Omega-3 fatty acids in prevention of diabetic retinopathy

J Pharm Pharmacol. 2017 Aug;69(8):946-954. doi: 10.1111/jphp.12744. Epub 2017 May 8.


Objectives: To review the competence of Omega-3 fatty acids in restricting the progression, thereby leading to prevention of diabetic retinopathy.

Key findings: Owing to their anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic properties, Omega-3 fatty acids alleviate major aetiological agents. These fatty acids are renowned for their beneficial effects in various cardiovascular and other disorders; however, their potential to prevent the progression of diabetic retinopathy remains least explored.

Summary: Utilizing this potential, we may develop effective prophylactic agents which markedly inhibit the advent of retinal angiogenesis and prevent the apoptosis of retinal endothelial and neuronal cells, thereby averting retinal degeneration, hence safeguarding diabetic patients from this sight-threatening complication.

Keywords: alpha-linolenic acid; angiogenesis; eicosapentaenoic acid; inflammation; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / pathology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / metabolism*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / pathology
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacology
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / pharmacology
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid / pharmacology
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid / therapeutic use


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid