Protecting dry eye disease patients from corneal injury

Studies in mice have identified proteins that could help to prevent and treat corneal injuries in patients with dry eye disease

woman working a in lab
Pixabay/Michal Jarmoluk

A new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine provides insight on protecting dry eye patients from corneal injury.

The research, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, highlighted that patients with dry eye disease are more susceptible to injury of the cornea due to tear deficiency.

Scientists analysed the genes expressed by the cornea in mouse models of dry eye disease, as well as diabetes, ageing and homeostasis.

They found that in mice with dry eye disease, the cornea activated expression of the SPARC gene. Higher levels of the SPARC protein were connected with improved corneal healing.

Senior investigator, Rajendra Apte, highlighted that the study identified potential targets for treatment.

“Tens of millions of people around the world — with an estimated 15 million in the US alone — endure eye pain and blurred vision as a result of complications and injury associated with dry eye disease, and by targeting these proteins, we may be able to more successfully treat or even prevent those injuries,” he said.