Flaxseed oil may possess various health benefits. While some evidence suggests it may help with dry eye, more research is necessary to confirm its potential benefits.

Having dry eye may result in people experiencing scratchy, stinging, or burning sensations in their eyes. In some cases, it can cause them to have vision problems, such as blurry vision or sensitivity to light.

Flaxseed oil comes from ripened flaxseeds that manufacturers have cold pressed to extract the oil. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, which may play an important role in eye health. Some evidence claims flaxseed oil is beneficial for dry eye, but other studies suggest it has no benefit.

Read on to learn more about the potential benefits of flaxseed oil for dry eye.

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Dry eye affects millions of Americans per year. The condition typically occurs when a person’s tears do not work as they should or are unable to keep the eyes moist. This is because tears play an important role in keeping the surface of a person’s eyes healthy.

As such, methods of keeping the eyes moist can help manage symptoms of dry eye. Some evidence suggests that taking flaxseed oil supplements may help with dry eye. Some other scientific studies and articles suggest this oil may help a person’s dry eyes. However, more research is necessary to confirm if flaxseed oil is effective.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Flaxseed oil contains omega-3 fatty acids. Scientists are still studying the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on a person’s health and some conditions. Some clinicians recommend using supplements containing omega-3 to relieve dry eye symptoms.

The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements notes that some studies suggest that getting more omega-3 helps relieve dry eye symptoms. However, a 2022 study indicates omega-3 from marine sources had no effect in preventing or reducing symptoms of dry eye.

As such, more research is necessary to help scientists fully understand if supplements with omega-3 can help treat or prevent dry eye.

Artificial tears with flaxseed oil

Artificial tears are a treatment for dry eye. They are eye drops that lubricate a person’s dry eye and also help the outer surface of the eyes stay moist. Flaxseed oil may be an ingredient in certain formulations of artificial tears.

A 2020 study investigated the safety and effect of flaxseed oil and trehalose, which is a common ingredient in many eye drops for dry eye. The researchers found that eye drops containing flaxseed oil and trehalose offered more protection to a person’s eyes.

However, the researchers note they could not tell if this protection came from flaxseed oil, trehalose, or both. Additionally, it is worth noting that the manufacturers of the flaxseed oil artificial tears also funded the study and financially supported the researchers.

The benefits of flaxseed oil for dry eye may include reducing or alleviating dry eye symptoms and making people less dependent on topical treatments, such as corticosteroids.

A 2023 review suggests omega-3 fatty acids possess an anti-inflammatory effect on a person’s dry eye and may be an effective treatment option. As flaxseed oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, it may possess similar benefits.

Evidence notes that flaxseed oil may cause gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation and diarrhea. It is advisable to take this oil with plenty of water to try and prevent this side effect.

Additionally, it is important to note that people should not apply flaxseed oil directly to their eyes. They also need to seek advice from a healthcare professional before taking or using supplements to treat health conditions. They should also avoid eating raw or unripe flaxseeds, which may contain potentially toxic compounds. Flaxseed may also be unsafe for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Flaxseed oil supplements are available as capsules or liquids — these health supplements will usually have dosage recommendations on their labels. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve dietary supplements for their safety, effectiveness, or labeling before they are available to the public.

There is no general scientific agreement on using supplements that contain omega-3, such as flaxseed oil. Scientists have not yet published guidelines on the best dose or how long to use omega-3 for dry eye.

Fish oil also contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. However, it also contains different types of omega-3. Flaxseed oil contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), while fish oil contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

A person’s body converts ALA to EPA and DLA. However, the body can only convert up to 15% of ALA. This means people can get more omega-3 oils by consuming products that contain them. Therefore, those with dry eye may be able to get more omega-3 from fish oil than flaxseed oil.

Flaxseed oil contains omega-3. Some scientific studies state omega-3 supplements have benefits for people with dry eye, including relieving symptoms. However, other studies have found no benefit. As such, more research is necessary to understand if supplements with omega-3, such as flaxseed oil, can help treat or prevent dry eye.