Credits: Piedmont Eyecare Associates

Breakthrough Study Finds a Treatment for Chronic Dry Eyes Disease

Dry eye syndrome is a condition in which the tears evaporate too rapidly, or the eyes do not produce many tears. It can affect both humans and animals. The dry eye disease can affect one or both eyes and it can lead to eye inflammation.

In the United States, dry eye disease includes the most common eye disorders. The treatment available for this disease does not work for everybody. Although the scientist does not know about the exact prevalence of this disease worldwide evaluations fluctuate from 5% to 34%.

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Dry eye disease causes severe eye pain sensitivity to light in most severe cases. The dry areas on the cornea due to dry eye disease can also produce scarring in many cases.

A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports finds an advance treatment for chronic diseases that causes severe dry mouth and dry eyes. This study is done by the researchers at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences. The research is done in collaboration with the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre and the Royal Victoria Eye.

A patient with dry eye syndrome can experience several symptoms including tearing, eye sensitivity to smoke or wind, difficult to keep eyes open, redness of the eyes, pain in eyes after reading, double vision, a feeling like sand in the eye, feeling soreness, dryness or grittiness in the eyes, and blurred vision.

Tear production decreases at the age of forty years or after this age. When its production falls to a certain point, the eyes can get dry and then easily irritated and inflamed. It happens more commonly in females, particularly after menopause potentially due to hormonal changes.

Reduced tear production can also be linked to a deficiency of vitamin A, radiation treatment, diabetes, autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma or lupus and refractive eye surgeries like laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) that increases the chance of dry eye disease.

In Sjögren’s Syndrome, the white blood cells of a patient attack the saliva glands and the body’s tear and cause severe dry eyes and dry mouth. The dry eyes affect the vision of patients, daily life activities, and quality of life.

This disease is more common between the ages of forty and sixty years. The women experience it nine times more than a man.

In this study, the samples from the eyes of patients with the disease were compared with the samples of the eyes of healthy people. It was found that patients with disease had abnormal levels of some molecules that control eye irritation.

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The working of a molecule, microRNA-744 is similar to a switch that turns the cells production off and on. The researchers found that the excess of this molecule causes uncontrolled measures of irritation from the cells that wreck the glands and harm the surface of the eye. In a lab setting, the researchers were successful in reducing microRNA-744 molecule which in turn reduced the inflammation levels.

The study’s co-author and lecturer at RCSI’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, Dr. Joan Ní Gabhann-Dromgoole tells that this is an initial move toward a potential new treatment, and substantially more pre-clinical testing is required before they can form it into something that is prepared for patients. However, this research gives the chance to treat the root cause of dry eye disease instead of only disease symptoms.

The researchers also compared the various levels of other microRNA molecules in patients’ cells to the healthy controls. This could help to diagnose Sjögren’s Syndrome patients. Right now, there is no test for this syndrome.


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