How Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Fit Into Future Ophthalmic Care Recommendations

May 2, 2022
Kevin Kunzmann

One researcher suggests the supplement may serve as an add-on measurement against AMD progression in early-stage patients.

The utility of fish oil supplements in clinical outcomes is generally still exploratory—and sometimes contentiously discussed. In the case of omega-3 fatty acids in treating chronic retina disease, one international group is steadily building on promising research and is hoping for more robust study opportunities.

In the last segment of an interview with HCPLive during the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2022 Meeting this week, investigator Katerina Prokopiou, PhD, research associate at Ophthalmos Research and Educational Institute, Nicosia, Cyprus and assistant professor in pharmacology at the University of Nicosia Medical School, discussed the prospect of eventually implementing omega-3 fatty acid supplements in management and prevention plans for patients with age-related macular degeneration.

“I believe that this could happen,” Prokopiou said. “If larger studies happen and they’re designed properly, of course if these results are confirmed—and I believe they are going to be confirmed—then why not adding these types of supplements to the guideline of managing these conditions?”

Prokopiou highlighted the product’s accessibility and cost-effectiveness relative to AMD’s standard-care intravitreal injection therapy—as well as the lack of clinical contraindications for omega-3 fatty acids. She anticipated—dependent on robust clinical outcome data—it could become a guideline-directed add-on treatment for patients with chronic retina disease without needing to undergo federal authority regulation processes.

On the subject of treatment timing, Prokopiou expressed interest in seeing the supplement used almost as a prophylaxis for patients with very early-stage disease.

“I think it could be considered as a preventive measurement,” she said. “The earlier that you use it, the more benefit that you’re going to have, and this is something that the clinicians see in the clinic: the earlier the stage and more mild the disease, the better the outcome.”

And in discussing next steps, Prokopiou hoped to establish further research funding in order to pursue greater outcomes across a more robust population, such as that in the US.


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