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healthbriefs Dry Eye Disease


by Dr. Nathan Schramm, OD, CNS O


ver 3.2 million American women in the United States have Dry Eye


Disease which, in severe cases, has been compared to be as debilitating as angina. It is more common in older women, but affects many women in their 40s and 50s. A transient blur to your vision that


improves with blinking is usually associ- ated with the beginning stages of Dry Eye Disease. Other signs include burn- ing, tearing, foreign body sensation, and sometimes itching along the edges of the eyes. Dry Eye is more common in women over 40 due to hormonal changes, poor diet (excess omega-6s from processed foods, low intake of omega-3s), contact lens use, dry environment (air condi- tioner, overhead fan), allergy medication, smoking, cosmetics, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s Disease, and diabetes. Every 10 years you live you have a 20% greater chance of developing dry eyes.


Fortunately, there is a


natural treatment (and pre- vention) for this problem. For my patients with this condition, I recommend 800-900mg EPA/ 500- 600mg DHA of omega-3s preferably from triglyceride- based fish oil; blackcurrant seed oil (omega-6) 160mg; and Astaxanthin 4-6mg. Along with the many benefits for the heart, brain, joints, hair, skin and nails, omega-3 fish oil can give you better quality tears. In addition, it may reduce your chances of developing wet macular degeneration. Omega-6 fatty acids have been clinically shown to increase tear production. But too much omega-6 can become


inflammatory! The proper balance of omega-6 to omega-3 is between 4 to 1 and 1 to 1. The typical American diet is about 15 to 1—very inflammatory!


(There’s a blood test I use that calculates the patient’s ratio and amount of omega- 3s in the blood.) To balance this ratio, limit vegetable oils (omega 6) from corn and soybean, cottonseed and packaged foods, and eat more omega-3 rich foods like salmon, sardines, grass-fed beef, walnuts and flax seeds. A recent study revealed that women with a high intake of omega-3s compared to those with a


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