• Written By: Jennifer Li, MD
    Cornea/External Disease

    This cross-sectional study found that the Mediterranean diet was not associated with a beneficial effect on dry eye syndrome.

    In fact, the authors found that adherence to this dietary pattern was associated with an increased risk of having dry eye and increased disease severity. Higher vitamin D levels, on the other hand, had a slightly positive effect on dry eye symptoms, but this was likely not clinically significant.

    Over the past several decades, the Mediterranean diet has been promoted as helping to decrease systemic inflammation. The diet is comprised of a high intake of fruits, vegetables, monounsaturated fats, fish, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Previous studies have demonstrated a protective effect of this diet against coronary artery disease and diabetes, and lower levels of systemic inflammatory markers. Similarly, vitamin D is thought to help modulate immune function and decrease inflammation.

    The study included 247 men ranging in age from 55 to 95 years. Participants filled out a validated 2005 Block Food Frequency Questionnaire and five-item Dry Eye Questionnaire. Tear film parameters were measured, in addition to serum levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D.

    The study also did not demonstrate a positive effect of omega-3 intake in both food and supplements on dry eye syndrome.