HOUSTON -- (November 5, 2010) -- Women over the age of 40 who are past menopause can take part in a research study evaluating omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil as a treatment for dry eye.

Dry eye is one of the most prevalent eye conditions in the United States, said Dr. Stephen Pflugfelder, professor of ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine and lead investigator of the BCM research site. Women who have passed menopause appear to have a predisposition for the condition, he said.

"Dietary intake of fish – especially tuna – has been proven to lower the incidence of dry eye in women," said Pflugfelder. "Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to improve dry eye symptoms."

Dry eye occurs when there is a lack of moisture or lubrication in the eye. Symptoms can include significant irritation, blurred vision and a great impact on quality of life, Pflugfelder said.

Working in a low humidity, draft environment or not eating enough fish or fish oil can contribute to the risk of this condition, Pflugfelder said.

Treatment can include over the counter artificial tears for mild conditions and custom-made contact lenses for the most severe conditions, Pflugfelder said.

To qualify, participants must:

  • Be a woman 40 years or older who has passed menopause.
  • Have dry eye symptoms.
  • Be in generally good and stable overall health and on a stable medication routine.
  • Not have had Lasik eye surgery within six months of taking part in the study.
  • Not wear contact lenses.
  • Not be involved in any other experimental drug or device studies.

Those who take part will visit the study clinic four times over a six-month period. The visits will include a screening visit and standard eye check-ups, tests and questionnaires.

For more information, please contact Margaret Olfson at or 713-798-8419.