Nutrition for Dry Eyes by Michael Lange OD, CNS
Nutrition for dry eye is a subject I discuss with my patients on a daily basis. I have a very large dry eye patient population and have learned what works and what does not work over the last 25 years. I have used the traditional approach using a combination of heating and massaging the lid margins to open the meibomian glands, using a good artificial tear with hyaluronic acid like oasis tears plus or blink preservative free and cleaning the lids with a good lid hygiene foam like ocusoft or cliradex. So for dry eye 3 things are still crucial: cleaning, heating and lubricating. I have also used all the prescription medications available for dry eye over the past 25 years. Since I have become more in tune with the natural approach to dry eyes I find I prescribe medication very rarely now.
My nutritional protocol consists of 3 nutritional items I add to my patients. These nutrients not only help decrease dry eye symptoms and improve ocular surface disease but is very good for the entire body.
I always recommend two triglyceride form omega 3 fish oils like Fortifeye Super Omega. We have done omega index blood testing with Fortifeye Super Omega proving that two per day dosing in 100% of patients studied under 240 lbs would bring their omega index between 9.2-11%. The goal is to get over 8% to be in the heart healthy zone with omega 3. Studies I have conducted prove that about 1600 mg of triglyceride form omega 3 fish oil is all you need for this. The key is for the fish oil to be in the triglyceride form and not the more common unstable ethyl ester form. The triglyceride form of Omega 3 fish oil is 3 times more bio-available than the ethyl ester form. Omega 3 fish oil is great at helping to quell the inflammation in the eye lid margins and reduce signs and symptoms of meibomian gland dysfunction. I have been very impressed with the additional dry eye benefits we get when we have added 1 Fortifeye Focus pill to the 2 Super Omega. Fortifeye Focus is a combination of 3 carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and astaxanthin. This combination is not only great for the retina but has proven to lower inflammatory markers in the body. I have seen arrachidonic acid, c-reactive protein and cortisol levels come down in patients taking just 1 Fortifeye Focus daily. One of the root causes of dry eye is inflammation! The 6 mg of astaxanthin in Fortifeye Focus has also been proven to improve amplitude of accomadation in patients and reduce eye strain and fatigue. Most people with dry eye also exhibit tired fatigued eyes as well. The combination of a Fortifeye Super Omega (2 per day) along with Fortifeye Focus (1 per day) or the equivalent nutrients in another brand work synergistically together at decreasing dry eye symptoms and improving ocular surface disease clinical presentations.
Over the last 15 years I have been involved in nutritional research for macular degeneration and I have found one of the biggest deficiencies in our patients with ARMD is glutathione. Glutathione is the master antioxidant in our body and is responsible for protection of our entire body against free radical damage and inflammation. The best way to stimulate glutathione is with the consumption of a non denatured whey protein concentrate. I have found that once many of my ARMD patients glutathione deficiencies went away their dry eye symptoms often times improved. I started using non denatured whey protein concentrates and isolates from grass fed new Zealand cows and have been amazed at the positive response from my patients. Many of my patients with dry eye symptoms have improved with the addition of the grass fed whey protein. New science has proven that patients with certain types of dry eye syndrome have deficient levels of lactoferrin in their tears. One of the best ways to stimulate and increase lactoferrin levels in the body is by consuming a grass fed whey protein concentrate. So is it the lactoferrin in the whey protein that has helped these patients? I think it may be a combination of many of the anti aging attributes a good non denatured grass fed whey protein concentrate have that has been beneficial. The key here is to make sure your protein is a non denatured grass fed whey protein concentrate! This type of protein has the correct ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 and will help reduce inflammation in the body versus a grain fed cows milk used for whey protein. Grass fed whey concentrate is high in CLA a good fat, glutathione precursor cysteine, Leucine the most important amino acid for building muscle, lactoferrin and many other immune boosting nutrients. here is a link discussing the science behind grass fed whey protein https://grassfedwheyproteinconcentrate.wordpress.com/
I have been so impressed with the ocular health and overall health benefits of Whey protein that I decided to develop what I think is the most advanced protein supplement available. It is called Fortifeye Super Protein and is a non denatured whey protein concentrate form grass fed pasture raised New Zealand A2 cows. you can order at https://www.fortifeye.com/products/fortifeye-super-protein-chocolate-available-end-of-november-2015-we-are-taking-pre-orders/
So in summary , proper nutrition for dry eye really works well! I recommend a combination of Tg form omega 3 fish oil, lutein, zeaxantin , astaxanthin and a good non denatured whey protein concentrate from grass fed cows. The three I use daily in clinical practice are Fortifeye Super Omega, Fortifeye Focus and Fortifeye Super Protein.
Lastly many people have poor digestion and have compromised health and dry eyes as a result. If you have digestive issues, bloating and gas you may benefit form taking digestive enzymes with your meals and a good probiotic first thing in the am and right before bed. Fortifeye Digestive enzymes and Fortifeye Probiotic Bacteria are great with anyone with these digestive issues. I have seen many patients improve dry eye symptoms when their digestion improves. link to article on digestive help http://drmichaellangeoptometrist.me/2014/11/24/dr-michael-lange-discusses-proper-digestion-for-good-ocular-health-and-overall-health/
Use proper nutrition to help improve your dry eyes and you will gain some valuable overall heath benefits as well. Heres to your health!
Dr Michael Lange