• Vol. 36 No. 10, S45–S49
  • 15 October 2007

Is There a Role for Nutritional Supplements in Dry Eye?



Introduction: Dry eye syndrome is a prevalent eye condition whereby the terminology, classification and treatment are not yet clearly elucidated. Methods: Literature review was done with Pubmed search engine with key words “ dry eye”, “nutritional supplements” and “treatment” for articles related to the pathogenesis of dry eye and the use of nutrients in treatment of dry eye. Results: Increased inflammatory cytokines may contribute to the pathogenesis of ocular surface and lacrimal gland inflammation. Nutritional supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids at an appropriate consumption ratio with omega-6 fatty acids was found to have a reduced incidence of dry eye due to its anti-inflammatory effects. Conclusions: The role of nutritional supplements in the treatment of dry eyes remains unknown. Omega-3 fatty acids may be considered as an adjunct therapy to conventional tear substitutes. Further research and clinical studies are necessary to validate the efficacy and safety of these nutritional supplements.

The possible role of nutritional supplementation in preventing or halting the progression of ocular disease is of interest to healthcare professionals and patients. Nutritional supplements are available in many forms such as vitamins A, B, C and E, carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin), minerals such as selenium and zinc, and the herb, ginkgo biloba. Traditionally, nutritional supplements have been used in the treatment of various eye diseases including glaucoma, cataract, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eye.1

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