Question & Answer

Does taking Omega 3 or 6 supplements help with dry eyes?

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The Evidence

  • ‘Dry eye’ is a condition where your eyes don’t produce enough moisture (in the form of tears) to stay wet, or when the tears aren’t functioning properly. This can lead to discomfort in your eyes and, in certain situations, it may also affect your vision. Dry eyes can result from a variety of causes.
  • Omega‐3 and Omega‐6 supplements are often used as a treatment for dry eye.
  • We looked for studies to explore whether, or not, taking Omega-3 or Omega-6 supplements helps with dry-eye symptoms.
  • We found six systematic reviews on the effect of Omega-3 or Omega-6 supplements in dry eyes. In most cases, the studies focused on Omega-3 supplements.
  • A Cochrane Systematic Review conducted in 2019 considered 34 trials and concluded that there is a possible role for Omega-3 supplementation in managing dry eye. However, these findings are inconsistent and uncertain.
  • Three systematic reviews conducted in 2022, 2019, and 2014 concluded that omega-3 supplementation improves the symptoms in patients with dry-eye disease.
  • However, a systematic review conducted in 2017 concluded that scientific evidence is not strong enough to recommend the use of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids as a standalone treatment of dry eyes.
  • Overall, while most of the studies found Omega-3 supplements could play a role in improving dry eyes, this evidence is not consistent.

Guidelines and recommendations

  • We searched several national and international organisations including WHO, CDC, ECDC, HSE, and HSPC for related guidelines and recommendations.
  • We did not find any guidelines or recommendations on the use of Omega-3 supplements in improving dry eyes.


Things to Remember

  • Just because one study shows that people who got a treatment did better or worse than those who did not, does not mean it’s the final answer.
  • If someone gets better after a treatment, it does not necessarily or always mean that the treatment made them better.
  • We can rarely be 100% certain about any claim.


  • Lead Researcher: Dr. KM Saif-Ur-Rahman, Senior Research Methodologist, Evidence Synthesis Ireland and Cochrane Ireland, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Galway
  • Reviewed by: Dr. Paula Byrne, Senior post-doctoral researcher, iHealthFacts, Evidence Synthesis Ireland and Cochrane Ireland, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Galway.
  • Topic advisor: Prof. Emma Wallace, Professor of General Practice, Dept of General Practice, University College Cork & General Practitioner, Parklands Surgery, Commons Road, Cork.
  • Public and Patient advisor: Deirdre Mac Loughlin, Public and Patient Involvement in research (PPI) advisor, PPI Ignite, University of Galway.
  • Journalist Advisor: Dr. Claire O’Connell, PhD in cell biology, Masters in Science Communication. Contributor to The Irish Times, writing about health, science and innovation.

Conflict of Interest Statement: The authors have no financial or other conflicts of interest for this health claim summary.