Dry eyes are a very common problem and cause symptoms such as itching, irritation and blurry vision. This condition occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears for lubrication. Tears are important to keep the eyes smooth and wet and keep the vision clear. They are also important for maintaining good eye health.
Does Flaxseed Oil Treat Dry Eyes?
Sometimes dry eyes are a temporary condition and are caused by being outdoors in wind or keeping the contacts on for long. It can be chronic too. Dry eyes can be comforted with an over-the-counter prescription, but it cannot be a solution for all. There are many other alternative options available for dry eyes and one is flaxseed oil.
Flaxseed oil is made by pressing grounded flaxseed and is a known rich source of omega-3 fatty acid. It is clear to yellow-colored oil.
Benefits of Flaxseed Oil For Dry Eyes
Flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 fats, one being alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA breaks down during digestion into two different omega fatty acids known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid. (EPA)(1)
Both DHA and EPA play a role in protecting the cell membranes and have many other health benefits linked to them.
Flaxseed oil benefits dry eyes in the following ways:
- Increases Healthy Tear Production: Omega-3 fatty acids improve the functioning of meibomian glands. These are the glands that produce the oily part of the tears and improving their function increases the production of the oily part of tears and this relieves dry eyes.
- Reduces Inflammation: Dry eyes lead to swelling in the eyelids and the surface of the eyes. This can further worsen the dry eyes and in turn, increase swelling. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation.(2) This can cause an interruption in the cycle of inflammation and relieve dry eyes symptoms.
- Regulate Hormone Level: Sometimes unbalanced hormones lead to dry eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids stabilize hormone production.(3) This improves dryness of the eyes and overall eye health.
Side Effects of Flaxseed Oil
There are a few side effects that you should be aware of before using flaxseed oil for dry eyes.
The risk associated with flaxseed oil include:
- Medication Interaction: Flaxseed oil consumption is dangerous when consuming certain medications such as blood thinners, blood sugar regulators, and prescription medication that impact estrogen levels.(4)
- Lower Blood Sugar Level: Flaxseed oil is known to lower the blood sugar level and should be taken with caution when consuming other blood sugar regulation medications.
- Increases Bleeding: Flaxseed oil can cause bleeding easily than otherwise.
- Lowers Blood Pressure: Flaxseed oil can cause a drop in blood pressure levels and its consumption can be dangerous for those already on blood pressure medications.
- Allergies: Just like any other food or supplement some people can be allergic to flaxseeds. It is important to watch for the signs of allergy before using flaxseed oil for eyes.
How to Use Flaxseed for Dry Eyes?
There is no recommended dose for flaxseed oil. Do not put the flaxseed oil in the eye. A healthcare professional should be consulted for the dosage according to the health and situation of a person.
It can be consumed as a part of the diet and can be added to salad dressing and sauces. It can also be added to smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal.
Flaxseed oil is also present as an ingredient in some products such as cereals and nutrition bars. It is also available in liquid or capsule form.
Dry eyes can be very uncomfortable and impact the quality of life. Flaxseed oil provides lubrication and reduces symptoms of dry eyes. It also improves eye health and comfort. If planning to use flaxseed for dry eyes make sure you are aware of the side effects and consult a healthcare professional about the dosage.