Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Center for Preventive Ophthalmology and Biostatistics (CPOB)

DRy Eye Evaluation And Management (DREAM)

The National Eye Institute has provided funds for planning the DRy Eye Evaluation And Management (DREAM) Study.  The DREAM Study will evaluate the efficacy and safety of omega 3 fatty acids compared to placebo in patients with mild to moderate dry eye disease (DED).

What is Dry Eye Disease and why is DREAM important?

Dry eye disease occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly, or when the tears produced are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly.  Tears are necessary for overall eye health and clear vision. Tears keep the surface of the eye moist and wash away debris.  They also help protect the eye from bacterial and other types of infections.

Dry eye can make it more difficult to perform some activities, such as using a computer or reading for an extended period of time, and it can decrease tolerance for dry environments.  Inflammation of the surface of the eye may occur with dry eye.  If left untreated, this condition can lead to chronic pain, scars on the cornea, and vision impairment.

Nearly five million Americans 50 years of age and older are estimated to have dry eye disease and tens of millions more have less severe symptoms.  Although highly prevalent, there are few options for patients beyond frequent administration of artificial tears.

Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to ameliorate inflammatory reactions, including those seen in DED.  There is increasing interest in using omega 3 fatty acids to treat DED, but no randomized clinical studies have tested the efficacy and safety supplementation.  The DREAM Study will test the hypothesis that oral use of omega 3 fatty acids reduces the symptoms of DED and will assess potential biomarkers for DED.

CPOB's Role in DREAM

CPOB staff is collaborating with a team of specialists in DED, nutrition, and immunologic disease to develop the protocol for a multicenter investigation of the efficacy and safety of omega 3 fatty acids for DED.