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Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements and Dry Eye

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01213342
Recruitment Status : Terminated (Researchers left institution)
First Posted : October 4, 2010
Last Update Posted : March 20, 2012
Information provided by:

Study Description
Brief Summary:
Omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with a decline in inflammation. As dry eye disease is associated with inflammation of the ocular surface (DEWS report, Ocular Surface, 2007), the investigators hypothesize that the omega-3 fatty acid supplements used in this study will help to improve dry eye signs, such as eye surface irritation (staining) and tear film osmolarity, which is an overall measure of tear film stability and dry eye status. Further, the investigators hypothesize that dry eye symptoms, the end result of dry eye disease, such as discomfort and burning, will also improve with supplementation.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment
Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca Dietary Supplement: Omega-3 Fatty Acid Dietary Supplement: Soybean Soft Gels

Detailed Description:

Dry Eye is a disorder of the tear film due to tear deficiency or excessive tear evaporation which causes damage to the exposed ocular surface and is associated with symptoms of ocular discomfort. If left untreated, severe dry eyes can lead to desiccation of the corneal epithelium, increased discomfort and sometimes loss of vision. Abundant evidence from animal models and clinical evaluations confirm that inflammation is an integral part of all moderate and severe Dry Eye Disease (DED) states and is likely to be significant in the pathogenesis leading to the chronicity of DED. Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects and inhibit multiple aspects of inflammatory response.

DED is a common and growing problem as our population ages, causing chronic pain and visual disturbance that is not adequately treated with current approaches. If left untreated, severe dry eyes can lead to desiccation of the corneal epithelium, increased discomfort and sometimes loss of vision.The benefits are the possibility of alleviating or eliminating these symptoms of DED and the clinical data that will be gained on the safety and efficacy of omega-3s, which are already being marketed over-the-counter for the treatment of DED without any hard scientific data. The potential benefits of treatment outweigh the minimal risk of participation.

This study hopes to discover more about the efficacy and tolerability of omega-3 EFA's in the treatment of dry eye and ocular surface disease.

Study Design

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 35 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double (Participant, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation and Dry Eye
Study Start Date : May 2010
Primary Completion Date : July 2011
Study Completion Date : July 2011

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U.S. FDA Resources

Arms and Interventions

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Treatment Group
This group will receive Omega-3 EFA supplements for 8 weeks. They will take 4 capsules/day.
Dietary Supplement: Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Each patient will be instructed to take 4 soft gel capsules per day (2 with the morning meal and 2 with the evening meal). They will continue this regimen for 8 weeks. The total daily amount included in 4 soft gels includes:

  • EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) 1300mg
  • DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) 900 mg
  • Other Omega-3's 360mg
  • Total Omega 3's 2560 mg
Other Names:
  • Fish Oil Soft Gels
  • ProOmega
Placebo Comparator: Placebo Group
This group will receive placebo supplements for 8 weeks. They will take 4 capsules a day.
Dietary Supplement: Soybean Soft Gels
Each patient will be instructed to take 4 soft gel capsules per day (2 with the morning meal and 2 with the evening meal. The main ingredient in the placebos is soybean oil (95.6%).
Other Name: Placebo Soft Gels

Outcome Measures

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) [ Time Frame: Baseline, 4 weeks into treatment, 8 weeks into treatment ]
    Based on previous unpublished work by our group (and others), it is suggestive that a 10 unit change in OSDI score may be clinically meaningful. There currently is no accepted survey instrument to monitor change in DED clinical trials, although the OSDI has wide acceptance clinically. This study will help define what unit of change may be clinically and statistically acceptable for future trials.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Changes in Osmolarity (TearLab) value [ Time Frame: Baseline, 4 weeks, 12 weeks ]
    The TearLab also has limited use in DED clinical trials. Our best estimate of a clinically meaningful change is 7 mOsm/kg (reported dry eye, 315mOsm/kg - reported normal, 308 mOsm/kg). Again, as this has never been assessed, these results here are pilot in nature.

  2. Changes in Staining scores [ Time Frame: Baseline, 4 weeks, 8 weeks ]
    Changes in average staining scores (average of 5 corneal regions; 6 conjunctival regions) and sum staining scores will be evaluated.

  3. Changes in Tear proteomics [ Time Frame: Baseline, 4 weeks, 8 weeks ]
    This portion of the study is exploratory in nature. iTRAQ proteomics using mass spectrometry and RayBiotech quantibody microarrays will be used evaluate changes in inflammatory mediators for future biomarker search and pathway analysis.

Eligibility Criteria

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Each qualified participant will have an eye doctor's diagnosis of dry eye disease.
  • Answers to both questions: "How often do your eyes feel dry, how often do your eyes feel irritated" will either be "Often or Constant." (Schaumberg)
  • ≥ 18 years of age
  • The current use of artificial tears at least one time per week.
  • Be willing/able to return for all study visits and to follow instructions from the study investigator and his/her staff.
  • Stable dosage for one month time of all ocular medications and systemic medications (includes Restasis).
  • Be able to swallow large, soft gels.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patients who are allergic to ingredients of the treatment or placebo soft gels (fish, soybean oil, citrus).
  • Current diagnosis of ocular infection (e.g. bacterial, viral or fungal).
  • History of ocular herpetic keratitis.
  • Past or current history of liver disease.
  • Current use of blood thinners.
  • Eye surgery (including cataract surgery) within 6 months prior to randomization.
  • Previous LASIK surgery.
  • Pregnant or nursing/lactating.
  • Participation in a study of an investigational drug or device within the past 30 days.
  • Cognitive or psychiatric deficit that precludes informed consent or ability to perform requirements of the investigation.
  • Changes in ocular or systemic medications in the past 30 days.
  • Contact lens wearers.
  • Glaucoma diagnosis and/or use of glaucoma medications.
  • Current use of punctual plugs.
  • Current use of EPA/DHA supplements in excess of 1 gram/day.
  • Use of ocular steroids currently or in the past 7 days.
  • Patients planning on changing dosage of eye medications during the study.
  • Patients who have an allergy to fluorescein.
  • Patients who take aspirin daily.
Contacts and Locations

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT01213342

United States, Ohio
The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Columbus, Ohio, United States, 43210
Sponsors and Collaborators
Ohio State University
Nordic Naturals
Principal Investigator: Kelly K Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD The Ohio State University College of Optometry
More Information

Responsible Party: Kelly K. Nichols, Principal Investigator/Associate Professor, The Ohio State University, College of Optometry
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01213342     History of Changes
Obsolete Identifiers: NCT01131338
Other Study ID Numbers: 2010H0014
First Posted: October 4, 2010    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: March 20, 2012
Last Verified: March 2012

Keywords provided by Ohio State University:
dry eye disease

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
Dry Eye Syndromes
Conjunctival Diseases
Eye Diseases
Corneal Diseases
Lacrimal Apparatus Diseases