Introduction: Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are involved in inflammatory pathways via prostaglandins. Conjunctival inflammation is a hallmark of all dry eye syndromes. We investigated the role of dietary n-6 and n-3 fatty acids in patients suffering from ocular dryness.
Patients and methods: Seventy-one patients presenting with mild to moderate dry eye syndromes were randomly assigned to Nutrilarm or placebo capsules, twice a day for 6 months. The Schirmer test, BUT, fluorescein staining, and lissamin green stainings were performed at inclusion and after 1, 3, and 6 months. Furthermore, a questionnaire related to the dry eye symptoms and global discomfort was provided at every visit.
Results: The Schirmer test, BUT, fluorescein staining, and lissamin green stainings were improved with treatment when compared to placebo but the difference was not statistically significant. The efficacy evaluated by the patients and the investigator were nearly significant (p=0.052 and p=0.054, respectively). For some signs, such as reflex tearing and conjunctival hyperemia, the improvement reached the threshold of significance (p=0.047 and p=0.045, respectively). The same results were found with skin quality and emotional condition, which were improved (61% with treatment versus 36% with placebo).
Conclusion: This double-masked pilot study shows that PUFAs seem to be an interesting tool to alleviate the symptoms related to dry eye syndrome. These results should be confirmed using a larger study population.