Effect of oral omega-3 Fatty Acid supplementation on contrast sensitivity in patients with moderate meibomian gland dysfunction: a prospective placebo-controlled study

Cornea. 2015 Jun;34(6):637-43. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000000446.


Purpose: To evaluate the effect of oral supplementation with omega-3 (ω-3) fatty acids (FAs) in improving contrast sensitivity (CS) of patients with moderate meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).

Methods: In this prospective study, 60 patients with moderate MGD were allocated alternately to treatment and control groups. Both groups received warm compresses, lid massage, and artificial tear substitutes. The treatment group also received oral supplements of 1.2 g ω-3 FAs per day. All parameters were recorded at baseline and at 12 weeks and included Ocular Surface Disease Index scores, CS testing at 3, 6, 12, and 18 cycles per degree (cpd), tear break-up time, Schirmer test I without anesthesia, corneal and conjunctival staining scores, and meibum quality and expressibility.

Results: At the end of 12 weeks, significant improvement in CS was seen in the treatment group in 7 of the 8 testing conditions (3, 6, 12, and 18 cpd photopic and 6, 12, and 18 cpd mesopic), whereas in the placebo group, significant improvement was seen only in 3 of the 8 testing conditions (3 cpd photopic, 6 and 18 cpd mesopic). Ocular Surface Disease Index, tear break-up time, ocular surface staining, and meibum quality and expressibility improved significantly in both groups, but more so in the treatment group. Schirmer scores showed no significant improvement in either group.

Conclusions: Oral supplementation with ω-3 FAs significantly improved CS under both photopic and mesopic testing conditions in patients with moderate MGD. Tear film stability also improved significantly, whereas no effect was seen on aqueous tear production.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Color Vision
  • Contrast Sensitivity / drug effects*
  • Eyelid Diseases / diagnosis
  • Eyelid Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meibomian Glands / drug effects*
  • Meibomian Glands / pathology
  • Mesopic Vision
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visual Acuity / physiology


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3