Top Natural Remedies for Dry Eyes - Internal and External Applications

Black Currant Seed Oil
Posted by Art (California ) on 03/19/2017 1002 posts
5 out of 5 stars

I've had dry eyes for quite a few years and it has varied in intensity but the overall trend has remained to dryer over time. I mainly have the problem at night and when I wake in the morning it can be quite difficult to open my eyes as they are so dry. Applying eye drops helps, but they are more of a band aid that needs to be replaced regularly and don't seem to do anything to stop or reduce the problem.

I had read that fish oil can be helpful for dry eyes, but I have taken fish oils at up to 6 grams per day and didn't notice any improvement. I also tried using a higher quality castor oil around my eyes but not directly in them and that helped, but castor oil can be messy and it will rub off on your pillow, so not very convenient.

More recently I was experimenting with black currant seed oil capsules for another reason. I started noticing that my morning eye dryness seemed to be diminishing and somedays was not a problem at all. I discontinued the black currant seed oil and my eye dryness seemed to return so I started taking it again and the dryness seems to be diminishing again.

Based on this experience I decided to read about black currant seed oil and see if there were any reports suggesting it could help dry eyes.
I did not find any studies directly linking black currant seed oil and dry eye reduction or elimination. In looking at the label on my bottle of BCSO, I noticed that it has a fairly high gamma linolenic acid (GLA) content in the 14 to 17% area, so I decided to see if GLA has shown benefit for dry eyes and I found this on PubMed:

Cornea. 2003 Mar;22(2):97-101.
Systemic linoleic and gamma-linolenic acid therapy in dry eye syndrome with an inflammatory component.

Barabino S1, Rolando M, Camicione P, Ravera G, Zanardi S, Giuffrida S, Calabria G.
Author information
Abstract
PURPOSE:
To evaluate the efficacy and anti-inflammatory activity of systemic linoleic (LA) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which decrease chronic inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, on the ocular surface of patients with keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
METHODS:
In a randomized clinical trial, 26 patients with aqueous-deficient keratoconjunctivitis sicca were consecutively selected from patients presenting to Department of Neurosciences, Ophthalmology and Genetics, University of Genoa. The diagnosis was based on dry eye symptom survey score, Schirmer-1 test values, positive vital staining with lissamine green, and fluorescein break-up time (FBUT). All patients had ocular surface inflammation based on HLA-DR expression, a major histocompatibility class II antigen, on epithelial bulbar conjunctiva samples. The subjects were randomly divided into two groups of 13 patients each. The study group received tablets containing LA (28.5 mg) and GLA (15 mg) twice daily for 45 days and used tears; the control group received a tear substitute and a placebo tablet for 45 days.
RESULTS:
Statistically significant changes in symptoms (p < 0.005), lissamine green staining (p < 0.005), and ocular surface inflammation (p < 0.05) occurred in the study group compared with controls. HLA-DR expression varied from 58.5 +/- 14.1% positive conjunctival cells to 41.3 +/- 18.9% in the treated group and from 61.4 +/- 21.9% to 58.0 +/- 13.3% in the controls. No statistically significant difference between groups was found for FBUT and the Schirmer-1 test.
CONCLUSIONS:
Therapy with LA and GLA and tear substitutes reduces ocular surface inflammation and improves dry eye symptoms. Long-term studies are needed to confirm the role of this new therapy for keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
PMID: 12605039

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Cornea. 2013 Oct;32(10):1297-304. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e318299549c.
Long-term Supplementation With n-6 and n-3 PUFAs Improves Moderate-to-Severe Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca: A Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Trial.

Sheppard JD Jr1, Singh R, McClellan AJ, Weikert MP, Scoper SV, Joly TJ, Whitley WO, Kakkar E, Pflugfelder SC.
Author information
Abstract
PURPOSE:
Supplementation with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has been found to decrease the production of disease-relevant inflammatory mediators that are implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic dry eye. This study evaluated the effect of a supplement containing both GLA and n-3 PUFAs on signs and symptoms of moderate-to-severe keratoconjunctivitis sicca in postmenopausal patients.
METHODS:
This multicenter, double-masked placebo-controlled clinical trial enrolled 38 patients (both eyes) with tear dysfunction who were randomized to supplemental GLA + n-3 PUFAs or placebo for 6 months. Disease parameters, including Ocular Surface Disease Index, Schirmer test, tear breakup time, conjunctival fluorescein and lissamine green staining, and topographic corneal smoothness indexes (surface asymmetry index and surface regularity index), were assessed at baseline and at 4,12, and 24 weeks. The intensity of dendritic cell CD11c integrin and HLA-DR expression was measured in conjunctival impression cytologies.
RESULTS:
The Ocular Surface Disease Index score improved with supplementation and was significantly lower than placebo (21 ± 4 vs. 34 ± 5) after 24 weeks (P = 0.05, n = 19 per group). The surface asymmetry index was significantly lower in supplement-treated subjects (0.37 ± 0.03, n = 15) than placebo (0.51 ± 0.03, n = 16) at 24 weeks (P = 0.005). Placebo treatment also significantly increased HLA-DR intensity by 36% ± 9% and CD11c by 34% ± 7% when compared with supplement treatment (n = 19 per group, P = 0.001,24 weeks). Neither treatment had any effect on tear production, tear breakup time, or corneal or conjunctival staining.
CONCLUSIONS:
Supplemental GLA and n-3 PUFAs for 6 months improved ocular irritation symptoms, maintained corneal surface smoothness, and inhibited conjunctival dendritic cell maturation in patients with postmenopausal keratoconjunctivitis sicca.Clinical Trial Registration-URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00883649.
PMID: 23884332 DOI: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e318299549c
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2009 Aug;247(8):1039-50. doi: 10.1007/s00417-009-1080-z. Epub 2009 May 5.
Efficacy of a 2-month dietary supplementation with polyunsaturated fatty acids in dry eye induced by scopolamine in a rat model.

Viau S1, Maire MA, Pasquis B, Grégoire S, Acar N, Bron AM, Bretillon L, Creuzot-Garcher CP, Joffre C.
Author information
Abstract
BACKGROUND:
This study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of dietary n-6 and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in dry eye in a rat model.
METHODS:
Female Lewis rats were fed with diets containing (1) gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), (2) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) + docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), or (3) GLA + EPA + DHA, for 2 months before the induction of dry eye using a continuous delivery of scopolamine and during scopolamine treatment. Two, 10 and 28 days after dry-eye induction, clinical signs of corneal dryness were evaluated in vivo using fluorescein staining. MHC II expression and mucin rMuc5AC production in the conjunctival epithelium were evaluated by immunostaining. Lipids and prostaglandins (PGs) E(1) and E(2) were analysed from the exorbital lacrimal gland (LG).
RESULTS:
Dietary PUFAs minimised the occurrence of corneal keratitis 28 days after induction of dry eye. The decrease in mucin production observed on the conjunctival epithelium was partially prevented by EPA + DHA supplementation after 2 days of scopolamine treatment, as well as by GLA and GLA + EPA + DHA diets after 10 days of treatment. The overexpression of MHC II in the conjunctival epithelium caused by dry eye induction was significantly reduced only with the GLA + EPA + DHA diet after 28 days of treatment. Dietary PUFAs were incorporated into phospholipids of the exorbital LG. Induction of dry eye was associated with a significant increase in PGE(1) and PGE(2) levels in the exorbital LG, which was inhibited by dietary EPA + DHA at 10 days (for PGE(2)) and 28 days (for PGE(1)).
CONCLUSIONS:
Dietary GLA, EPA and DHA significantly interfered with lipid homeostasis in the exorbital LG and partially prevented the course of dry eye. In particular, our results demonstrate the efficacy of the combination of n-6 and n-3 PUFAs.
PMID: 19415319 DOI: 10.1007/s00417-009-1080-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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So based on these abstracts and my experience it appears that GLA is useful for dry eyes and fish oil may also work well with it, but fish oil alone was not helpful for me. Also of note is that linoleic acid (LA) may work together with GLA to help ameliorate dry eyes. With this information I looked for a supplement that may be potentially better than black currant seed oil and that supplement would be borage oil as it contains a higher percent(24%) of GLA and it also contains LA. Borage oil also has antiinflammatory properties as determined by multiple studies and consequently offers other health benefits beside alleviating dry eyes. On my next supplement order I may add the borage oil to see if it is similar or better than black currant seed oil for amelioratimg dry eyes.

This is what I used:
https://www.swansonvitamins.com/swanson-efas-black-currant-seed-oil-gla-omegatru-180-sgels

This will probably be the one I use next for the experiment:
https://www.swansonvitamins.com/swanson-efas-borage-oil-gla-omegatru-1000-mg-60-sgels

Art