Researchers establish link between dry eye disease and dehydration

October 5, 2012, Bangor University

Dry eye disease (DED) is a condition which can cause extreme discomfort and lead to eye damage.  While difficult to establish the full costs of this condition to healthcare and society in the UK, it is estimated that current prescription treatments such as eye drops cost the NHS £32 million per year (in England alone).  Because many individuals suffering from DED self-treat by buying over-the-counter medications (e.g. artificial tears) the true cost of DED is likely to be significantly higher. This new link suggests that ensuring DED sufferers are fully hydrated could alleviate DED symptoms.

Prof. Neil Walsh of the School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences explained:  "We've been researching hydration in a number of groups of individuals, from athletes to the military. Having proven that a test for disease was effective in assessing hydration in normal healthy participants, it was a small step to turn the research on its head and wonder whether hydration was involved in dry eye disease. We were surprised to realise that no published research had investigated any connection between dry eye disease and hydration."

"From our work so far, we believe that hydration is involved in dry eye disease and believe that increasing fluid intake might reduce symptoms in patients with dry ."

A small scale trial with older in-patients at a hospital, who were admitted for other conditions but also had DED, showed that ensuring good hydration can ease the condition. There is now scope to extend this research and offer a cost effective means of reducing this uncomfortable and potentially damaging condition.

Getting older is often listed as one of the factors leading to DED. It is hardly surprising then, that this condition is most prevalent among older people, as older people are also often susceptible to being dehydrated. They often have medical conditions where the side effects of the medicines they take may lead to and DE.

Explore further: Scientists 'see' the early cellular cause of dry eye disease for the first time

Related Stories

Scientists 'see' the early cellular cause of dry eye disease for the first time

May 31, 2011
If you are one of the millions of people around the world who struggle with dry eye disease, good news is on the way. A new research discovery published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology offers hope for new drugs that treat ...

Caffeine use may offer relief for millions of dry eye sufferers

April 17, 2012
Researchers at the University of Tokyo's School of Medicine have shown for the first time that caffeine intake can significantly increase the eye's ability to produce tears, a finding that could improve treatment of dry eye ...

Recommended for you

Research finds new mechanism that can cause the spread of deadly infection

April 20, 2018
Scientists at the University of Birmingham have discovered a unique mechanism that drives the spread of a deadly infection.

Selection of a pyrethroid metabolic enzyme CYP9K1 by malaria control activities

April 20, 2018
Researchers from LSTM, with partners from a number of international institutions, have shown the rapid selection of a novel P450 enzyme leading to insecticide resistance in a major malaria vector.

Study predicts 2018 flu vaccine will have 20 percent efficacy

April 19, 2018
A Rice University study predicts that this fall's flu vaccine—a new H3N2 formulation for the first time since 2015—will likely have the same reduced efficacy against the dominant circulating strain of influenza A as the ...

Low-cost anti-hookworm drug boosts female farmers' physical fitness

April 19, 2018
Impoverished female farm workers infected with intestinal parasites known as hookworms saw significant improvements in physical fitness when they were treated with a low-cost deworming drug. The benefits were seen even in ...

Zika presents hot spots in brains of chicken embryos

April 19, 2018
Zika prefers certain "hot spots" in the brains of chicken embryos, offering insight into how brain development is affected by the virus.

Super-superbug clones invade Gulf States

April 18, 2018
A new wave of highly antibiotic resistant superbugs has been found in the Middle East Gulf States, discovered by University of Queensland researchers.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.