Smoke gets in your dry eye

A selenium-containing compound shows promise in treating dry eye disease caused by the environment

Eye drops and packaging

Boosting the selenium on the ocular surface could help to de-stress the eye after ultraviolet (UV), tobacco smoke and chemical compound exposure, which sometimes leads to dry eye, according to a new study.

The Japanese researchers behind this finding had previously discovered that a protein containing selenium is produced by the eye, but is found at much lower levels in patients with dry eye.

In response, they created an eye-drop solution containing a lactoferrin protein with selenium attached, to supply the nutrient to the surface of the cornea.

The drops were found to significantly reduce the development of dry eye after tobacco smoke exposure, in several animal studies published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The selenium-lactoferrin drops did not irritate the eye, and the authors concluded that the solution is “an excellent candidate for treatment of dry eye” as it targets the oxidative stress caused by environmental factors such as tobacco smoke, UV exposure and chemical compounds.

Image credit: Lynn Greyling