Dry eye disease (DED) is a multifactorial disease of the ocular surface, which is characterised by a loss of homeostasis of the tear film. Ocular symptoms include film instability, hyperosmolarity, surface inflammation, neurosensory abnormalities, and other damage. Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) have concluded that the core drivers for DED are tear hyperosmolarity and tear instability, and it primarily affects women and the elderly.
According to Dr. Lemp, most patients develop dry eye over time:
“There are two basic subtypes of the disease. One is an aqueous tear-deficient dry eye, and the other is evaporative dry eye, where the tears evaporate abnormally rapidly. The latter can be a result of meibomian gland dysfunction or other ocular surface or lid problems,”
Currently, there are no cures for DED. However, Mesenchymal stem cells lacrimal-gland stem cells and Lubricin protein trials, a well as low-dose of corticosteroid drops are promising to eventually find a cure for DED and other ocular diseases. Stem cell therapy treatment is at an early-stage, and the future could be eventually using a patient’s stem cells to rebuild or replace tear-producing lacrimal glands, for example.
Dr. Pflugfelder is hopeful for a cure:
“I hope there will be a cure for dry eye, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen immediately,” he explains. “It’s probably going to take a while, because cell-based therapies, such as stem-cell treatments, are complex. But, I do think it will eventually happen.”
Treatments relieve the symptoms to stop the vicious circle of the disease. It also prevents chronicity and progression of the disease. Artificial tears increase the moisture of the ocular surface, thereby reducing ocular drying and inflammation to give patients less discomfort. Artificial tears with low-viscosity are lighter and more watery, which provide short-term soothing relief when used frequently. Solutions with high-viscosity are more gel-like, heavier and less watery. Unlike low viscosity, high-viscosity artificial tears are longer-lasting but can also cause temporary blurred vision. This is why it should be used for night-time or bedtime use only.
Using steroids to treat DED is common to managing regular ocular inflammation as its an aggressive treatment, however, long-term use of steroids is not recommended due to the side effects. This can include diabetes, depression, insomnia, osteoporosis, hypertension, gastritis, facial distortion, aseptic necrosis of the hip, skin thinning and weight gain.
Right now, there are no cures for DED, but we can manage its symptoms and prevent further damage from occurring.
Check out our low and high-viscosity eye drops: