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Best Natural Vitamins, Supplements and Herbs For Dry Eye Syndrome

Best Natural Vitamins, Supplements and Herbs For Dry Eye Syndrome

 

DRY EYES (SYNDROME)   Definition - Causes - Symptoms 

Do you have dry eyes?

Introduction

dry eyesDry Eye Syndrome is an annoying and very common condition which, although tends to be not serious, it’s debilitating and often causes eye fatigue and susceptibility to infections.

 

Tears moisturize and protect the eyes.  When you blink your eyes you distribute the tears over the entire surface of the eye. 

The most common causes of dry eyes can be attributed to lack of tears or the quality of the tears.  For example -

  • Ageing which produces less tears
  • Hormonal imbalances in women taking certain medications
  • Certain serious diseases - diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren, etc. 
  • Computer screen work often reduces the number of eyelid beats because we tend to stare more.  This staring tends to dry the eyes and thus causes fatigue.

Dry eyes causes stinging, irritation, excessive sensitivity, fatigue, mucus production, etc.

 

 

Tears and Fat

Our tears do not contain all water because it would evaporate too quickly and would not lubricate properly.  Most of our tears actually contain essential fatty acids, proteins and anti-infective agents.

If you have hormonal imbalances, it is not a coincidence that you may also have dry eye syndrome.  Essential fatty acids are not produced in sufficient quantity during hormonal changes.  Therefore there are certain products on the market that can help provide artificial tears

How are eyes work?

Our eyes are not made to be constantly exposed to the air.  So they need protection.  This is provided by the tear film, whose role is not limited to wetting the surface of the eye.  It also participates in defence against foreign bodies (that’s why we cry when we have dust in our eyes), infections and when attacked it triggers the immune system. 

Do you feel pain, itching and tingling around the eyes?

If you suffer from dry eyes and you keep rubbing and aggravating your eyes it can lead to corneal abrasions and even blindness if not treated.

Our eyes are always moist and lubricated through tears that clean (dust) and protect the eye permanently (they contain antibacterial substances).  There are two types of tears:

•        Constant tears are produced to ensure uninterrupted lubrication of the eye.

•        Reflex tears ensure the proper protection of our eyes (e.g. oxide propanethial that irritates the eye when peeling an onion).

 

All animals (mammals) are provided with this reflex lubrication system.  However human beings are the only one to cry "emotional" tears to express their feelings: pain, sadness or joy.

In short, more than 3.2 million women and 1.6 million men (in the US) are suffering from the symptoms of dry eye.

People rarely discuss dry eye syndrome, since this is not a serious illness but more of an inconvenience.   Having dry eyes may seem trivial, but it is actually very troublesome.  Symptoms of this condition can make you miserable. 

They include-

 ·   Tingling of the eyes;

 ·   Irritation of the eyes;

 ·   Blurred vision variably;

 ·   Eye fatigue;

 ·   Presence of mucus around the eyes;

 ·   Difficulty wearing contact lenses;

 ·   Sensitivity to light, wind, cold, smoke, etc.

 ·  Mild heartburn;

In addition, a poorly hydrated eye suffers from inflammation and is more prone to infection and irritation of the cornea.

 

What causes dry eye syndrome?

Lacrimal glands normally secrete a sufficient amount of tears that keep the surface of the moist eye moist.  This protects the eye against environmental conditions (i.e. wind, sun, etc.) and eliminates dust.  The fatty acid content of tears is very important for maintaining hydration of the eye.  Dry eye syndrome occurs when the tear production is reduced, or there is a change in the density of tears (lower fatty acids) which causes the eye to dry out.  This can then cause inflammation of the eye.

 

There are many causes of dry eye syndrome, however in some cases no specific cause will be identified. 

A tear deficiency may be down to several reasons -

- Lack of tears sometimes occurs when taking certain medications (antidepressants, Roaccutane against acne, etc.). 

- Autoimmune diseases (Sjogren's syndrome)

- Or after ten or fifteen years of wearing contact lenses because of the cleaning products.

The redness in the eye associated with dry eyes is often caused by deficiency of the tears.  The menopause can also cause the quality of the tear to decline which can make the eye burn, tingle and itch.

 

Dry eyes can also happen after eye surgery or after an infection (i.e. conjunctivitis) which disrupts the defence system of the tear film.  The discomfort is usually temporary.

 

More annoying are the repeated dry eyes caused by allergic conjunctivitis or abnormalities of the eyelids for example from Rosacea.  This explains the presence of small white clusters (mucus) at the corner of the eye in the morning when it drains poorly.  If you have the signs it is important to notify your doctor because the treatment depends on the cause of the dryness. 

 

Below is a complete list of the causes of Dry Eyes -

 ·   Aging

 ·   Very dry working conditions, i.e. some offices

 ·   Hormonal changes

 ·   Wearing contact lenses

 ·   Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)

 ·   Treatments such as laser surgery

 ·   Certain autoimmune disease

 ·   Alcohol

 ·   Pollution

 ·   Computers (prolonged use)

 ·   Antidepressants and other medications with anticholinergic side effects such as antihistamines

 ·   A deficiency in vitamin A (very rare in developed countries)

 

Dry eye syndrome is quite common.  According to different statistics, 4-33% of the population, according to the region and the definition that is made, suffer from dry eye syndrome.  The average is about 10 to 15%.  In addition, the prevalence of this syndrome is increased as a direct result from using a computer.  There is even talk of dry eye syndrome being related to the use of a computer (Computer Vision Syndrome).  This syndrome affects 64-90% of users and the symptoms are:

 

 ·   Eyestrain

 ·   Headache

 ·   Eye discomfort

 ·   Dry eyes

 ·   Diplopia (double vision)

 ·   Blurred vision or indirectly

 

What can you do if using a computer causes dry eyes or Computer Vision Syndrome?

When working on a computer, it is necessary to have breaks to rest your eyes.  Your employer should have health & Safety procedure in place for this, however it can be very difficult for people who work in cubicles.  So be creative.  Make time for your eyes to look elsewhere.  This allows the eye muscles to relax and avoid spasms.

Also make sure that the air quality in your work environment is good.  Dry air and indoor pollution are enemies of the eyes.

A good full spectrum lighting, neither too strong nor too weak, also reduces eyestrain.

 

SUPPLEMENTS FOR DRY EYES

Best Vitamins For Dry Eyes

OMEGA 3

omega 3To relieve symptoms of dry eyes, there is of course artificial tears.  But did you know that there is now research that points to a simple and natural solution?

Using blood tests, researchers discovered that by increasing Omega 3 intake, it lowered the risk of dry eye syndrome.

Therefore your best remedy against dry eyes is omega 3. By increasing omega 3 intake you decrease the risk of developing dry eye syndrome.  It can also reduce the existing inflammation that is present in dry eye syndrome. 

Taking Omega 3, also improves the quality of tears. In addition, omega 3 increases (or rather normalizes) the quantity of tears and enhances meibomian gland secretion.  These are the small glands situated all around the eye.

The recommended doses of omega-3 vary across the world but they should be at least 500mg per day.  You can purchase it here.

 

Dry eye: saline or lubricant?

saline dropsIf you suffer from dry eyes it is advisable to take several times a day saline drops or artificial tears.  However no product completely replaces real tears because they lack lubrication.  Therefore manufacturers have developed lubricating gels.

If you have inflammation a gentle eye message can be also quite effective.  If you take omega 3 supplements along with artificial tears you should see an improvement within 3 months.

Also remember harsh environments such as air conditioning, heating, dust, wind, pollution, and smoky atmospheres can gelirritate the eyes and cause dryness.  Do not hesitate to put drops in before going out to places that may cause eye irritation.  Wearing glass can also help.

 

 

 Antibiotics to remove mucus 

Mucus in the eyes can sometimes be caused by an infection.  Hence the idea to prescribe antibiotics.  These drugs are used to soften the oil component of tears. They are issued in small doses, locally or systemically. 

These treatments can take a long time, unlike the artificial tears, and require consultation with an ophthalmologist.

An ophthalmologist is a specialist in medical and surgical eye problems. Since ophthalmologists perform operations on eyes, they are both surgical and medical specialists.” 

 

Diagnosis of Dry Eyes

Finding the exact cause of dry eye problems can be difficult and may require specialist advice.  However you can take effective preventative treatment to improve your eye health.

It is therefore essential to eat good nutrients for proper eye function. In some cases it may be necessary to take supplements, either because the body does not sufficiently produce the nutrients, or because of an unbalanced diet.

Eye supplements usually have to be taken over a long period of time to see the full benefit, however nothing can replace a healthy and fresh diet rich in vegetables, fruits, eggs, and fish.

 

Vitamin Supplements for Eye Health

NATURAL TREATMENTS TO HELP EYE HEALTH

vitamin aVITAMIN A & ALGAE

Vitamin A and beta carotene are essential for eye health.  They can be obtained from natural sources such as fatty fish, unpasteurized butter, some plants like Achiote (Bixa orellana), spirulina and algae.   Vitamin A can be purchased here.

 beta carotene

ALGAE FOR DRY EYES

Algae deserves a special mention as it contains dunaliella which further contain other protective eye colour pigments.   Reviews of Algae supplements can be found here.

 algae

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS FOR EYES

Essential fatty acids including omega-6 and the gamma-linoleic acid will help the eyes.  Omega-3, will help the regeneration and protection of cells, as discussed earlier.

 omega 3

primrose supplementPRIMROSE OIL OR BORAGE FOR DRY EYES SYNDROME 

Evening primrose oil or borage - is ideal for improving dry eye problems. 

 borage

CAROTENOIDS FOR EYE HEALTH 

Carotenoids is great for eye function and is found in fresh vegetables - corn, carrot, tomato, spinach, egg yolk, etc.

As a supplement it can be purchased here along with reviews

 caroteniods

lutein

LUTEIN & ZEAXANTHIN FOR EYE FUNCTION

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are well known nutrients to protect and maintain the interior of the eye - particularly the macula of the retina.

They prevent and support against premature aging of the retina, including Age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Lutein and Zeaxanthin can be purchased here.

 zeaxanthin

BILBERRY SUPPLEMENTS FOR EYES

Bilberry extract has been traditionally used to sharpen the vision and improve night vision.  There is a story that British Air Force ate Bilberry Jam sandwiches before there night air raids into Germany.

Bilberry is a fruit rich in essential nutrients.  The blue berry (Vaccinium myrtillus) continues to be an object of study among scientists for its abundance of anthocyanosides, chemical compounds that have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

It can be bought as a supplement here.

 billbery

 

BIOFLAVONOIDS EYE PROTECTION


Bioflavonoids – (found in all colourful plants) are antioxidants that can protect the body from premature aging and eliminate certain heavy metals and toxins.

bioflavoniods

IRON VITAMINS FOR EYES

Iron is essential for proper blood oxygenation and thus all tissues and organs. 

The eyes need to be properly irrigated and have a good oxygen supply for optimal operation.  Check that your Iron levels are what they should be.  This applies mainly to women, adolescents and the elderly.

Iron reviews and supplements can be found here.

 iron
Some plants are important for eye health:   

GINKGO BILOBA SUPPLEMENTS FOR EYE HEALTH

For thousands of years the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree have been a customary treatment in Chinese medicine.   In the America many take ginkgo supplements in the belief it will improve memory and sharpen thinking.

Ginkgo biloba is also known to protect the hair and stimulate small blood circulation.  It will promote good irrigation of the eye for an intake of flavonoids and better oxygenation.

 ginko biloba

Herbs For Eye Health

EYE BRIGHT SUPPLEMENTS

It’s also worth checking out Eyebright herb supplements that come in drops and capsules.  The formula had been used historically for any eye disorder such as cataracts glaucoma macular degeneration retinopathy and night blindness. In addition the formula has been used to help promote the general health of the eyes.

 eyebright

FLORAL WATER TO EASE THE EYES

Floral water has been used for many hundreds of years to moisturize and sanitize tired and irritated eyes.  The two most popular are

 • Floral Water Cornflower flower is soothing and moisturizing. 

 • Floral water of chamomile flowers is moisturizing and antiseptic. 

You can prepare these concoctions yourself using the above plants, also adding elderberry flowers to make eye baths, or they can be purchased here.

 floral water

 

What Vitamins Are Good For Eye Health

NATURAL REMEDIES AND SOLUTIONS FOR DRY EYE SYNDROME RELIEF

Below are some natural remedies to counter act the inconvenience of dry eyes  which can cause mild irritation, redness and itching of the eye.  Fortunately these inconveniences are generally quite easy to resolve using these remedies.

 eye moisturerizerMoisturize your eyes

 • Buy over-the-counter moisturizers for dry eyes especially for places which most irritate your eyes.

 • If your eyes are red and irritated, use artificial tears, liquid or gel.  Gels last longer, but they can cause blurred vision temporarily.  Ask your pharmacist to determine the consistency that suits you best.  Choose a preservative-free product.  Please read the instructions before use.

 

To relieve itching

 • Soak a cloth in very cold water and put it on your closed eyes for as long as it takes to relieve itching.  These packs are especially effective if redness and itching is caused by an allergic reaction.  The cold constricts blood vessels, whilst a damp cloth prevents the eye from drying out.

 • Soak two tea bags in cool water and apply a bag on each closed eye for about 15 minutes.  The quality of tea does not matter, it is the freshness and moisture that relieves the itching.

 

 Dust in the eye?

 • To remove a troublesome dust particles in the eye, gently pull the lashes to lift the lid and turn your eye.  If you do not produce enough tears to remove dust, add a sterile eye drops (artificial tears).

 • If the procedure was not enough or you do not dare to try, try simply rinsing the eyes.  Wash and rinse your hands, gather a little water in the palm of the hands together, then immerse your eyes closed.  Open your eyes under water to remove dust.

 • If you wear contact lenses and dust is introduced into your eye, remove the lens and clean with the appropriate products.  Examine it to verify that the particle has disappeared.  If there is still an impurity, clean again before putting the lens back in.

 

Eye Health Vitamins and Minerals

General tips to improve eye health

 • Sleep longer! Lack of sleep causes dilation of blood vessels, which can manifest as redness and eye dryness.

 • Eat a banana a day.  Bananas are rich in potassium, which helps maintain proper fluid balance in the cells.

 • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (fatty fish, flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil), which help to ensure proper lubrication of the eyes and improve the condition of the tear film.

 • If you often have dry eyes, look at the medications you take regularly. Antihistamines, antidepressants, tranquilizers and antihypertensive drugs can often have side-effects that cause dry eyes.

 • Protect your eyes when you take a job that causes a lot of dust - clean a yard, dusting furniture, for example.

 • Wear tightly sealed goggles when swimming in chlorinated water.

 • In the sun, protect your eyes from UV with sunglasses.  They can also protect your eyes in high winds.

 • Cosmetics are often responsible for eye irritation - choose hypoallergenic brands.  If you apply a cream or ointment to the eyelids, test to make sure it does not irritate your eyes.

 • Avoid cigarette smoke which is very irritating to eyes.

 

Smoking: Simple ... stop.  Smoking dries your eyes.  In addition, smoking increases the risk of cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Motorists: Heaters, air conditioning with or without particulate filters can dry your eyes.  Ventilate as much as you can and try wearing glasses.

Vitamin A: Taking a vitamin A supplement or eating foods rich in vitamin A such as salmon and eggs can help keep your eyes moist.

The blinking of eyelids: Many of us spend a lot of time not only looking at a computer screen but watching TV.  This can cause dry eyes.  When you focus, you tend not to blink as much as happens naturally.  Practice looking away from the television and take a break from "flashing" images.  Your eyes will thank you for it.

Moisten: very low humidity can dry your eyes quickly.  This can happen in winter when the heating is on.  Again use artificial tears which can give you local relief.

Your eyes are precious, take care! 

 

 

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