EPA, DHA and dryness of the eyes


When the eyes don’t make enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly, persons can experiment feelings of dryness, grittiness (that get worse throughout the day), burning and red eyes, and blurred vision (which usually improves when blinking).

The evaluation of the dryness of the eyes includes the measure of:

  • The matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) – Which are a class of enzymes involved in the degradation of molecules secreted by cells in the space that surrounds them (with the objective of providing structural and biochemical support to the cells).
  • The tear break-up time (TBUT) – That is a test to measure the stability of the tear film. It is considered that a person with TBUT below 5 seconds has dryness of the eyes.
  • The Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) – This Index is the total score of a scale for the assessment of symptoms related to dry eye and their effect on vision: it ranges from 0 to 100, with higher scores representing greater discomfort.
  • And the tear osmolarity – All persons with dry eyes don’t share the same symptoms, but one thing they have in common is tear film hyperosmolarity. Since tear osmolarity is a measure of solid particles in the water of tears, hyperosmolarity means less water, more salt, than typical tears.

Right, oral consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (approximately 2 g of EPA plus DHA, daily for 12 weeks) seems to be associated with significant improvement in tear osmolarity, tear break-up time, matrix metalloproteinase-9, and OSDI scores, besides improving the EPA + DHA status of the person.



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