Dry Eye Syndrome is the most frequent patient complaint
to eye doctors. Approximately 20 percent of the
adult population suffers from varying degrees
of dry eye problems it is a common disorder of
the tear film that results from decreased tear
production and excessive tear evaporation. Dry
eye syndrome is commonly associated with a systemic
inflammatory process and like most eye diseases
it is often related to health condition in the
rest of the body.
The causes of dry eyes includes normal aging of the tear
glands, extended use of contact lenses, environmental
pollutants, prescription drugs, refractive surgery,
autoimmune diseases and nutrient deficiencies
that cause a disruption in the tear production
and retention process.
The typical symptoms of dry eye syndrome include dryness,
grittiness, irritation, difficulty reading for
long periods of time, burning and even the apparent
contradiction of excessive tearing or watering.
In extreme dry eye cases, patients may become
unusually sensitive to light, experience severe
eye pain and diminished vision. A combination
of treatments may be necessary to protect the
vision of these patients.
These symptoms have traditionally been treated with artificial
tears, which provide temporary relief, plugs that
block the tear drainage system, corticosteroids-
which are not appropriate for long term use. More
recently eye doctors have been using a mild form
of an antibiotic to address the inflammation of
the tears. However, none of these treatments address
the source of the problem.
tears are formed in two sets of glands: tiny glands
in the eye covering tissue (responsible for normal
tear levels) and also in the tear gland (used
for crying and washing out foreign bodies). If
the regular tear level is decreased, then the
brain will sense this and ask the tear gland to
compensate by flushing the eye with tears. Thus,
sometimes a dry eye person will come into the
doctor complaining about too much tearing! This
is called "reflex" tearing and is just
as much of a concern as an eye that is too dry.
The tear glands contain nerves that stimulate
tear production, as well as hormone receptors
that help maintain moisture in the tissue. Since
the brain controls both of these systems, then
it follows that an internal approach to producing
better tears would be effective.
The body requires the consumption of the essential
oils for lubrication of the joints and the eyes,
and for restoration of normal lubrication to the
body. There are good fats and bad fats. The undesired
fats, called saturated fats, are found in meats,
fried foods, butter, dairy products, and margarine.
The good fats, especially the omega-3 oils, are
polyunsaturated and are found in cold-water fish,
flaxseeds, and walnuts. There has been a large
amount of debate on the nutritional aspects of
treating dry eyes but we now know that the fish
oils and Omega-6 essential fatty acids, in the
right combination can effectively treat this condition.
Black Current Oil is an excellent source
of Omega-6 of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) because
it is the most biochemically stable source of
linoleic acid (LA), and it also contains 18% gamma-linolenic
acid (GLA), which consistently converts to the
series E1 prostaglandin (PGE1) anti-inflammatory
that systemically supports proper tear function.
The series E prostaglandin augments eicosanoid
(specific white blood cells) levels and thereby
relieves chronic inflammation- a system cause
of dry eye syndrome. The series E1 prostaglandin
is beneficial in inhibiting inflammation in all
mucousal tissue, and it is a particularly efficacious
anti-inflammatory in both tears and saliva.
However, aging, smoking, alcohol, viral
infection, cardiovascular disease, hormonal fluctuation,
sugar consumption and chemical carcinogens can
hinder the EFA Delta 6 Desaturase (D6D) enzymatic
conversion to PGE1 unless it is aided by specific
nutrient co-factors such as vitamins A, C, B6
and magnesium. These nutrients also stimulate
goblet cell production, lacrimal gland aqueous
tear production and meibomian gland function.
To further insure the Omega 6 downstream
conversion to PGE1, it is necessary to also block
the Delta 5 Desaturase (D5D) EFA enzymatic metabolic
conversion to Arachidonic Acid (AA), which can
convert to the pro-inflammatory COX2 and prostaglandin
E2. The proper balance of nutrients will systemically
block this enzymatic conversion with the addition
of vitamin E gamma tocopherols, EPA from Cod Liver
Oil, and the natural COX2 inhibitor Curcumin.
The apo-lactorferrin increases aqueous level of
iron binding proteins to better inhibit viral
and bacterial infections. This protein also helps
modulate the surface tension of the tear film.
Flax Seed Oil has been touted by many
as an appropriate treatment for dry eye syndrome.
Unfortunately, the therapeutic results are “hit
or miss”. Flax seed oils also called linseed oil-
the oil that is used in varnish. Although flax
seed oil contains impressive amounts of Omega
3 ALA, it’s the most chemically unstable of the
essential fatty acid oils; therefore the chances
of flax seed oil metabolizing to the more biochemically
active Omega 3 fatty acids, EPS and DHA is limiter.
Diets that include small fish at lease twice a
week are a much healthier way of obtaining Omega
3 EPS/DHA fatty acids, which are impressively
linked to good health.
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