry eyes)
  • Turmeric (that fabulous curry spice that's anti-inflammatory as well as an antioxidant)
  • Water (8-10 glasses a day for plenty of cellular hydration)
  • Preservative-free eye drops (for lubrication and not to get the red out -- some recommend MSM eye drops, but I don't have any experience with them yet)
  • Humidity (a humidifier running all the time at work/home would help out here the arid intermountain West!)

My favorite encouragement from the opthamologist who checked my eyes out? Consider moving to a cooler, more moist, coastal climate!

Yeah! I've long had the Bay area in my sights, and now I have yet another reason to go to the coast -- where foggy days often prevail and dry desert winds blow far away! :-)

Postscript: I had an appointment at the Moran Eye Institute yesterday with a lovely opthamologist. He shook his head and said that I have rosacea eyes and need to be much more careful about my diet (and I love spicey food, citrus fruit, tomatoes, avocados, vanilla, chocolate, coffee --all of which are considered trigger foods) as well as some favored relaxation options (saunas, hot tubs hot baths -- again, all bad). I guess I'm destined to live on a pretty basic diet for life if I want to be symptom free. Sigh.

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