Omega Fatty Acids’ role in Supporting Eye Health

Omega-3 fatty acids support healthy vision and lower inflammation seen in a number of eye conditions, while antioxidants provide protection to our eyes. The key actives providing these health benefits are EPA and DHA found in fish and krill oil, ALA found in flax oil, astaxanthin found in krill oil and vitamin A found in cod liver oil.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: EPA, DHA and ALA support vision development and eye health recovery, improve dry eye syndrome and lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

  • Developing Vision: DHA accounts for more than one-third of the fatty acids in the retina of the eye.  The fetus absorbs large amounts of DHA in the last three months of pregnancy and in the first few months of infancy, and is essential for retinal development.   Breast milk is a natural source of DHA; an alternative source is infant formula fortified with DHA.  Studies suggest that high doses of DHA can improve visual acuity of preterm infants.
  • Eye Health Recovery: Supplementing with DHA preserves healthy retinal function, lowers inflammation and supports visual acuity recovery.  As well, omega-3 supplementation:
    • Deceases time to heal the corneal epithelium abrasions usually caused from an eye injury when the outer surface of the eye gets scraped.  Corneal epithelium abrasions are usually caused from an eye injury when the outer surface of the eye gets scraped.  These injuries can be caused from a scratch – fingernail, paper, makeup applicators, branches, leaves or contact lens.
    • Increases tear secretion and helps maintain a tear film on the surface of the eye.  Tears help clean and lubricate the eye.  The tear film interface focuses light on the retina, and plays a role in maintaining visual acuity.
  • Dry Eye Syndrome: Studies show that consuming EPA and DHA can improve dry eye by decreasing the rate of tear evaporation and increasing tear secretion in our eyes.
  • Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD):  Studies show consuming omega-3 fatty acids can lower risk of AMD.  Refer AREDs – Clinical Trial II for more information.

Astaxanthin:  Antioxidants neutralize harmful free radicals that are constantly produced in different parts of our body.  As these free radicals are capable of damaging our cells, it is important for us to consume antioxidants. However, not all antioxidants have access to our eyes.  Astaxanthin has the unique ability of being able to cross the blood-retinal barrier to provide this protection to our eyes.

Vitamin A:  Supplementing with this vitamin can lower the risk of night blindness, a condition making it difficult to see clearly in dim light. This condition can occur due to a number of reasons but the most common reason is due to the deficiency of vitamin A.