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Vitamins and Supplements For Dry Eyes

Dry eyes, a common health concern are mainly inadequate lubrication in the eyes. This occurs when you don’t produce enough tears or you may have poor-quality tears. This can be due to various causes including allergies, problems with the tear glands, autoimmune disorders, hormone changes, and inflamed eyelid glands.1

Experts believe that nutrition can help in eye health and certain vitamins and supplements for dry eyes can be helpful. There is clear evidence that vitamin deficiencies can be linked with an increased risk of dry eyes and then vitamin supplementation can be an effective treatment for a dry eye disorder.2

Vitamins and Supplements For Dry Eyes

Vitamins and Supplements For Dry Eyes

In dry eyes, you may feel burning or stinging in the eyes, a gritty sensation in the eyes, and irritation. Some may even experience eye pain, eye strain, dullness in the eyes, and headaches. It is often associated with a sensation of something being present in the eyes, oversensitivity to light, and sometimes watery eyes, as a response to eye irritation due to dry eyes.

A nutritious diet and vitamin intake can help improve eye complaints. As it is not always possible to get the nutrients from the diet, sometimes supplements may be necessary. Here are some of the most essential vitamins and supplements for dry eyes.

1. Vitamin A

Vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin has been known as the vitamin for eyesight. Apart from the other important functions, vitamin A helps protect the cornea of the eye and reduce the risk of eye infections. However, vitamin A deficiencies are prevalent across the globe, with up to 50% of schoolchildren being deficient in vitamin A.3 Vitamin A-rich foods can help prevent dry eyes but inadequate nutrition is a common cause of the deficiency. Hence, vitamin A is one of the main vitamins and supplements for dry eyes.

In a study, prescription eye drops and vitamin A eye drops were studied for dry eyes. It reported that with both the eye drops the participants experienced an improvement in blurred vision and tear film.3 This means the vitamin A drops can be considered in place of eye drops, as needed.

Several studies have shown the effect of topical vitamin A supplementation that included vitamin A gel, and ointment, which helped in improving various signs and symptoms of dry eyes.2

In another study, it was shown that short-term oral vitamin A supplementation improved the quality of tears in patients with dry eyes. It concluded that vitamin A supplementation is important to maintain the health of ocular tear film and can reduce the symptoms of dry eyes.4

2. Vitamin B complex

Vitamin B complex is a group of water-soluble vitamins that have coenzyme activities that help in the prevention of dry eye disease. Vitamin B1 and B2 have anti-oxidant properties and they improve the production of neurotransmitters, and immune regulation, while vitamin B12 helps nerve regeneration. Deficiencies of these vitamins can affect nerve survival and dry eye can be related to chronic nerve damage affecting the tear film. Many studies have concluded that vitamin B deficiency may be related to dry eyes, thus making vitamin B complex one of the essential vitamins for dry eyes.

Studies have shown that vitamin B12 supplementation for 3 months in patients with vitamin B12 deficiency and neuropathic ocular pain along with dry eyes showed improvement in tear secretion and tear stability.2 Some studies have also shown a link between vitamin B 12 deficiency and Sjogren syndrome, which suggest a possible association between vitamin B12 and dry eyes.2

Some studies have concluded that vitamin B6 and vitamin C resulted in improved tear secretion in patients with ocular surface damage due to chronic exposure to preservatives in glaucoma medications.2

Studies have concluded that food supplements containing vitamin B1 and B2 showed an improvement in signs and symptoms of dry eyes.2

3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin plays an important role in modulating inflammation and immune reactions, which help reduce complaints of dry eyes. This makes vitamin D one of the most essential vitamins and supplements for dry eyes.

Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is linked with worse subjective symptoms and less tear production in patients with dry eyes, concluding that vitamin D deficiency can be a risk factor for dry eye syndrome.5

Experts believe that vitamin D supplementation can be effective in people with vitamin D deficiency in which conventional dry eye treatment is not effective.2

A 2016 study reported that there may be a protective role of vitamin D in the development of the dry eye, possibly by enhancing tear film parameters and reducing ocular surface inflammation.6

In a study, daily oral supplementation of vitamin D (50,000 units a day for 8 weeks followed by 1500–2000 units a day for 24 weeks) was given in patients with vitamin D deficiency and obstructive MGD. Results showed improvement in Schirmer scores and other signs of dry eyes.2

4. Omega-3-fatty acids

Omega-3-fatty acids are essential fatty acids that offer various health benefits. Recently these have also gained importance in ocular diseases and dry eye disease. Owing to their anti-inflammatory effects it may be considered one of the important supplements for dry eyes.

A 2011 study reported that systemic and topical omega-3-fatty acids and omega-6-fatty acids have efficacy against symptoms of dry eyes and are used as an adjunctive treatment for patients with dry eye disease.7

A 2020 study studied the role of different micronutrients and nutraceutical products in the treatment of ocular diseases. The study concluded that amongst other nutrients, there was strong evidence about the efficacy of omega-3-fatty acid supplementation in reducing dry eye disease signs and symptoms.8

5. Other Supplements For Dry Eyes

Many other supplements and combinations are believed to be useful for dry eyes. These are the best decision based on the cause of dry eyes and the health condition. Some of these are backed up by scientific evidence while some need deeper understanding.

A 2021 study concluded that a dietary supplement can improve signs and symptoms of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) -related dry eye, reduce the inflammation, and restore the gland structure, thus improving the visual quality. The supplement contained omega-3 free fatty acids, lutein, aronia extract, vitamin C, and vitamin E. It was believed that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, promoted retinal development and improvement in visual function.9

Some studies have reported the use of an oral antioxidant supplementation including vitamins A, C, and vitamin E helped in the improvement of signs of dry eyes.2

A study showed that topical vitamin E with coenzyme Q10 can be effective in gaining stability of ocular surface after cataract surgery.2

Another study showed that using eye drops containing 0.1% cross-linked hyaluronic acid, coenzyme Q10, and vitamin E had efficacy in improving tear film stability and dry eye symptoms compared to a higher dose of carmellose eye drops in menopausal women taking antidepressants.2


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 21, 2022

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