I’ve mentioned how research shows a diet rich in Omega 3s can help reduce inflammation around the eyelid.
I’ve also come across countless stories that mention the massive role diet played in improving their Blepharitis.
"Two and a half weeks ago he [naturopath] put me on a diet of no sugar (except 1 apple or pear a day) and no alcohol. I’ve also been avoiding wheat, dairy, corn and soy for the past two weeks to determine if there are any food allergies… My eyes have improved tremendously during this time.
My doctor says I can expect to be on this diet for about 3 months until my digestive tract is back in order. Then I can begin to reintroduce alcohol and a bit of sugar, when my body is healthy enough to handle it again (small doses are key)."
Significantly improved symptoms after 2 weeks is an amazing feat. Georgia should be over the moon!
"I have to say from personal experience that diet was a major factor in really helping my blepharitis. I cut out caffeine first, then sugary drinks, then all candy and eventually all snacks. I lost weight after a while and I feel my blepharitis very little even without doing a cleaning routine.
I think a huge thing for me was also the reduction in dandruff that accompanied the loss of the extra weight and sugar. Occasionally I drink a sugary caffeinated drink and my bleph comes on full force almost immediately."
Based on these stories – I decided to look a bit deeper into the impact of diet on Blepharitis.
*Before changing your diet – please discuss with your Doctor first, as some foods and supplements make interact with other medications.*
The Rationale Behind Diet & Blepharitis
Some foods & supplements, reduce the ability of white blood cells to produce more inflammatory cells.
Usually this is a good response. We need white blood cells to wade off infections and destroy pathogens, such as bacteria.
However, when it comes to allergies, these inflammatory cells become a problem. The body confuses a food, such as diary, as a pathogen and begins producing inflammatory cells to fight it. This leads to redness, swelling and itchiness.
These cells initiate clotting, constrict blood vessels and cause other cells to clump together.
Based on this, it’s easy to hypothesize how these cells can cause blockage to the glands around the eyelid. Thereby, preventing the eye’s natural cleaning function and tear formation.
By having a diet that’s right for you, you can suppress these inflammatory cells and minimise inflammation around your body and eyes.
Foods To Avoid
The most obvious foods to avoid are those that you are allergic to.
In the stories above, I suspect the primary driver of their Blepharitis was an underlying food allergy.
If you are not sure what you are allergic to, an elimination diet can help. As Dr Axe puts it:
An elimination diet is a short-term eating plan that eliminates certain foods that may be causing allergies and other digestive reactions – then reintroduces the foods one at a time in order to determine which foods are, and are not, well-tolerated.
This can help identify (through the process of elimination, and gradual addition) what food source is giving you your symptoms.
The following foods are typically removed:
- Refined/added sugar
- Packed, Processed and Fast Foods
Research shows food elimination diets can help skin conditions such as Acne and Eczema- which can be associated with Blepharitis.
Under the supervision of your Doctor, it might be worth looking into a food elimination diet. This could help you identify any particular foods that worsen your symptoms.
However, there doesn’t need to be a research study to tell you refined sugar, saturated fats, alcohol & processed foods are bad for you! Minimising intake of these would be great for your overall health.
Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the creation of these inflammatory cells around the body. These fatty acids are found in fish such as trout, salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna. Walnuts and chia seeds also contain Omega-3 fatty acids.
If you’re not a fan of fish, or don’t like the after-taste the supplements give you – Flaxseed oil might be the answer for you.
Aside from reducing inflammation, research also shows these oils may help improve the quality of tears.
A healthy eye, is a well-lubricated eye. When our Meibomian glands don’t produce enough oil, the tears evaporate quickly. This can cause Dry Eye Syndrome and Blepharitis. By assisting the oil production around the eyelids, omega-3 fatty acids could help your symptoms.
If the National Eye Institute recommends a diet high in antioxidants – it might be worth listening to.
Increasing antioxidants may also lower the inflammation in your body and improve the health of your eyes.
Vitamins A, C and E are all antioxidants that lower levels of inflammation in the body.
- Vitamin A is found in fresh dark-green leafy vegetables, such as spinach or yellow/red vegetables and fruits.
- Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits and vegetables such as broccoli and brussell sprouts.
- Vitamin E is abundant in whole grains and oils.
Avocado, seeds, olive oil, nuts and seeds have been shown to reduce inflammation around the body. These foods particularly help to heal the skin.
Healthy fats can assist in skin-health, eye-health & improved hair quality.
Avocado can even be used directly on the skin as a moisturiser!
In particular, Avocado contains lutein, which is a naturally-occurring plant pigment that protects eye health, as well as the damaging effects of UV light damage.
So next time you’re making that salad, be sure to throw some avocado into the mix!
A healthy diet can help improve inflammation around the eye. It may drastically help Blepharitis sufferers who’s symptoms are caused by food allergies.
If an improved diet doesn’t result in complete resolution of symptoms for you, you’ll still feel great and have more energy.
**Be sure to seek medical advice before altering your diet**