Omega Fatty Acids and Vision Health

Omega Fatty Acids and Eye Health

I know what you are thinking – fatty acids? How can fats be any good for my health or my eyes? Contrary to common beliefs, some fat is actually necessary for you to be healthy. This goes for your eyes, too!

As we’ve discussed before, there is such a thing as good fat, and one perfect example is omega fatty acids. These are also known as omega-3s and they’re amazing! Miraculous even! So, we’re going to talk about even more benefits they have to offer. Even if you’re unfamiliar with fatty acids and the benefits they have on your eyesight, you’ve likely heard about omega-3s. So, what are they all about?

What Is Omega-3?

Omega-3s are essentially important dietary fats. They support many of your bodily functions and systems. For example, your immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and cardiovascular system. As for your eyes, there are two really important forms of omega-3: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Both fatty acids support your retinas and the progression of your vision over time.

DHA is found in high concentrations in the retina. So, we know it is very important to the growth and development of this area. This is especially true for developing fetuses, but omega-3s are important to anyone of any age. We know from modern studies that people with low levels of DHA and EPA are more likely to have eye diseases and poor vision.

Where Can I Get Omega-3s and How Much Do I Need?

If you don’t eat a lot of fish, then you probably are not getting enough DHA and EPA. The recommended daily intake for both fatty acids combined is one half to one gram. DHA and EPA are most easily found in certain types of fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovy, and trout. If you are a vegetarian, however, you can purchase omega-3 that has been processed from algae.

Omega Fatty Acids and Vision HealthEating fish around two to three times a week should give you a good dose of omega fatty acids. You can also take fish oil supplements if you don’t like the taste of fish. However you choose to get it, omega-3s are very important to your eye health. Getting enough omega-3s has been shown to prevent retinal diseases, so make sure you are getting the recommended dose!

Benefits of Omega-3s for Adults

There have been several studies completed in more recent years that suggest omega-3s are linked to preventing dry eyes and macular degeneration in adults. These fatty acids can also help ensure the eyes drain their fluids correctly, which in turn helps to prevent conditions such as glaucoma. Omega-3s have also been linked to preventing high pressure in the eyes as well as retinopathy or deterioration of the retina.

Besides benefiting your eyes, we know omega-3 impacts the rest of the body as well. According to a doctor-reviewed article, omega-3 can help do the following:

  • Fight anxiety and depression
  • Improve fetal brain development
  • Reduce ADHD symptoms in kids
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s

Additionally, omega-3s can help prevent some cancers and decrease fat in your liver. No matter your age, your body depends on fatty acids to survive. If you have children, it’s crucial that they also get their daily dose. Not only will it aid in their eye development and health, but it can reduce asthma. For your senior parents, omega-3 will help with bone and joint pain. For your teen girls, consider omega-3 for treating menstrual cramps.

As you can see, omega-3s are important for all aspects of bodily functioning. Not in the least your eyes and vision.

Ratio of Omega-3s to Omega-6s

Our bodies make all the fatty acids they need except for two: omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-6s are another type of fatty acid that is necessary for our health. It contributes to healthy brain tissue, regulates metabolism, and stimulates hair and nail growth. However, too much omega-6 will cause your blood pressure to increase. You can also develop blood clots and potentially suffer a heart attack or stroke. Although omega-6 is necessary from our diets, moderation is key.

You should have around three times more omega-3s in your system than you do omega-6s. This way, you will have a higher count of DHA and EPA, giving you better vision! And, you’ll reduce your risk of a blood clot and stroke. Most people, however, have more omega-6s than omega-3s.

If your omega-6 intake is higher than your omega-3 intake, you should make a few small changes. Otherwise, you will miss out on the wonderful eye benefits of omega-3s!

To balance your omega-3s and omega-6s, consider using healthier cooking oils and eating more fish and vegetables. Limit your intake of fried foods, limit your intake of red meat, and limit your intake of hydrogenated oils.

Try substituting olive oil for your normal cooking oil, since many of these have omega-6s in them. Eat more fish and vegetables to add some more omega-3s to your diet. Limit how much red meat you eat as red meat is a high source of omega-6s. If you limit your red meat intake, you will have a higher percentage of omega-3s, which means healthier eyes! Limiting snack foods and fried foods can help you achieve a lower omega-6 rate as well.

Omega-3s and Your Eyes

Whether you eat fish, take fish oil, or opt for a vegetarian option, make sure you are getting enough DHA and EPA. This important nutrient is critical for healthy vision and eyes. Omega-3 isn’t the only essential eye health nutrient. In fact, there are 17 eye-healthy nutrients you need to be getting daily. Be sure you are also getting all of the other 17 essential vitamins and nutrients that benefit your vision.

Remember, it’s really important to combine several different techniques for protecting and restoring your vision. This ensures you are more likely to succeed. In addition to eating cleaner and taking a supplement, stay active. Be proactive about your eye health; your future eyes will thank you!

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  1. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Joanne Q. says:

    Good useful article – thanks!

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About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics (just like his brother) with the dream of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he joined Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent nearly two decades studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.

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