EPA/DHA Omega-3 Supplementation Found to Benefit Dry Eye in Contact Lens Wearers

December 14, 2015


Oral Omega-3 Fatty Acid Treatment for Dry Eye in Contact Lens Wearers
Bhargava, R. and Kumar, P., Cornea, 34: 413-420, 2015
Laser Eye Clinic (Nodia , India) and Santosh Medical College, Ghaziabad, India


Dryness of the eyes and accompanying irritation is a frequent problem in contact lens users. This can result in the need to abstain from wearing a contact lens for a period of time. In view of the anti-inflammatory effect of EPA/DHA supplementation , the present study enrolled 496 contact lens wearers into a controlled clinical trial to evaluate the potential efficacy of EPA/DHA supplementation on dry eye symptom score and lens wear comfort levels. A dry eye questionnaire and scoring system was assessed on the participants based on various symptoms (including itching, burning, gritty sensation, redness, blurred vision, ocular fatigue, excessive blinking). At the beginning, 240 subjects were assigned to the omega-3 group (given 1200 mg daily of supplemental EPA plus DHA, EPA: DHA ratio of 3:2) while 256 subjects in the control group received encapsulated corn oil (devoid of EPA/DHA). The supplementation was maintained for 6 months.

The symptom score in the omega-3 group showed a marked improvement (highly significant statistically) over the 6 months (reduced by 58 % overall on average) along with a significant improvement in the comfort level. No significant changes were found over the 6-month period in the control group. While 72.7 % of the subjects were moderately symptomatic at entry in the omega-3 group, this was reduced to only 5.5 % at 6 months. The authors concluded that their findings highlight the beneficial effects of orally administered EPA/DHA in decreasing dry eye symptoms and improving lens wear comfort in patients with contact lens-related dry eye.

Dr. Holub's Comments:

Previously-published clinical trials have supported the therapeutic benefits of EPA/DHA supplementation in dry eye syndrome (summaries of these can be read on this website, www.dhaomega3.org , by inserting ‘dry eye’ into the search window). The present study focused upon contact lens wearers who exhibited symptoms of dry eye. Dry eye syndrome is an inflammatory condition. Mounting evidence from recent animal studies indicate that the bioactive products formed from EPA and DHA , namely resolvin E1 and neuroprotectin D1, are involved in inflammatory resolution and tissue protection and likely contribute to the benefit of EPA/DHA supplementation in this ocular condition.

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