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What Are The Best Dry Eye Supplements?


The best nutritional supplements to reduce dry eye symptoms contain omega-3 fatty acids. These "omega-3s" — especially molecules described as long-chain EPA and DHA — are anti-inflammatory in nature.

It appears that by reducing inflammation — particularly inflammation of the tear glands and the surface of the eye — omega-3 supplements can reduce or prevent dry eye problems in many individuals.

In a major study of 40,000 female health professionals, increases in dietary omega-3 fatty acids resulted in a 30 percent reduction in the risk of dry eye symptoms for each 1000 mg of omega-3s consumed daily.

In another study, 478 computer users with dry eyes were given daily nutritional supplements for a period of three months. The subjects were given either 1) two omega-3 capsules, each containing 180 mg EPA and 120 mg DHA, or 2) two placebo capsules containing olive oil. At the end of the 3-month period, 70 percent of participants who were given the omega-3 supplements reported being free of dry eyes symptoms, compared with only 15 percent among those who were given the placebo pills.

Though these studies and other research suggests omega-3 fatty acid supplements can effectively reduce dry eye symptoms, the best approach is to visit an eye doctor who specializes in dry eyes to determine which dry eye treatment regimen will likely be the most effective for your particular condition.

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Dr. Gary HeitingAbout the Author: Gary Heiting, OD, is senior editor of AllAboutVision.com. Dr. Heiting has more than 25 years of experience as an eye care provider, health educator and consultant to the eyewear industry. His special interests include contact lenses, nutrition and preventive vision care.

Page updated February 2018