A combination of omega-3s and antioxidants may significantly reduce dry eye symptoms, including ‘scratchy’ eyes, eye redness, and blurry vision, according to a new study.
Dry eye syndrome, is a condition where the eyes do not make enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly. This produces dry eyes and increases the risk of inflammation. The prevalence of dry eye can reportedly be up to 30% in people aged 50 y and older.
In a new study with 905 people with dry eye syndrome, daily use of 1050 mg DHA/125 mg EPA + 80 mg vitamin C + 5 mg zinc (along w/minor amounts of vit E+A, tyrosine, cysteine, glutathione, copper, manganese and selenium) was found to improve symptoms in 84% of the participants, with the percentage of people in which dry eye symptoms predominated nearly all the time decreasing from 53.5% at the start, to 34.1% after 3 months of intervention.
“In an open-label prospective design, carried out in routine daily practice, this study provides evidence of the beneficial effect of oral supplementation with a nutraceutical formulation based on the combination of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and essential trace elements to relieve symptoms of dry eye syndrome,” wrote researchers, led by Andrea Olenik from the Ophthalmology Department at the Fundacion Jimenez Diaz in Madrid, Spain.
Commenting on the study for NutraIngredients-USA, Harry Rice, PhD, V.P., Regulatory & Scientific Affairs for the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), told us: “While the use of EPA & DHA to successfully treat dry eye symptoms remains debatable, recent evidence, including that from this study, demonstrates benefits that most dry-eye sufferers will welcome. “I’m encouraged by the results and hope the benefits will be replicated using a blinded, randomized control study design.”
Results of the study indicated that all symptoms of dry eye including ‘scratchy’ and ‘stinging’ eyes, redness, grittiness, pain, tired eyes, grating sensation, and blurry vision, were significantly improved after three months of supplementation. The mean number of daily applications of artificial tears to relieve the symptoms also decreased significantly from 3.8 to 3.3 for the study participants.
“It has been shown that omega-3 essential fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory action in the lacrimal gland, preventing apoptosis of the secretory epithelial cells, and that supplementation clears meibomitis-increasing tear secretion from the lacrimal gland, and allows a thinner, more elastic lipid layer to protect the tear film and cornea,” explained the researchers. “Also, omega-3 and omega-6 cannot be synthesized in the body and must be obtained from diet; as a result, many dieticians are encouraging the population to incorporate omega-3 into their diet.”
Source: Clinical Ophthalmology
2014, Volume 8, Pages 169–176, doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S54658
“Effectiveness and tolerability of dietary supplementation with a combination of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants in the treatment of dry eye symptoms: results of a prospective study”
Authors: A. Olenik on behalf of the Dry Eye Clinical Study Group (DECSG)