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Omega-3s And Blepharitis - Blepharitis FoundationYour resource for red eyes

Omega-3s And Blepharitis

Dietary supplements are popular for the treatment of a wide variety of medical conditions. For blepharitis, omega-3 fatty acids have been suggested as a possible treatment. The rational is that omega-3s have an anti-inflammatory effect. They compete with omega-6 fatty acids for the same enzyme, which converts them to inflammatory mediators, known as prostaglandins.

The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the diet is said to be 4:1, as seen in the Mediterranean diet, rich in cold water fish and natural oils. The typical American diet, containing more red meat and unprocessed oils, has a ratio closer to 18:1. By consuming more omega-3s, in the form of flaxseed oil or fish oil, lower amounts of inflammatory mediators are produced.

Flaxseed Oil Capsules

Flaxseed Oil Capsules

Omega-3s have been recommended for the prevention, or treatment, of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, autoimmune disease, and psychiatric disease. Advocates of omega-3s for blepharitis claim a beneficial alteration of the oily, meibomian gland secretions of the eyelids.

Clinical trials, however, show only a mild benefit over placebo. The recommended dose is fairly large, 2 to 5 grams a day. Side effects of omega-3s have been reported, including bleeding, stroke, poor control of diabetes, and even heart problems.

Considering the modest claims for improvement of blepharitis, the inconvenience, and expense, of taking large amounts of a poorly understood dietary supplement, and possible serious medical side effects, I do not prescribe omega-3s for my blepharitis patients. I am sure we will hear anecdotal stories about the benefits of omega-3s, as well as for other dietary supplements, but until we see documentation of more benefits for blepharitis patients, I remain cautious, and unconvinced.

1 Response to "Omega-3s And Blepharitis"

  • GuyWithBlepharitis says:
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