Dry eye is a common condition that can severely impair the quality of life. We aimed to find out whether oral sea buckthorn (SB) oil, containing (n-3) and (n-6) fatty acids and antioxidants, affects dry eye. In this double-blind, randomized, parallel trial, 20- to 75-y-old women and men experiencing dry eye symptoms consumed 2 g of SB or placebo oil daily for 3 mo from fall to winter. One hundred participants were recruited and 86 completed the study. Clinical dry eye tests and symptom follow-ups were performed. Tear film hyperosmolarity is a focal factor in dry eye. There was a general increase in the osmolarity from baseline to the end of the intervention. Compared with the placebo group, the increase was significantly less in the SB group when all participants were included [intention to treat (ITT), P = 0.04] and when only participants consuming the study products for at least 80% of the intervention days were included [per protocol (PP), P = 0.02]. The maximum intensities of redness and burning tended to be lower in the SB group. In the ITT participants, the group difference was significant for redness (P = 0.04) but not for burning (P = 0.05). In the PP participants, the group difference was significant for burning (P = 0.04) but not for redness (P = 0.11). In conclusion, SB oil attenuated the increase in tear film osmolarity during the cold season and positively affected the dry eye symptoms.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00739713.