PODCAST. From tablets and smartphones to personal computers, video games and TVs, the average patient spends almost half a day staring at a screen. Yes, you read that correctly…10 hours, 39 minutes a day and growing. One result of this screen time is computer-vision syndrome-related dry eyes. Will fish oil, particularly omega-3s help?
Studies in Ophthalmology and the Journal of the British Contact Lens Association found that taking a fish oil supplement twice daily (each capsule providing 180 mg EPA and 120 mg DHA) improved dry eye symptoms associated with computer use. The fish oil significantly decreased the rate of tear evaporation. A small study in Cornea found that a supplement of re-esterified (or the triglyceride form) of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with decreased dryness as measured by tear osmolarity. Currently, a study of 600 participants is underway by the University of Pennsylvania and the National Eye Institute.
What about brain health? So many patients are interested in this topic and I’m asked about it often. If you listened to the podcast Vitamin B-12, Cognitive Decline and Alzheimer’s, you know that a low B-12 status is associated with more rapid cognitive impairment and dementia including Alzheimer’s disease. It seems that plasma concentrations of omega-3s are associated with the development of brain atrophy and dementia and may play a role in the effectiveness of B-vitamins.
Studies show a positive association between cognitive heath and consumption of fatty fish, particularly pointing to middle age as a significant period for the potential role of omega-3s in better cognitive aging. Some studies suggest that fish oil may help depression associated with cognitive decline while others suggest it helps with brain atrophy. Studies indicate that for a B vitamin combination to have the greatest benefit, patients need a blood plasma level of omega-3s in the upper range of normal.
Listen now for more on the types and forms of fish oil.
Oral omega-3 fatty acids treatment in computer vision syndrome related dry eye. Cont Lens Anterior Eye
Americans devote more than 10 hours a day to screen time, and growing. CNN.com accessed 022117
Association of fish oil supplement use with preservation of brain volume and cognitive function. Alzheimer’s & Dementia
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Blood Levels Clinical Significance Update. Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep
Omega-3 Supplements: In Depth. National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health