Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are known to have numerous beneficial effects, owing to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. From a metabolic standpoint, the mitochondria play a fundamental role in cellular homeostasis, and oxidative stress can affect their functioning. Indeed, the mitochondria are the main source of ROS, and an imbalance between ROS and antioxidant defenses leads to oxidative stress. In addition, aging, the decline of cellular functions, and continual exposure to light underlie many diseases, particularly those of the eye. Long-term exposure to insults, such as UV light, visible light, ionizing radiation, chemotherapeutics, and environmental toxins, contribute to oxidative damage in ocular tissues and expose the aging eye to considerable risk of pathological consequences of oxidative stress. Ample antioxidant defenses responsible for scavenging free radicals are essential for redox homeostasis in the eye, indeed, eye tissues, starting from the tear film, which normally are exposed to high oxygen levels, have strong antioxidant defenses that are efficient for protecting against ROS-related injuries. On the contrary, instead, the trabecular meshwork is not directly exposed to light and its endothelial cells are poorly equipped with antioxidant defenses. All this makes the eye a target organ of oxidative damage. This review focuses on the role of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in the human eye, particularly in such pathologies as dry eye, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, in which dietary PUFA supplementation can be a valid therapeutic aid.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited