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The benefits of omega 3 for healthy eyes

smoking_processAs Good Friday, the day when it is common to eat fish, approaches we are encouraging people to make small changes to their diet to help protect their eye health and to be mindful of the eye health benefits which the essential omega 3 fatty acids from oily fish provide us with.

The NHS recommends that we eat two portions of fish a week, including one of oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines and herring. Getting the much-needed omega 3 fatty acids from the food we consume is even more important because our bodies can’t produce it.

Fish fats contain long chain fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which are essential for vital body functions, including eyesight. Making a small but significant change to our diet, and ensuring we eat at least one portion of oily fish weekly is one of the steps we can take to help prevent the development of wet and dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Studies have shown that these fatty acids may also protect against the progression of cataracts and dry eye syndrome, and play a critical role in normal retinal (the nerve tissue lining the back of your eye) function.

According to the NHS, it is estimated that around one in three people over the age of 65 experiences problems with dry eyes. Increasing our intake of omega 3 is one way to help prevent dry eye syndrome or reduce the symptoms.

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition which occurs when the eyes do not make enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly. This can be very uncomfortable and can affect anyone at any age.

Those who don’t eat fish can find alternative sources of omega 3 in flaxseed, walnuts, almonds, rapeseed oil and eggs enriched with omega 3 or even consider taking a fish oil supplement. Research shows though that fish oil contains the best source of omega 3.

Image courtesy of Staal Smokehouse