Omega 3 supplement no more beneficial for dry eye than olive oil, study finds


16 Apr 2018 --- Omega 3 fatty acid supplements yield no more beneficial results for dry eye symptoms than a placebo – olive oil – a study funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI) has found.

“The trial provides the most reliable and generalizable evidence thus far on omega 3 supplementation for dry eye disease,” says Maryann Redford, D.D.S., M.P.H., program officer for clinical research at NEI.

The study utilized 535 participants with at least a six-month history of moderate to severe dry eye symptoms. Among them, 349 people were randomly assigned to receive three grams daily of fish-derived omega 3 fatty acids in five capsules. Each daily dose contained 2000 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 1000 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are high doses, respectively.

Concerning the placebo, 186 people were randomly assigned to receive five grams daily of olive oil (about one teaspoon) in identical capsules. Study participants and the researchers did not know their group assignment.

Findings indicated no significant differences between groups in terms of improvement of dry eye symptoms.

Patient-reported symptoms were measured as change from the baseline in the "Ocular Surface Disease Index," a 100-point scale for assessing dry eye symptoms, with higher values representing greater severity. 

After 12 months, mean symptoms scores for people in both groups had improved substantially, but there was no significant difference in the degree of symptom improvement between the groups.

Symptom scores improved by a mean of 13.9 points in the omega 3 group and 12.5 points in the placebo group. A reduction of at least ten points on the index is considered significant enough for a person to notice an improvement. Overall, 61 percent of people in the omega 3 group and 54 percent of those in the control group achieved at least a ten point improvement in their symptom score, but the difference between the groups was not statistically significant.

“This well-controlled investigation conducted by the independently-led Dry Eye Assessment and Management (DREAM) Research Group shows that omega 3 supplements are no better than placebo for typical patients who suffer from dry eye,” adds Redford.

To replicate real-life settings, all participants were free to continue taking their previous medications for dry eye, such as artificial tears and prescription anti-inflammatory eye drops. This is due to omega 3’s status as an “add-on” therapy.

Therefore, “the study results are in the context of this real-world experience of treating symptomatic dry eye patients who request additional treatment,” says study chair for the trial, Penny A. Asbell, M.D., of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Dry eye disease occurs when the film that coats the eye no longer maintains a healthy ocular surface, which can lead to discomfort and visual impairment. The condition affects an estimated 14 percent of adults in the United States. 

Omega 3 fatty acids supplements are big business, representing a US$1 billion market in the United States, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. Despite omega-rich foods being available in the grocery aisles, consumer increasingly turn toward supplements for the various medical benefits such as cardiovascular health.

To contact our editorial team please email us at

Related Articles

Nutrition & Health News

Bone and joint health: Consumer demands and promising ingredients

19 Apr 2018 --- Mobility, which incorporates bone and joint health, is becoming a key concern for a range of demographics. NutritionInsight spoke with a number of key suppliers in the bone and joint health space about the key ingredients to look out for, as well as some key consumer demands driving innovation in this space.

Nutrition & Health News

Infant food allergy linked to genetics and skin exposure to food, dust and wipes

19 Apr 2018 --- Food allergy is triggered by perfect storm of genetics and skin exposure to infant wipes, dust and food, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study. Infant and childhood food allergy, whose cause has long been a mystery, has now been linked to a mix of environmental and genetic factors that must coexist to trigger the allergy. The factors contributing to food allergy include the genetics that alter skin absorbency, use of infant cleansing wipes that leave soap on the skin, skin exposure to allergens in dust and skin exposure to food from those providing infant care. Food allergy is triggered when these factors occur together.

Nutrition & Health News

Plant-based possibilities: Report details novel sugar replacements for beverages

19 Apr 2018 --- PreScouter, a Chicago based technology scouting company, details novel replacements for sugars in a new analysis, that are from natural sources, safe, technologically viable and environmentally stable, for use in beverages. The company hopes that the report answers consumer calls for sweeteners that are both natural and healthy, in light of diabetes and obesity epidemics, and that it may aid informing beverage providers on how to best respond to calls for lowering sugar levels in drinks.

Nutrition & Health News

Dosage questions: Green tea supplements may pose health risks, EFSA warns

19 Apr 2018 --- When taken as food supplements, green tea catechin doses at or above 800mg/day may pose health concerns, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which assessed the safety of green tea catechins from dietary sources, following concerns regarding their possible harmful effects on the liver. Catechins from green tea infusions and similar drinks are generally safe, the authority found, but certain supplements may be best avoided.

Nutrition & Health News

Collagen beverage innovations: PB Gelatins/PB Leiner to showcase convenient formats

19 Apr 2018 --- PB Gelatins/PB Leiner is marketing innovative solugel collagen products, that they say, make it even easier for their customers to grasp the opportunity collagen can bring to their health. The collagen industry is active and its growth is exemplified by Innova Market Insights figures, which show that there was a +34 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in new product launches for collagen peptides from 2010 to 2016.

More Articles