Dry Eye Syndrome in Women May be Prevented by Regulating Fatty Acid Intake

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Schepens Eye Research Institute (SERI) found that the amount, type and ratio of essential fatty acids in the diet may play a key role in dry eye prevention in women. The study is published in the October 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers found that a high intake of omega 3 fatty acids, often referred to as a 'good' fat, commonly found in fish and walnuts, is associated with a protective effect. Conversely, a higher ratio of omega 6, a fat found in many cooking and salad oils and animal meats, compared to omega 3 in the diet, may increase the risk of dry eye syndrome.

In this study, the researchers report the following specific findings:

* Women with the highest levels of omega 3 in their diets reduced their risk of dry eye syndrome by 20 percent compared to women with the lowest levels of this fat in their diet.

* A dietary ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 greater than 15:1 was associated with a 2.5-fold increased risk of dry eye syndrome in women. Currently, the average American diet consists of a similarly high ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids.

* Tuna consumption reduced the risk of dry eye syndrome. Women who reported eating at least five servings of tuna per week had a 68 percent reduced risk of dry eye syndrome compared to women who consumed one serving per week.

* Other fish types that have lower levels of omega 3 fatty acids did not appear to protect against dry eye syndrome.

These findings are based on surveys completed by more than 37,000 women enrolled in the landmark, BWH-based Women's Health Study. Survey questions were designed to elicit information about an individual's history of diagnosed dry eye syndrome and dietary habits.

Link [www.emaxhealth.com/96/5133.html]

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