Oral consumption of omega-3 improves dry eye symptoms


When the eye does not produce tears properly (the lacrimal glands fail to produce enough of the watery component of tears to maintain a healthy eye surface) or when the tears evaporate too quickly (because of inflammation of the glands that make the oily part of tears that slows evaporation), we talk about dry eye, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, dysfunctional tear syndrome or lacrimal keratoconjunctivitis, among others names. Dry eye (if it is not treated) can produce pain, ulcers or scars on the cornea and, even, some loss of vision. This disorder can be temporary or chronic (in the first case, it is associated with some medications, allergies, pregnancy, etc.; in the second case, it is related with chronic conjunctivitis, thyroid disease, etc.).

In order to assess the effect of oral intake of omega-3 fatty acids on dry eye symptoms, 64 patients were randomly asigned to receive, daily for 30 days, two capsules of omega-3 (each containing 180 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] + 120 mg of docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]) or two capsules of placebo (an innocuous oily substance). The outcomes showed that oral consumption of omega-3 is associated with a significant decrease in the rate of tear evaporation, improvement in dry eye symptoms (measured with the Ocular Surface Disease Index, a 12-item scale for the assessment of symptoms related to dry eye disease and their effect on vision) and increase in tear secretion.



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