Can omega-3 help manage dry eye syndrome?

As REM famously sang in 1992, “Everybody cries sometimes.” But for people dealing with dry eye syndrome, producing more tears is easier said than done. While the occasional instance of dry eye may not seem like a big deal, chronic dry eye is often difficult to manage and may significantly affect quality of life.


What causes dry eye?

 Somewhere between 20 to 25% of the Canadian population is affected by dry eye – that’s up to 10 million people[1]!  By definition, dry eye syndrome is a multifactorial disease in which there is an imbalance in the tear system accompanied by ocular symptoms[2], meaning that your tear glands don’t produce enough tears to adequately lubricate your eyes. From ageing and allergies to certain medications and medical conditions, a variety of factors can contribute to dry eyes.

Common risk factors for dry eye include:

  • Age, gender and race
  • Gland dysfunction
  • Connective tissue disease
  • Sjogren syndrome
  • Androgen deficiency
  • Computer use
  • Contact lens wear
  • Estrogen replacement therapy
  • Certain environmental conditions (such as pollution, low humidity, and sick building syndrome)
  • Certain medications


What are common dry eye symptoms?

If you have dry eye, you probably already know – the symptoms range anywhere from uncomfortable dry sensations in the eye to downright painful, with some sufferers describing it as a burning sensation. Other common dry eye symptoms include redness or irritation, additional sensitivity to light, fatigued eyes and blurred vision.


Treating dry eye syndrome

 It’s important to consult with an eye care professional to verify that you are suffering from dry eye its and discuss its management. While dry eye can be resistant to treatment, if you are diagnosed with dry eye, your eye care professional might recommend eye drops or ointment. There are also lifestyle changes that may help prevent dry eye from occurring in the first place, such as:

  • use a humidifier to help add moisture to the air in your home
  • avoid cigarette smoke
  • rest your eyes by taking regular breaks -- no reading or screen use (TV, computer, smartphone, etc.)


Another treatment option you might consider is supplementing your diet with omega-3. The National Dry Eye Disease Guidelines for Canadian Optometrists lists omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) along with the omega-6 GLA as a long term management strategy for chronic dry eye syndrome. Recent studies have found fewer dry eye symptoms in people who take omega-3 supplements[3]. They also suggest that getting an effective dosage of omega-3 for dry eyes may improve tear production, decrease tear evaporation rate, and provide relief for dry eye discomfort[4].


Available in both liquid and softgel form, NutraSea Dry Eye can help improve symptoms of dry eye syndrome, including support for proper tear function. Speak to your optometrist about your eye health concerns.


All NutraSea products are ultra-pure, great-tasting and unsurpassed in quality and innovation. Plus, they’re PureCheck Verifiable –so you can trust that what you read on the label matches the product inside.


[1] Caffery B, Srinivasan S, Reaume CJ, et al. Prevalence of dry eye disease in Ontario, Canada: A population-based survey. Ocul Surf. 2019;17(3):526-531. doi:10.1016/j.jtos.2019.02.011

[2] Messmer EM. The pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of dry eye disease. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2015;112(5):71-82. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2015.0071

[3]    Giannaccare, G. et al. (2019). Efficacy of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for Treatment of Dry Eye Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Cornea, 38(5): 565-573.

[4]  Giannaccare G, Pellegrini M, Sebastiani S, et al. Efficacy of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for Treatment of Dry Eye Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Cornea. 2019;38(5):565-573. doi:10.1097/ICO.0000000000001884