Fishing For The Facts

How to choose the right Omega 3 fish oil supplement


Fish Oil supplements are also known as “Omega 3 Fatty Acids (OFA’s)”.  They have been shown to have many health benefits such as lowering high blood pressure, improving brain function, nerve and blood vessel health and reducing heart disease.  They do all this by lowering inflammation in our bodies – the starting point for most diseases.  Since dry eye is also a disease caused by inflammation, Omega 3 Fatty Acids are an important part of your dry eye treatment program.  OFA’s ability to reduce inflammation helps repair AND protect damaged cells on the surface of your eyes, improving the symptoms of dry eye and even reversing the harmful effects.

omega 3 supplements

There are dozens of OFA’s on the market.  How do you know you are taking the right one? 

There are two things you should look for:

  1. Your supplement should contain mainly Omega 3. You will see the active ingredients on the label indicated as EPA and DHA.  Do not take a supplement that also has Omega 6 and 9.*  We get too much of these in our Western diet which throws the more beneficial Omega 3’s out of balance in our bodies. 
  2. Look for the Natural Triglyceride This type absorbs better in the body and is less likely to cause side effects like “fish burps” or loose stools.

How much to take?  The verdict is not clear on this yet for dry eye treatment.  We have had good results by starting our dry eye patients on a dose of 2,100 mg of EPA/DHA, but we will often increase this if needed.  The safety of Omega 3 supplements is very good, but if someone is at risk for bleeding (due to taking blood thinners for example) we will be cautious with higher doses (above 3,000 mg).

Now you know the facts about fish oil supplements.  Talk to us at your next visit to find out if your dry eyes can benefit from OFA’s.

Source:  Review of Optometry, May 2017 “From Alpha to Omega:  How Fatty Acids Fight Dry Eye”

* The exception is GLA (Gamma-linoleic acid) a beneficial health-promoting Omega 6 that is recommended in addition to Omega 3 supplementation