Omega-3 supplementation could attenuate contact lens discomfort


The use of contact lenses is very common and has improved the quality of life of many people (not only by correcting vision but also by providing better appearance and less restriction in activities). However, contact lenses can cause disappointing complications (the term used for this is “contact lens discomfort”): episodic or persistent adverse ocular sensations related to lens wear (either with or without visual disturbance) that occur after the initial period of adaptation. Contact lens discomfort resolves or diminishes with contact lens removal; so, it can lead to decreased wearing time and discontinuation of contact lens wear.

Factors that can cause contact lens discomfort include: material, design, fit, wearing, care system, ocular surface condition (dry eye, tear composition), external environment (humidity, wind, temperature), compliance with the frequency of contact lens replacement, occupational factors (computer, light, and altitude, among others), medications, age, gender, ocular or systemic disorders, and psychiatric and psychological conditions. There are modifiable factors that can be controlled. On one hand, improving the compliance of the contact lens wearer with respect to the frequency of contact lens replacement and with care system. On the other hand, environmental and occupational factors that can be modified: increasing room humidity, avoiding being in the direction of windy air conditioners, intermittently looking at far objects during computer work, using lubricating eye drops, and adjusting the angle of gaze at the computer monitor.

There is an inflammatory component in the etiology of discomfort during contact lens wear. The signals of the manifestation of inflammation related to contact lens wear are: redness, heat (elevated conjunctival temperature), swelling, pain (end‐of‐day contact lens discomfort), and loss of function (dropping out of lens wear). Thus, it may be possible to modulate inflammation with the objective to alleviate discomfort during contact lens wear.

Recently, a study has been conducted to assess the efficacy of anti-inflammatory agents (a topical corticosteroid and omega-3 fatty acids supplements) for modulating the inflammation associated with contact lens discomfort. The outcomes showed that longer-term omega-3 fatty acids supplementation reduces tear levels of proinflammatory molecules. This, together with the fact that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids can decrease dry eye symptoms, suggests that omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) supplementation could attenuate contact lens discomfort.


Downie LE, Gad A, Wong CY, Gray JHV, Zeng W, Jackson DC, et al. Modulating contact lens discomfort with anti-inflammatory approaches: A randomized controlled trial. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2018;59(8):3755-66.

Alipour F, Khaheshi S, Soleimanzadeh M, Heidarzadeh S, Heydarzadeh S. Contact Lens-related Complications: A Review. J Ophthalmic Vis Res. 2017;12(2):193-204.

Efron N. Rethinking contact lens discomfort. Clin Exp Optom. 2018;101(1):1-3.