Vitamins and Minerals

Omega-3 (Fish Oil) For Glaucoma

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What science says about Omega-3 (Fish Oil) For Glaucoma

Scientists and medical experts have different opinions on the benefits of omega-3 for glaucoma. Some experts believe that omega-3 can help treat glaucoma because it reduces intraocular pressure in the eye, increases blood flow to the eye, and protects the eye against inflammation and nerve damage.

Recent studies show that omega-3 can decrease intraocular pressure and relieve inflammation inside the eye. However, many scientists call for more studies on the effect of omega-3 on glaucoma to determine its exact mechanism of action.

Meanwhile, other experts still believe that omega-3 does not help treat glaucoma. They also argue that there is not enough evidence to prove that omega-3 is beneficial for glaucoma patients.


Opinion in favor of taking Omega-3 to treat Glaucoma

Supporters of omega-3 consumption for the treatment of glaucoma believe that two omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), play an important role in protecting the optic nerve from potential damage.

Furthermore, experts point out that because cells in the optic nerve consist of DHA, consuming DHA can help strengthen and protect the optic nerve against vascular damage to the blood vessels. EPA and DHA can also help increase blood flow to the eye. This increases the nutrients and amount of oxygen the eye receives, preventing retinal cell death, and improving visual acuity.

Experts argue that omega-3 can treat glaucoma because it reduces intraocular pressure in the eye, and some studies now support their claims.

For instance, the 2014 study, “Neuro-rescuing glaucomatous damage High doses of omega-3 fatty acids could help treat glaucoma,” indicates that omega-3 decreased pressure inside the eye because it reduced inflammation caused by the increased number of inflammatory markers in the eye.

Another 2018 study, “Effects of Oral Supplementation with Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) plus Antioxidants in Pseudoexfoliative Glaucoma: A 6-Month Open-Label Randomized Trial,” indicated that omega-3 supplementation reduced intraocular pressure in the eye. because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  It also prevented damage to the optic nerve that might result from oxidative stress.
Thus, based on the results of these studies, omega-3 fatty acids may have therapeutic potential to treat glaucoma.

Skeptical views about the benefit of Omega-3 for Glaucoma

Most medical experts agree that people need omega-3 in small amounts for overall health. However, opponents of omega-3 consumption for glaucoma believe that there are only a handful of studies that support the claim that omega-3 benefits glaucoma patients.

They argue that researchers need to design longer trials that can be replicated for their studies to be considered credible. So far, the randomized controlled trials that have been conducted on glaucoma patients are short, lasting only six months.

Dr. Jeffrey SooHoo from the University of Colorado School of Medicine argues that he does not recommend omega-3 fatty acids to patients with glaucoma because only a few studies prove that omega-3 is beneficial for people with the disease.

Therefore, he and other researchers like him cannot support a claim that is not adequately supported by scientific evidence, especially when omega-3’s mechanism of action is still unclear.

Thus, they call for more research on omega-3 and its role in treating glaucoma before they can decide if it is indeed beneficial for the condition.

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