cod liver oil applied to eyes
Dear Dr. Lange,
I am an American missionary nurse living in a 3rd world country and I have dry eye syndrome. My OSDI has been in the 90s for more than a month, and actually up to 100 during one week (but it seems to be decreasing gradually since I started to use swimming goggles). In this area, I don't have access to many of the medical tests and advances, but I do have a measure of confidence in my local eye doctor, even if his resources and training would not be up to the standards of someone such as you.
I had been wondering for some time if cod liver oil might be a good natural alternative as a medicine applied to the eyes instead of all the artificially made preparations, or in addition to these preparations. I had tossed the notion around in my head of beginning to try it, in an organic form, but under the "super-VISION" of my local eye doctor, should he be agreeable to the notion. He is on vacation at this point, but I plan to contact him ASAP. I made a diligent search on the internet of those who had tried cod liver oil applied to the eyes, and found an article entitled "Jellybean's encounter with a corneal ulcer" about a dog that had been cured by it's owner through following the advice of a book entitled "Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural health for Dogs and Cats." About an hour after that find, I found an article from The British Journal of Ophthalmology entitled, "Cod Liver Oil as Local Treatment for External Affections of the Eyes." Dr Stevenson and his partner used cod liver oil to treat several types of conditions, including blepharitis. However, if they used cod liver oil for eye problems, and it was published in a scientific journal, I am confused as to why I have not found more literature on this subject on the internet or more talk of it among the dry eye community. I did not find any article that advised against its use or stating adverse effects. Do you have any comment or advice on this subject as I will hopefully soon start trying it as a treatment?
eyecansee Despite my problems with my eyes, I thank God everyday that I have what vision that I have!
Dr. Mike Lange on Cod Liver oil topically in the eye.
I would be very careful putting any non approved and non studied substances in your eyes! The issues I would have with cod liver oil or fish oil is most of the products availabe are of the ethyl ester variety, this basically means the purification process creates ethanol!! Now you can do an easy study on your own and take a fish oil capsule or cod liver oil capsule and squeeze it in a styrofoam cup wait about five or ten minutes and look at what happens. If it has ethanol (ethyl esters) it willl eat right thru the cup and you can even hear it sizzling!! Now is that something you would want to put in your eyes? may cause a significant chemical kearatitis! May compound your problem. Your stomach can handle that small amount of ethanol as long as you arent taking super high concentrations of fish or cod liver oil. Take the cod liver oil orally per the directions and you will get some beneftis for dry eyes ( minimal). I dont know if you used the triglyceride based form of cod liver oils or fish oils what would happen, and I dont know of any studies so personally I would put it in your mouth and not your eyes. Cod liver oil is a good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin D, too much will cause vitamin A toxicity and potential liver problems. Hope this helps.
Michael P. Lange OD
Lange Eye Care / Lange Eye Institute
Dear Dr Lange,
Thank you for your kindness in your detailed reply to my question. I looked again at the article from the British Journal of Ophthalmology of using cod liver oil in various eye conditions, and noticed it was written in 1936. On an internet search I could not find the particular cod liver oil that he referred to in his article but even if I could, I know that production methods for many substances are quite different today than they were many years ago. The internet page of the dog's eye that was was treated was quite recent, but I will definately need to do some more research on this, not only for my sake, but for the sake of the poor that I work with who cannot afford modern health care, and in fact, much of the modern advances are not even available in this particular region (I would not recommend to them anything I am unwilling to use). So your answer is very timely and valuable to me, and I will not proceed until I have done more research on this.
Thank you so very much,
Please update me on what you have found out regarding the Cod liver oil for dry eyes topically?? Dr. Mike