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J Am Coll Nutr. 2017 Jan;36(1):38-43. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2016.1170643. Epub 2016 Oct 31.

Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Dietary Supplementation on Ocular Surface and Tear Film in Diabetic Patients with Dry Eye.

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a Department of Ophthalmology , Medical School, University of Patras , Patras , GREECE.
c Department of Cytology , St Andrews Hospital , Patras , GREECE.
d Endocrinology Unit , Karamandanio Hospital , Patras , GREECE.
b Department of Cytology , Medical School, University of Patras , Patras , GREECE.



The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids on ocular surface and tear film in patients with type 2 diabetes suffering from dry eye.


Thirty-six patients suffering from type 2 diabetes and moderate to severe dry eye syndrome were included in the study. Patients were assigned to receive omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids for 3 months. Tear film break-up time test, Schirmer-I test, and conjunctival impression cytology analysis were performed on all patients at baseline and after 1 and 3 months. The subjective symptoms of dry eye were evaluated with the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire at the same time points.


Patients' average age was 65.57 ± 4.27 years and the mean duration of diabetes was 14.85 ± 5.4 years. There was a statistically significant increase in Schirmer-I test results and tear break-up time score after 3 months of supplementary intake of omega-3 fatty acids compared to baseline (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001, respectively). Impression cytology demonstrated a significantly lower grade of conjunctival squamous cell metaplasia after 1 and 3 months of omega-3 fatty acids intake compared to baseline (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01, respectively). The OSDI score was statistically significant lower both at 1 and 3 months after omega-3 fatty acids supplementation compared to baseline (p < 0.001).


Omega-3 fatty acids may effectively improve tear film characteristics, reverse ocular surface features, and alleviate the subjective symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome in patients with type 2 diabetes.


Ocular Surface Disease Index; diabetes; dry eye; impression cytology; omega-3 fatty acids

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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