An omega-3 fatty acid supplement could decrease the symptoms of dry eyes, according to a new study. Omega-3 supplements are safe for most healthy adults and usually have few side effects if taken in a standard dose.

Dry eye disease (also called ocular surface disease) can develop if tears are not of sufficient quantity or quality to maintain that layer. To maintain eye comfort and good vision, the front surface of the eye must be covered with an even layer of tears that contain the right mix of water and oils.

Dry eyes symptoms include a stinging, itchy or burning sensation in your eye; sensitivity to light; blurred vision; mucus in or around your eye; and excessive tearing. The disease tends to be a chronic condition, and it usually cannot be cured completely.

However, various treatments can be used to ease symptoms, including over-the-counter artificial tear eye drops. In recent years, for dry eyes, fish oil has been suggested as a possible remedy. Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA.

Fatty fishes (catfish, halibut, salmon, striped sea bass and albacore tuna) are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. However, before taking a supplement, consult health care provider first and make sure the right dose for the situation.

Omega-3 fatty acids provide a wide range of health benefits. The dose of omega-3 fatty acid included 180mg of eicosapentaenoic acid and 120mg of docosahexaenoic acid, taken twice a day. Few side effects were noted at this level. However, high doses of the supplement have been associated with some have harmful effects.

The harmful effects include an increased bleeding risk, higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or bad) cholesterol, blood sugar control problems, and a fishy aftertaste or odour. In some at-risk populations, such as people who have had a heart transplant, omega-3 fatty acids may affect heart rate.

The researchers have found that people who take the omega-3 fatty acid supplements have fewer dry eye symptoms. It appears that omega-3 fatty acids could improve the eye's oil film that is produced by small glands (meibomian glands) on the edge of the eyelid that improves dry eye symptoms and reduces the need for artificial tears.