Study Shows Significant Impact of Novel Omega-3 and Omega-6 Supplement for People with Severe Dry Eye Disease

CORE-Conducted Clinical Study Published in Optometry & Vision Science; Promising Findings Offer Potential for Eye Care Community & Patients

WATERLOO, ONTARIO, February 9, 2022—A newly-published study conducted by the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) indicates that a novel combination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids ingested as a dietary supplement significantly improves symptoms in people who suffer from severe dry eye disease. Essential fatty acids are an established therapy, yet this is the first clinical trial to demonstrate the effect of eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and γ-linoleic acid in such a population.

Effect of a Novel Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acid Supplement on Dry Eye Disease: A 3-month Randomized Controlled Trial (Ng A, et al) appears in the January 2022 edition (Volume 99, Issue 1) of Optometry and Vision Science, the peer review journal of the American Academy of Optometry.

The prospective, randomized, double-masked parallel group study assessed daily use of a supplement containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (1200 mg eicosapentaenoic acid, 300 mg docosahexaenoic acid, 150 mg γ-linoleic acid) or the placebo (coconut and olive oil) for three months. Participants with baseline Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) scores >52 demonstrated a substantial improvement in symptoms with the treatment at the study’s conclusion, averaging a 20.8 point reduction. That compared to a 7.8 point reduction in the similarly-symptomatic placebo group.

“These study participants were far more symptomatic than other published trials involving omega-3 supplementation, allowing for additional analysis,” said Alison Ng, PhD, MCOptom, FAAO, CORE clinical scientist and the paper’s first author. “The Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society Dry Eye Workshop II (TFOS DEWS II) report recommended dietary supplementation with omega-3 as the first stage of management for dry eye disease. Our findings suggest that even the most severe sufferers can benefit from a meaningful improvement in symptoms with omega-3 and -6 supplementation.”

Approximately one in eleven people experience dry eye disease. Its prevalence is on the rise, owing to lifestyle changes including increased use of digital screens. Besides the impact on their daily activities, patients with dry eye disease may further experience changes to their vision and quality of life.

The paper’s authors recommend that future studies examine the effects of early dietary supplementation with omega-3 and -6 fatty acids in patients presenting with mild-to-moderate dry eye disease to understand potential benefits. They also advise that further research among highly symptomatic participants is warranted.

The study was supported by Nature’s Way of Canada.

# # #About the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE)
The Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) was established in 1988 at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science. Over the next three decades, the organization evolved from a three-person operation into a thriving hub of basic and applied research, collaborating with sponsors, agencies and academia on advanced biosciences, clinical research and education. Its uncompromising independence and results of the highest quality have been at the heart of many of the most prominent advances in eye health. Today, its approximately 50-person team serves a range of ophthalmic sectors, including medical devices, ocular pharmaceuticals, digital technology and others, with a focus on the anterior segment. For more information, please visit


Aimee J. Lewis or Mike McDougall, APR, Fellow PRSA, McDougall Communications for CORE +1.585.414.9838  | +1.585.545.1815