Last year’s Dry Eye Assessment and Management (DREAM) Research Group study finding that omega-3 supplements were no better than an olive oil placebo for moderate to severe dry eye disease (DED) patients caused quite a stir.
This year, the results from a 12-month extension of the US-based, randomised, placebo-controlled, double-masked trial proved consistent with initial trial results, supporting the finding that there are no beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation relative to placebo for DED. Adding further to the arguments against omega-3 supplementation this year is the publication of a large systematic review by the Cochrane Collaboration, which also showed there’s little or no effect from omega-3 supplements on the risk of experiencing heart disease, stroke or death. Cochrane lead author, Dr Lee Hooper from the University of East Anglia, said. “We can be confident in the findings of this review which go against the popular belief that long-chain omega-3 supplements protect the heart... On the other hand, while oily fish is a healthy food, it is unclear from the small number of trials whether eating more oily fish is protective of our hearts.”
Australian TFOS ambassador, Dr Laura Downie, head of the specialty cornea clinic and the Downie Laboratory: Anterior Eye, Clinical Trials and Research Translation Unit, at the University of Melbourne is co-author on another Cochrane review considering the totality of the evidence relating to omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplement for treating DED. She will be sharing her results on this in an upcoming NZ Optics.