The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Rebecca's Omega 3 journal: Echoing Dr. Macsai on supplements...

With all the cornea docs congregating in Chicago the past few days for the annual ASCRS conference, I feel a bit like a dog waiting patiently under the table to be thrown a bone. The overwhelming focus of the meeting is, of course, as the name states (cataract and refractive surgery) but with enough cornea brains in one place there are bound to be one or two pearls about dry eye emerging somewhere. We can always hope, anyway.

So the last email update I got had OSN Supersite quoting Dr. Marion Macsai (some of you know her... prominent cornea/lasik doc practicing north of Chicago) about supplements:

More research needed on the most effective nutritional supplementation for dry eye

CHICAGO — The use of nutritional supplements, including flax seed oil, fish oils and vitamin E, to combat the effects of dry eye appears to have positive effects on the disease, but an objective study is needed to know for sure, according to a speaker here.

"There's probably a role for dietary supplementation, Marian S. Macsai, MD, said here at Cornea Day held before the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery meeting. "Clearly they work, but objective data is needed to validate the dose, the effects and the exact combination."

Dr. Macsai said current published literature evaluates the diaries of patients to establish a correlation between the patients' diets and changes in their dry eye symptoms.

Dr. Macsai said patients with Sjögren's syndrome have been shown to have lower vitamin E levels, so there might be a need for supplementation, she said.

"The question is: 'Which vitamin E,'" she said. "There's a tendency to think they are all the same."

Dr. Macsai said clinicians should make sure to tell patients to buy flax seed oil pills that are sold in opaque bottles so the oil does not lose its potency. Those pills seem most effective, she said.

"Ground flax seed is a great source of fiber, but it's not going to help your dry eye," Dr. Macsai said.

As regards objective studies, you bet! Any takers...???