The Dry Eye Zone

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Research news: Omega 3 and dry eye

Ever since the famous Harvard tuna study there's been quite a number of small projects going on about nutritional supplements and dry eye. Results are starting to creep out though mostly informal and limited-scope studies. No doubt it will be quite awhile before we see enough larger, substantial, well structured studies to get some solid info.

In the meantime I'll report on whatever I see...

According to OSN Supersite, Dr. Fernando de Santiago presented his study results at a recent conference:

PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay — Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce ocular surface inflammation and improve symptoms of dry eye, but they cannot replace standard treatments for lacrimal dysfunction, according to a physician speaking here.

"Omega-3 therapy should be treated as a secondary, not primary, treatment for lacrimal dysfunction," Fernando de Santiago, MD, of Uruguay, said in his presentation at the Curso Regional Panamericano.

In a 4-year study, 20 patients received 1 g of omega-3 per day, and 20 patients received 3 g of omega-3 per day.

"Patients reported feeling better, but it was a subjective assessment since there are no objective methods to show the improvement," he said.

Although high dietary intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids decreases the risk of developing dry eye disease, tear tests done during the study did not find major differences. Therefore, he said, "omega-3 treatment should be used as complementary therapy to tested treatments for light and moderate dry eye, but cannot replace it."


This sort of thing seems to be more packed with questions than answers. What form of Omega 3? I wonder, if the dose had been matched to their weight would it have made a difference to results? (In my current love affair with Barleans cinnamon flavored oil, I'm following their advice about 1T per 100 lbs of body weight.) And on what basis do they state that "Patients reported feeling better"??? That could mean anything from asking "Hey, do you feel bettr now?" (yes/no) to quarterly administration of an OSDI or other scientifically validated questionnaire measuring symptoms.
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