A Cure for Dry Eyes

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TearsGraphicResearchers at Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo might have discovered a cure for dry eyes. Placebos or supplements containing fish oil, lactoferrin, zinc, lutein, gamma aminobutanoic acid, and vitamins C and E were given to 40 volunteers between the ages of 22- and 59-years-old. Tear production was assessed in the volunteers at the start and at weeks four and eight.  In a second study, rats received the combined dietary supplement while dry eye was induced. Results showed that the supplements improved tear production in the rats as well as in the volunteers with confirmed dry eye.

Researches at Hallym University College of Medicine in Seoul report that low vitamin D status and inadequate sunlight exposure are associated with an increased risk for dry eye syndrome.

In Perspective: Itching, burning, irritation, redness and excessive tearing are all symptoms of one of the most common eye problems – dry eye syndrome. More than 10 million Americans suffer from dry eyes. This condition is usually caused by a problem with the quality of the oily tear film that lubricates the eyes and helps prevent evaporation of the eye’s natural moisture. However, one of the most common reasons for the eyes to be dry is aging.  The human body produces 60 percent less oil at age 65 then at age 18. And studies have found that this effect is more pronounced in women, especially during and following menopause, who tend to have drier skin than men. Without as much oil to seal the watery layer, the tear film evaporates much faster, leaving dry areas on the cornea.

Kawashima M, Nakamura S, Izuta Y, et al: Dietary supplementation with a combination of lactoferrin, fish oil, and enteroccocus faecium WB200 for treating dry eye. The Ocular Surface 2016; January 18th.

Yoon S, Bae S, Shin Y, et al: Low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels are associated with dry eye syndrome. PLoS One 2016;January 25th.

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