Dry eye relief may come from overlooked vitamins. Studies show certain supplements can aid mild dry eye symptoms.
Dry eye syndrome, or dry eye disease, occurs when your eyes don't make enough tears. It may also happen if your eyes don't produce the right kind of tears. This can cause burning, stinging, and irritation in your eyes.
Luckily, there are several ways to manage your symptoms. This includes taking various supplements or vitamins for dry eyes.
It's worth noting that the research on supplements for dry eyes is still evolving. Plus, taking too much of some vitamins can cause negative side effects. You might already be getting enough of certain nutrients through your diet, so talk with our eye doctor before taking supplements.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin which is very important for promoting eye health. It’s required for tear production to keep the eyes properly lubricated. Too little vitamin A can lead to eye issues which include dry eye.
In one 2019 study, dry eye patients took an oral vitamin A supplement (5,000 IU) for 3 days, and after that period of time, they had better quality tears.
Scientists believe this is the case because vitamin A improves the smoothness of the tear film, a thin layer of fluid on the eye, and it supports the proper formation of tears.
If you do choose to take vitamin A for dry eye syndrome, make sure not to take more than 10,000 daily in order to avoid vitamin A toxicity, which can cause headaches, nausea, joint pain, and skin irritation.
Vitamin D is also a fat-soluble vitamin, which is made by the skin when exposed to sunlight. Certain foods and supplements also contain vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to dry eye symptoms, and taking vitamin D supplements can help reduce inflammation on the surface of the eyes.
At this time, there is no specific recommended vitamin D dose for dry eye treatment. However, like vitamin A, vitamin D is fat-soluble and can accumulate in the body, so you should avoid taking doses larger than 4,000 IU.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin which helps the body produce DNA and nerve cells. Vitamin B12 deficiency is closely associated with eye pain and severe dry eye. In recent studies, a combination of artificial tears and vitamin B12 supplements improved dry eye symptoms.
Research has also found that vitamin B12 can help repair the corneal nerve layer (the nerves on the outer surface of the eyes). This helps reduce the burning sensation often associated with dry eye syndrome.
There is no specific recommended dosage of vitamin B12 for dry eye symptoms. Additionally, how much one should take depends on their ability to absorb it. Doses of 2,000 micrograms are usually considered safe, but you should still speak with our eye care professional before taking vitamin B12 for dry eye.
Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid which provides structure to cell membranes and reduces inflammation throughout the body.
A 2016 study found that people who took omega-3 supplements saw improvement in dry eye symptoms from rosacea. Other recent studies have found that omega-3 supplements alleviated dry eye symptoms in people with computer vision syndrome by reducing the speed of tear evaporation, and reduced inflammation.
However, a 2018 study also found that omega-3 supplements did not produce a noticeable improvement in dry eye symptoms, and more research is ongoing.
There is no official recommended omega-3 dose for dry eye treatment, but 1,000 milligrams daily is often what is recommended.
Foods Packed with Omega-3:
Vitamins can be a useful home remedy for mild dry eye symptoms; however, you should still consult with our optometrist before you start taking any vitamin or other supplement. If you are interested in trying vitamins to treat your dry eye, you can reach out to your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice either via a call or in-person visit to schedule a consultation. Our team of eye care professionals is ready and equipped to provide you with the care you need.