Omega-3 and sight among computer users
Failure of the elements that form the eye surface (cornea, conjunctiva, eyelids and tear film) and the tear glands to maintain their integrity leads to the appearance of so-called ‘dry eye’: dryness, burning sensation, feeling of having something in the eye, reddening, periods of blurred vision, tired eyes, difficulty in performing tasks requiring visual attention and more. They are characterised objectively by damage to the eye surface, reduced tear production, tear hyperosmolarity and inflammation.
This disease usually affects people aged over 50 (although it can occur at any age) and especially women, being common during menopause. It is a multi-factor process with various risk factors (genetic, age, sex, nutrition, environmental conditions, lifestyle, characteristics of work, immune status, hormone status and medication), whose prevalence increases exponentially with age. It is known that environmental conditions are relevant in the appearance and progression of the disease; one of these conditions is using a computer during work. Nowadays, we talk about ‘computer vision syndrome’ when referring to the adverse effects on the eyes of working in front of a computer for long periods without a break: itching, irritation, photofobia, red or tired eyes, blurred or double vision and headache. This is considered to be the trigger when the following factors are excluded: dry working atmosphere; no frequent blinking; antihistamines, antidiuretics, beta-blockers, contraceptive pills or other drugs; a diet deficient in water or essential fatty acids; autoimmune disease (arthritis, lupus erythematosus) or menopause.
In both middle-aged people of both sexes and women over 50, supplementation with long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids significantly improves symptoms, tear stability and conjunctival cytology in computer users, helping maintain the integrity of the eye surface.
- Bhargava R, Kumar P, Arora Y. Short-Term Omega 3 Fatty Acids Treatment for Dry Eye in Young and Middle-Aged Visual Display Terminal Users. Eye Contact Lens. 2015 Aug 28. [Epub ahead of print]
- Ribelles A, Galbis-Estrada C, Parras MA et al. Ocular Surface and Tear Film Changes in Older Women Working with Computers. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:467039. doi: 10.1155/2015/467039. Epub 2015 Oct 18.
- NIH. National Eye Institute. Facts about Dry Eye.