Research: JALBERT,School of Optometry and Vision Science,

Listed in Issue 244


JALBERT,School of Optometry and Vision Science, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, UNSW 2052, Australia. reviewed the published literature regarding associations between diet, nutraceuticals and tear film health (dry eye).


Nutrition disorders and their correlates such as obesity are increasingly prevalent worldwide. A number of studies to date have suggested numerous potential associations between diet and tear film health; this paper will provide a summary of the available literature.


The tear film is characterized through its protein and lipid content and through clinical measurements of characteristics such as osmolarity, volume and stability. Malnutrition, protein and vitamin-A deficiencies are extremely deleterious to tear film health and supplementation with oral vitamin A in this setting is of clear benefit. The relative impact of diet on tear film within what would be considered normal ranges of consumption is less clear.


A number of population studies have suggested that hyperlipidaemia and a diet low in omega-3 fatty acids are risks factor for dry eye disease. Numerous studies have investigated the effectiveness of oral supplementation with antioxidants, omega-3 (e.g. fish oil and linseed oil) and omega-6 (e.g. evening primrose oil) fatty acids in the last 10 years. Taken together, these suggest a small benefit of oral supplementation on tear film volume, stability and decreased ocular symptoms in patients previously diagnosed with diseases involving the ocular surface (e.g. Sjögren's syndrome, meibomian gland dysfunction, dry eye disease) and contact lens wearers suffering from dry eye.


More research is required to determine the exact composition, dosage and indications for their use and to fully characterize how these nutraceuticals modulate the tear film.


Jalbert I. Diet, nutraceuticals and the tear film. Exp Eye Res. 117:138-46. Dec 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2013.08.016. Epub Sep 3 2013.

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