Researchers establish link between dry eye disease and dehydration

October 5, 2012

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

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

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.