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[TRENDING] Does Omega 3 Help Dry Eyes?

April 15, 2018 7 min read

Dry Eye Assessment and Management Study (DREAM)


The objective of the DREAM study is to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids in relieving the symptoms of moderate to severe dry eye disease.  

The study was designed to test whether or not omega-3 supplementation is an effective treatment for dry eyes, to better understand dry eyes, and determine the effects of extended use and discontinuation of omega-3.  

There were 535 participants that were given either 3,000 mg (2,000 mg EPA and 1,000 mg DHA) per day of omega-3 supplements (349 participants) vs the placebo of 1 teaspoon of olive oil in the form of gel caps (186 participants). 

Results of the DREAM Study

The study showed that there was significant improvement in dry eye symptoms in BOTH groups, but there was no significant difference between the two groups. 

What does this mean? Is Fish Oil Good For Your Eyes?

YES.  It means that an increase in healthy oils, such as that found in both fish oil and olive oil, can help significantly improve dry eye symptoms.

The reality is that this study was not done as well as it could have been.  Olive oil still contains numerous healthy oils, so it did not make a great placebo.  I would have rather seen a sugar pill or some other neutral substance like water being used instead of another healthy oil.  

Unfortunately, a lot of publications have been using headlines such as "Fish oil capsules don't help dry eye symptoms" as a tactic to lure you in to their website to read more.  Don't believe these headlines, and look at the results of the study.

Fish oil capsules don't help dry eye symptoms, study finds

How Much Fish Oil For Dry Eyes?

This does not change my recommendation of how much fish oil to use for the eye.  1,000 mg of a high-quality fish oil supplement as part of an already healthy diet will be more than enough. 

If anything, this study proves what we always discuss; adding a diversity of healthy oils can significantly improve your dry eye symptoms and signs. 

Here are some ways that I am adding diversity to the oils I am eating.

      How Your Body Uses Omega-3

      We can all agree... we need oxygen to live.  Try holding your breath for 30 seconds and depriving yourself of oxygen.  What happens? Your body goes into a shocked state and starts to make every effort to take another breath.  

      What you are eating is possibly doing this to the rest of your body without you knowing it.  You have 100 trillion cells that rely on oxygen on a daily basis. The cells of your body are in constant regeneration, meaning they die and then new ones are created.  As each new cell is built, the body seeks proper building materials to construct each cell. These building materials are what you put into your body.

      The number one thing that determines how operational and healthy these cells will be is the fuel that they are given. This is also known as the food you eat, including omega-3 fatty acids.  

      The expression, “you are what you eat” will take on a whole new meaning after reading this article.

      The cells in your body, which you have about 100 trillion, are like a city, according to E.G. Heinrich. It is full of activity.  Water, oxygen, minerals, and amino acids (parts of protein) are the primary parts of the inside of the cell. This is where life-sustaining processes mainly occur.  Cell membranes are the “walls” around the city that allow things in and out, while protecting the cells.

      These cell membranes are becoming unhealthy by the unhealthy oils you are eating.  This includes trans fat (likely from the Western diet of fried and processed foods) and vegetable oils (corn, soybean, canola). These unhealthy oils are resistive to oxygen and therefore your cells are starved of oxygen, leading to a chronic inflammatory state.  

      Short term, you may not notice a difference, but long term, this creates diseases like heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, arthritis, dry eyes, and more. According to Brian Peskin, all disease involves a lack of oxygen at the cellular level. If oxygen is in the cell, you will have good health.  Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Warburg stated that if a cell is denied 60% of its oxygen requirements, then cancer [and disease] can occur.

      The great news about this is that your cells regenerate every two days to six months.  Your body grows new cells in the eye every two days, new skin in six weeks, a new liver in eight weeks, new nerve cells in a period of months.  As each new cell is built, the body seeks proper building materials from which to construct the cell. If it cannot find these, it will create unhealthy cells, deprived of oxygen.  

      The body has an incredible ability to heal itself, IF provided with the proper nutrition and building blocks, including omega-3 fatty acids.  Starting today, you can make changes that lead to a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle that isn’t riddled with disease and pain.

      These changes include avoiding (at all costs) eating oxygen-resistive oils, like corn, canola, or soybean oil and consuming instead oxygen-enabling oils such as healthy omega-3 (high quality fish oil or flaxseed oil) and omega-6 (evening primrose oil or black currant seed oil).   

      Heyedrate Omega-3 for Eye Health

      What Are Omega-3 Fish Oil Benefits?

      There are numerous benefits to taking a fish oil supplement and increasing your omega-3 fatty acid intake. These include:

      • Helping decrease symptoms of dry eyes.
      • Lowering elevated triglyceride levels, which can increase your risk of heart disease.
      • Decreasing stiffness and joint pain from arthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.
      • Reducing symptoms of ADHD in children.
      • Improving mental skills.
      • Decreasing depression and boosting the effects of antidepressants.
      • Decreasing inflammation.
      • Helping with visual and neurological development in infants.
      • Protecting against Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

      omega 3 foods

      Omega-3 Foods and Healthy Oils to Eat and Unhealthy Oils to Avoid

      Always try to get omega-3 fatty acids from food sources rather than supplements.  Remember, a supplement is made to SUPPLEMENT an already healthy diet.  Do not rely on just taking a supplement alone. 

      Below is a list of foods and oils to AVOID and foods and oils to EAT to increase the health of your cells and decrease inflammation in your body to start feeling better and decrease your dry eye symptoms. 

      Oils to AVOID are Modern Vegetable Oils (especially after being heated):

      • Margarine
      • Shortening (Crisco)
      • Fake Butter Substitutes (I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)
      • Corn Oil
      • Soybean Oil
      • Canola Oil
      • “Vegetable” Oil
      • Peanut Oil
      • Cottonseed Oil
      • Grapeseed Oil

      Foods to AVOID Unhealthy Omega-6’s  

      • All the oils listed above
      • ANY fried foods
      • Salad dressing - substitute vinegar instead, like balsamic
      • Chips
      • Fast food 
      • Freezer meals
      • Cookies, candy, cakes, pastries, muffins, candy bars, etc
      • Pork products such as bacon, pork chops, pork loin, ham, etc
      • Limit cheeses that are NOT white, but some is okay (see below)

      Oils to EAT to Help Reduce Inflammation

      These foods with healthy oils listed below help rebuild your cells into healthier cells able to transfer oxygen and reduce inflammation and disease.  These healthier oils can also cross the blood/brain and blood/eye barriers, which means they will benefit both the brain and eye more, helping with dry eye.

      When using an oil in cooking (it is never recommended to heat an oil), use only anOrganic, Virgin, Cold-PressedCoconut Oil (click here for the one we recommend).

      If you are already a healthy individual, you should be getting a 2:1 ratio of healthy omega-6 to healthy omega-3.  However, if you suffer from numerous diseases, are overweight, or eat terribly, you should start by shifting your diet first and start with a ratio of 4:1 of healthy omega-6 to healthy omega-3 (some suggest even 8:1 to combat all that “bad” fat you have been eating).

      If you start to pay attention to this ratio and you can get it to 4:1, then you will be more than doubling the amount of oxygen that moves from your blood to your cells, which will decrease pain, inflammation, and disease.  

      This is NOT a short term fix, though, and requires a lifestyle change.  

      What you are doing now is not working and causing you a tremendous amount of pain...

      FIX IT.  

      It is not up to a doctor to fix your problem, it is on you!


      Examples of healthy omega fatty acids:

    • Healthy Vegetarian Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    • Healthy Meat Omega-6
          • Organic, free-range eggs
          • Organic cheese - try to stick to WHITE cheese such as cottage cheese, parmesan, goat cheese, gruyere
          • Organic whole milk
          • Organic, grass-fed butter
          • Organic, grass-fed, free-range beef
          • Organic, grass-fed, free-range poultry
    • Healthy Meat Omega-3
    • Heyedrate Omega 3 for Healthy Eyes

      Let me know if you have any questions or if you have been successful with omega-3s in the past by leaving a comment below.

      One Love,

      Dr. Travis Zigler, SeeEO of Eye Love and Heyedrate


      Dr. Travis Zigler

      Click Here to join Dr. Travis Zigler and Dr. Jenna Zigler LIVE on The Dry Eye Show every Sunday at 7:00 pm EST on Facebook

      Click here to get Dr. Jenna's E-book, The Dry Eye Book, for FREE

      1 Response


      May 25, 2018

      Excellent blog and I totally agree with you that using only one oil is always not good for eye or body, mixing different types that have many advantages is always a good and smart idea.

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