The research on Omega 3 fatty acids alone for the treatment of dry eye is a mixed bag, with some studies showing benefit, while others show none.
We're not surprised.
Omega 3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory benefits, but only address the lacrimal gland function. And even expensive and potent chemotherapeutic agents such as the prescription eyedrops cyclosporine and lifitegrast have a minimal effect on tear production, and up to 50% non-response rates.
Agents that only focus on tear gland production fail to address the complexity of the tear film, and the most frequent and most effective methods for improving dry eye symptoms.
One of the critical aspects of dry eye that is now widely understood is the function of the meibomian glands of the eyelid edges, which secrete an oily outer layer that is rich in compounds known as phytosterols. Similar to backpackers in cold weather who wear thin outer layers to retain moisture and heat, this oily layer of the tear film acts as a vapor barrier agains the evaporation of tears. At the slit lamp biomicroscope, eye doctors are able to evaluate this oily layer, and measure the functionality of the tears using tear break-up time (TBUT)
, which is a measure of the EVAPORATION RATE of tears. By slowing evaporation, meibomian gland phytosterols slow the disappearance of the saltwater portion of the tear film, resulting in improved and longer-lasting eye comfort.
Only one brand of nutritional supplements for dry eye contains phytosterols and is based upon Dr. Paul Krawitz's United States Patent #7,638,142
. That brand is VisiVite. There are two VisiVite premium supplements for dry eye
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VisiVite Dry Eye Relief TG-1000 - the original, patented 4 softgel-per-day for dry eye symptoms[/caption]
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The convenient 2-per-day softgel with omega 3s and phytosterols for relief of dry eye symptoms[/caption]