Omega-6 Fatty Acid Helps Relieve Dry Eyes For Contact Lens Users Study 2008

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of oral treatment with omega-6 fatty acids in the form of evening primrose oil (EPO) on subjective symptoms, ocular surface signs and tear film characteristic in patients with contact lens-associated dry eye.

A total of 76 female soft contact lens wearers were treated for six months either with EPO or placebo (olive oil). Subjects underwent three examinations (baseline, three and six months). At each examination, subjects were given a questionnaire relating to lens comfort and dry eye symptoms, and they underwent a series of tests of tear film characteristics (tear meniscus height, break-up time), meibomian gland function (lipid layer thickness and quality) and ocular surface parameters (hyperemia and staining).

The EPO group showed a significant improvement in the specific symptom of "dryness" at three and six months and also a significant improvement in overall lens comfort at six months. Tear meniscus height was increased in the EPO group at six months relative to baseline, although all other objective signs were unchanged. This study provides evidence for a beneficial effect of particular orally administered omega-6 fatty acids in alleviating dry eye symptoms and improving overall lens comfort in patients suffering from contact lens-associated dry eye.

SOURCE: Kokke KH, Morris JA, Lawrenson JG. Oral omega-6 essential fatty acid treatment in contact lens associated dry eye. Cont Lens Anterior Eye 2008;31(3):141-6.