The Effects of Dietary Supplementation With Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Symptoms of Dry Eye

The Effects of Dietary Supplementation With a Combination of Flaxseed Oil, Borage Oil and Fish Oil Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Ocular Comfort Including Symptoms of Dry Eye


Lead Sponsor: The University of New South Wales

Source The University of New South Wales
Brief Summary

The aim of this study is to compare ocular symptoms and signs when the test nutraceutical formulation (combination of flaxseed oil, borage oil and fish oil omega-3 fatty acids) is consumed daily over a 3 month period, with a control capsule that contains polyethylene glycol (PEG), oleic acid and propylene glycol, which are found in many pharmaceutical products and are generally considered to be biologically inert and safe. There is good evidence that the consumption of oily fish has a protective effect against dry eye, and other studies have provided evidence of the beneficial effect of supplementation with omega-3 essential fatty acids in the treatment of dry eye disease. However, there have been limited well designed clinical trials investigating the potential for nutraceutical dietary supplementation to impact ocular comfort. To date, no controlled, randomised clinical trials have been conducted to evaluate the test nutraceutical formulation. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to conduct a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-masked study to investigate the effects of dietary supplementation with a combination of flaxseed oil, borage oil and fish oil omega-3 fatty acids on ocular comfort including signs and symptoms of dry eye.

Detailed Description

This study will be a prospective, randomised, placebo-controlled, double masked study conducted over a 3-month period. One hundred and thirty-eight (138) participants who meet the inclusion / exclusion criteria and give informed consent will be randomised to either the test capsules containing a combination of flaxseed oil, borage oil and fish oil omega-3 fatty acids or placebo capsules, identical in appearance, containing polyethylene glycol, oleic acid and propylene glycol (found in many pharmaceutical products and considered to be biologically inert and safe) to be taken by mouth three times daily for 40 days, and then twice daily thereafter for approximately 50 days. Every effort will be made to stratify enrolment by disease severity to ensure participants with mild, moderate and severe dry eye are represented in the study population. Stratification will be in a 2:2:1 fashion i.e. OSDI score >12 (55 participants), OSDI score >20 (55 participants) and OSDI score >45 (28 participants). Participants will be stratified according to dry eye severity prior to randomisation. There will be a total of 3 scheduled study visits over a period of approximately 3 months - Day 1, 1 month and 3 months. Ocular comfort and symptoms of dry eye will be assessed via questionnaires. The tear film and ocular surface will be assessed using specialised instruments including the slit lamp biomicroscope, Lipiview Ocular Surface Interferometer, Vapometer and Oculus Keratograph 5M, and stains. Safety will be assessed through measurement of vision, ocular redness and evaluation of the ocular surface using the slit lamp biomicroscope. Those participants who meet the eligibility criteria will be randomly allocated to either the test or control capsules. An adequate supply of capsules will be dispensed to last until the next Participants will be instructed to ingest one capsule three times daily with meals for 40 days, and then two times daily until their final 3 month study visit.

Overall Status Completed
Start Date 2017-08-21
Completion Date 2018-10-19
Primary Completion Date 2018-10-19
Phase N/A
Study Type Interventional
Primary Outcome
Measure Time Frame
Subjective Ocular Symptoms 3 months
Subjective Ocular Comfort 3 months
Subjective Ocular Dryness 3 months
Secondary Outcome
Measure Time Frame
Non-invasive Tear Film Break-up Time 3 months
Tear Evaporation Rate 3 months
Tear Meniscus Height 3 months
Tear Volume 3 months
Tear Film Lipid Layer Thickness 3 months
Enrollment 119

Intervention Type: Dietary Supplement

Intervention Name: Supplement

Description: Concentrated Omega-3 Triglycerides-fish 332 mg Equiv. Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) 134 mg Equiv. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) 66.8 mg Flax Seed Oil (Linseed Oil) 334 mg Equiv. Oleic acid 58.5 mg Equiv. Linoleic acid 58.5 mg Equiv. Linolenic acid 192 mg Borago officinalis seed oil fixed (Borage) 434 mg Equiv. gamma-Linolenic acid 95.5 mg

Arm Group Label: Supplement

Intervention Type: Dietary Supplement

Intervention Name: Placebo

Description: polyethylene glycol (500mg), oleic acid (659mg) and propylene glycol (115mg)

Arm Group Label: Placebo



Inclusion Criteria: - Able to read and comprehend English and give informed consent as demonstrated by signing a record of informed consent; - Be at least 18 years old; - Have symptoms of ocular discomfort as measured with the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) score of >12 at the Baseline visit; - Willing to comply with the dosage and study visit schedule as directed by the investigator; - No contact lens wear in the last 30 days and willing to refrain from contact lens wear for the duration of the study; - No planned changes to diet and willing not to substantially alter their usual diet for the duration of the study, including their typical intake of fish; - Willingness to notify the study investigator if instructed to alter their diet by health/medical practitioner; - Willing to continue using any artificial tear supplements at the same frequency throughout the study, as used prior to the study - Have health and ocular health findings which would not prevent the participant from safely ingesting dietary supplementation with combination omega oils Exclusion Criteria: - Any systemic disease that would preclude participants from safely ingesting dietary supplementation with combination omega oils; - Self-reported allergy/sensitivity to any of the study product ingredients; - Use of any polyunsaturated fatty acid-containing dietary supplements (such as fish oil, evening primrose oil, linseed oil) up to 12 weeks prior to the start of the study; - Use of any of the following medications (including steroids) up to 12 weeks prior to start of the study or during the course of the study: - Ocular medication, category S3 and above; - Any systemic or topical medications that will affect ocular physiology e.g. anti-acne medications such as Roaccutane and corticosteroid or immunosuppressant medications such as Hydrocortisone, Prednisolone and antihistamine medications such as Claritine; - Any systemic disease that may affect ocular health e.g. Graves disease, and auto-immune diseases such as ankolysing spondylitis, multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosis; - Epilepsy or history of migraines exacerbated by flashing, strobe-like lights; - Eye surgery within 6 months immediately prior to enrolment for this study; - Rigid or soft contact lens wearer, including orthokeratology in the last 30 days; - Previous corneal refractive surgery; - Pregnancy or breastfeeding.



Minimum Age:

18 Years

Maximum Age:

100 Years

Healthy Volunteers:


Overall Official
Last Name Role Affiliation
Jacqueline Tan-Showyin, PhD Principal Investigator University of New South Wales
Facility: School of Optometry and Vision Science
Location Countries


Verification Date


Responsible Party

Type: Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation: The University of New South Wales

Investigator Full Name: Jacqueline Tan-Showyin

Investigator Title: Senior Research Fellow

Has Expanded Access No
Condition Browse
Number Of Arms 2
Arm Group

Label: Supplement

Type: Experimental

Description: Combination of flaxseed oil, borage oil and fish oil omega-3 fatty acids

Label: Placebo

Type: Placebo Comparator

Description: Polyethylene glycol, Oleic acid, Propylene glycol

Patient Data No
Study Design Info

Allocation: Randomized

Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment

Primary Purpose: Treatment

Masking: Double (Participant, Investigator)

Masking Description: Double masked

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