NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: In your recent column, E.W. of Silver Spring, Md., wrote about her Yorkie’s dry eyes. The dog had to get multiple eye drops several times a day.
I had a dry eye that felt like my eye was being shaved by a razor blade. My doctor gave me a prescription to use once an hour as needed. He also wisely told me to start taking flaxseed oil.
I started with the flaxseed oil, then switched to omega-3. I also started eating a little butter and mayonnaise (I had been on a low-fat diet). Today, I hardly ever have to use any kind of drops; I blink a number of times when I wake up, and I’m fine.
I don’t know if flaxseed oil supplements or increased fat in the diet would help a dog, but I thought I would pass this on.
— S.O., West Trenton, N.J.
Dear S.O.: I appreciate your communication regarding omega-3 fatty acid supplements helping your dry eye condition.
One of my family members has been diagnosed with dry-eye syndrome after waking up with excruciating pain in one eye. The eyelids damage the dry corneas during REM sleep.
As vegans and vegetarians, we look for non-animal sources of omega-3 essential fatty acid supplements and use Nordic Natural’s Algae Omega. I am not alone in declaring that omega-3 deficiency disease is widespread and one of the harmful consequences of industrial agriculture and the fast food and processed food industries.
I advise dog and cat owners to give their animal companions good-quality fish oil and organic butter from grass-fed cows. Based on your relief from dry eyes, those animals suffering from this condition may likewise benefit. Flaxseed oil is not the best source of omega-3 for some people and some dogs who lack certain converting enzymes. These are totally lacking in cats, for whom flaxseed oil is of no significant nutrient value.