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Dietary fat intake linked to dry eye syndrome in women

findings:

  • Women with the highest levels of omega 3 in their diets reduced their risk of dry eye syndrome by 20 percent compared to women with the lowest levels of this fat in their diet.
  • A dietary ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 greater than 15:1 was associated with a 2.5-fold increased risk of dry eye syndrome in women. Currently, the average American diet consists of a similarly high ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Tuna consumption reduced the risk of dry eye syndrome. Women who reported eating at least five servings of tuna per week had a 68 percent reduced risk of dry eye syndrome compared to women who consumed one serving per week.
  • Other fish types that have lower levels of omega 3 fatty acids did not appear to protect against dry eye syndrome.

"We are accustomed to the mantra 'you are what you eat' and our study suggests that this also applies to a person's vision," said Debra Schaumberg, ScD, OD, MPH, the senior author of the study, clinical associate scientist at SERI, and associate epidemiologist at BWH. "Based on this report, preventing dry eye syndrome is another potential reason to follow a diet rich in tuna and other foods plentiful in omega 3 fatty acids."

These findings are based on surveys completed by more than 37,000 women enrolled in the landmark, BWH-based Women's Health Study. Survey questions were designed to elicit information about an individual's history of diagnosed dry eye syndrome and dietary habits.


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Contact: Patti Jacobs
pjacobs12@comcast.net
617-864-2712
Schepens Eye Research Institute
19-Oct-2005


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