While omega-3 fatty acids have been touted as a health elixir for the heart and brain, it turns out the benefits don’t end there. Omega-3 fatty acids also help ward off many eye diseases and help treat dry eye syndrome.
Studies show consuming omega-3 fatty acids, whether in foods you eat or in a supplement, may help reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration and glaucoma. Research also shows not only can omega-3 fatty acids help reduce your risk of developing dry eyes, but it may also help treat bothersome symptoms as well.
The expert team at the Beverly Hills Institute of Ophthalmology, located in Beverly Hills and Torrence, California, recommends consuming omega-3 fatty acids in food or supplements to support eye health. Read on to find out why.
What are omega-3 fatty acids?
There are three main types of omega 3s: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish and fish oils and are the types of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for your eye health.
Omega-3s are important components of the membranes that surround each cell in your body. DHA levels are especially high in the retina, brain, and sperm cells. Omega 3s also give your body energy and help your heart, lungs, immune system, and endocrine system function.
How can they promote eye health?
Several studies have found omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration. Macular degeneration affects more than 10 million Americans and is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States.
One study showed people with the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet were 30% less likely than their peers to develop macular degeneration. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help reduce the risk of high eye pressure, which can lead to glaucoma.
Omega-3 fatty acids can also help prevent and treat dry eye syndrome, a common eye condition where your eyes don’t produce enough tears. Symptoms of dry eye include eye itching, burning, and redness.
One study showed, of the 32,000 women who participated, those who consumed the most omega-3 fats from fish had a 17% lower risk of suffering from dry eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids in food or in supplements may also help you make more natural tears, reducing the symptoms of those with dry eyes.
Foods and recipes high in omega-3 fatty acids
The omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods that have EPA and DHA are found in fatty, oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Cod liver oil
While walnuts and other seeds and nuts are high in omega 3s, they are high in the ALA type, which is good for the heart and brain, but not necessarily beneficial to your eyes.
Recipes to help boost your omega-3 intake and your eye health include:
For more information on how to prevent and treat eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and dry eye syndrome, contact the Beverly Hills Institute of Ophthalmology for an appointment with one of our experienced, board-certified ophthalmologists.