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Dry eyes.

Dry eyes are not only uncomfortable, they also make it harder to read, use a computer, and drive at night. "Artificial tears" offer some relief, but it doesn't last.

So researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston looked for links between dry eye syndrome and diet among more than 32,000 women aged 45 to 84. Their results: those who consumed more omega-3 fats were 17 percent less likely to report the syndrome. In particular, women who ate seafood 2 to 4 times a week had a 42 percent lower risk than women who ate seafood less than twice a week.

In contrast, those who ate higher levels of omega-6 fats and lower levels of omega-3s were 2 1/2 times more likely to have dry eyes. (We get omega-6 fats from the soybean and other oils in mayonnaise, salad dressings, fried foods, baked goods, and dozens of other foods.)

Omega-3 fats may ward off dry eye syndrome by curbing inflammation in the tear gland and eye surface, say researchers.

What to do: If you have dry eye syndrome, try eating more seafood. Although this study found the lowest risk of dry eyes in women who ate tuna 5 or 6 times a week, you're safer with salmon or other fatty fish that are lower in mercury. You can also curb your omega-6 intake by switching from soybean or corn oil to canola or olive oil (see "ALA Carte," p. 8).

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 82: 887, 2005.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Center for Science in the Public Interest
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Title Annotation:omega-3 fats
Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Words:250
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