A new study, conducted by the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE), demonstrates that a novel combination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, ingested as a dietary supplement, improves symptoms in people who suffer from severe dry eye disease (DED).
While essential fatty acids are an established therapy, the study, published in Optometry and Vision Science, is the first clinical trial to demonstrate the effect of eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and γ-linoleic acid in such a population.
Our findings suggest that even the most severe sufferers can benefit from a meaningful improvement in symptoms with omega-3 and -6 supplementation
The prospective, randomised, double-masked parallel group study assessed daily use of a supplement containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (1200 mg eicosapentaenoic acid, 300 mg docosahexaenoic acid, 150 mg γ-linoleic acid) or the placebo (coconut and olive oil) for three months. Participants with baseline Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) scores >52 demonstrated a substantial improvement in symptoms with the treatment at the study’s conclusion, averaging a 20.8 point reduction. That compared to a 7.8 point reduction in the similarly-symptomatic placebo group.
“These study participants were far more symptomatic than other published trials involving omega-3 supplementation, allowing for additional analysis,” said Alison Ng, PhD, MCOptom, FAAO, CORE clinical scientist and the paper’s first author.
“The Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society Dry Eye Workshop II (TFOS DEWS II) report recommended dietary supplementation with omega-3 as the first stage of management for dry eye disease. Our findings suggest that even the most severe sufferers can benefit from a meaningful improvement in symptoms with omega-3 and -6 supplementation.”
The paper’s authors recommend that future studies examine the effects of early dietary supplementation with omega-3 and -6 fatty acids in patients presenting with mild-to-moderate DED, and that further research among highly symptomatic participants is warranted.