Flaxseed is often recommended by eye doctors and optometrists to help with the treatment of dry eyes. The reason flaxseed oil is good for dry eyes is due to its nutritional value coming from omega-3. It contains a high level of omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA for short. When we consume flaxseed the ALA is altered into two omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) during digestion, this is then used through the whole body to protect the cell membranes.
You can buy flaxseed oil in capsules or in liquid form. Capsules may be easier in our daily lives but you may need to take more of these to get the daily amount of omega-3. If your eye doctor has recommended using flaxseed oil they will advise you how much you need to take. If you decide to get the liquid form of flaxseed oil make sure you look out for a cold pressed oil and keep it in the fridge as heat, oxygen and light can destroy the goodness within flaxseed oil.
Apart from flaxseed oil, grinding down flaxseeds are also a good substitute to help with dry eyes. You can get the same two omega-3s using ground down flaxseeds. An easy way to do this yourself is by using a coffee grinder, you can then use the ground down flaxseeds in smoothies or salads for example. If you decide to use flaxseed in this way you must use it straight away to get the full benefits of omega-3.
Your eye doctor or optometrist may suggest having fish oils or eating fatty fish to get a great source of omega-3 to combat dry eyes. Tuna, salmon and sardines for example, are a brilliant source of omega-3 which is vital to eye health. Fish fats/oils already have the two types of omega-3 (EPA and DHA) in them without the body having to convert them in digestion. So the body can start absorbing the goodness straight away.
As with flaxseed oil, fish oils come in capsule or liquid form. Cod liver oil is a great source of omega-3 for example. An excellent way to get omega-3 from fish is to eat oily fish at least three times a week and this will all help the fight with your dry eyes.
Author: Samer Hamada is a distinguished consultant ophthalmologist and cornea surgeon performing eye surgeries at his practice, the Eye Clinic London. With nearly two decades’ experience, Mr. Hamada is recognised as a leading expert in the field of cataract, refractive lens exchange (RLE) and corneal surgeries.