Many medical professionals are aware of the benefits of adding healthy oils to our diets. Most of the fats that are essential for a healthy heart, skin, brain, and other systems come from things like fish, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Doctors will sometimes prescribe fish oil or flaxseed oil to help improve someone’s health, but we are learning more and more about how these beneficial oils can help more than previously thought. In the case of your eyes, certain oils may aid in treatment of dry eyes.
Vision Benefits of Flaxseed and Fish Oil
Fish oil and flaxseed oil are beneficial because of the omega-3 fatty acids they include. These materials are needed to support optimal health. Flaxseed oil contains high levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid. ALA is converted into two different omega-3 fatty acids during digestion. These acids are called EPA and DHA and they protect cell membranes all over the body.
By adding flaxseed oil or fish oil to your diet, you may be protecting against dry eyes. These items appear to reduce dry eye symptoms, and can be used with or without eye drops to alleviate some aspects of dry eyes. Dr. Filar recommends fish oil or flaxseed oil as part of an overall plan to treat dry eyes, or to prevent the onset or progression of symptoms. Be sure to consult with your primary care doctor before starting any new supplements.
Symptoms of dry eyes include:
• Chronic dryness
• Eye fatigue
• Sore eyes
• Light sensitivity
• Blurred vision
How to Start Taking Flaxseed and Fish Oil
If you’re looking for how to get these substances into your diet, keep in mind that many kinds of fish are high in these oils. Look for things like salmon, sardines, tilapia, and shrimp. For people who don’t like fish, or want other options, fish oil supplements are usually pretty inexpensive and easy to come by. You may ask a pharmacist for suggestions on which over the counter versions are best.
The downside of fish oil is that sometimes people will get a fishy aftertaste from the supplements. A great alternative is flaxseed oil. These supplements are readily available as well, and will provide similar benefits. Just be sure to find a brand that is cold pressed and remember to keep it refrigerated for freshness and optimal nutrient content (benefits of flaxseed oil are reduced by exposure to oxygen, light, and higher temperatures).
Flaxseed oil can get a little pricy, but you can buy flaxseeds and grind them in a coffee grinder before adding them to your diet. Use them immediately to get the full benefits!
These fatty acids may help reduce your risk for several other health problems. The benefits include:
• Reduced risk of macular degeneration
• Reduced risk of cataracts
• Increased cardiovascular function
• Lower risk of heart disease
• Help maintain healthy weight