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Update on my eyes

Oct 12, 2010

Last July I had cataract surgery on both eyes. Now for the first time since I was 13, I can see clearly without eyeglasses.

This is obviously a great blessing to me. But I found that after the initial eye drops were gone, which they had given me at the time of surgery, my left eye was still swelled, making it quite uncomfortable. Since my right eye experienced no such problem, I was slightly puzzled by it and called the doctor for advice.

She told me (incorrectly) that it was due to oil ducts at the base of my eye lashes that were plugged, causing insufficient lubrication. So I bought some lubricant, which did absolutely nothing to relieve the situation.

Then I remembered what my friend Doug told me about so-called "dry eye." He had had cataract surgery a couple years ago and discovered the same problem, so he had researched it at the time. He found that the problem was inflammation from the surgery itself, which makes the eye seem too big for the socket and the eye lid feels like it is scraping against the eye. I also found that when it was inflamed, I became very light sensitive, making it nearly impossible to drive or read a computer screen.

It can take a long time to heal. He told me that it could take six months to a year before the eye goes back to normal.

Meanwhile, he found that fish oil had an anti-inflammatory property which worked very well on the eye problem. I tried it, and it worked very well for me as well. In fact, it was a Godsend. At first, I took about 4 capsules at a time every 4 hours, but after a few weeks, I was able to decrease it to 3 and then to 2.

The capsules take close to an hour to begin working, since they have to pass through the digestive process. But as long as I continued taking them within every 4 hours, my eye felt quite normal with no swelling or inflammation.

After 3 months had passed (Oct. 7), I slept through the night and woke up feeling normal. Then I again forgot to take it for about 6 or 7 hours during the day, but suffered no ill effects. So I realized that my eye was getting noticeably better. Today I went 11 hours without taking any fish oil and probably could have gone on longer, except that I want to take some of the oil anyway because of its omega-3 content.

So I am passing along this information to those who may have had cataract surgery--or are contemplating having the procedure done. You don't really need steroid drops for your eyes, at least not as a long-term treatment. But I recommend that you have some fish oil on hand, as you might find it to be vital to a normal work day. As I found, each eye could be different, and certainly everyone who gets surgery will have to experiment to see how many to take at a time.

I have added fish oil (EPA) to the list of health products that I am offering on the web site. Doug is my supplier, as with the other health products. I was already offering flax oil, which is another good source for omega-3 essential fatty acids, but fish oil has the extra benefit of being anti-inflammatory. If you don't want to take ibuprophen and prefer something natural to combat inflammation, you might want to try EPA, or fish oil.

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Dr. Stephen Jones

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