The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog

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Study: Some artificial tears more than palliative?

This little tidbit in Experimental Eye Research suggests some doctors are thinking some OTC drops could actually be therapeutic, and they're proposing a theory of how they might be promoting eye surface healing. Hm. I don't know about the theory, but I sure find the highlighted parts of the abstract appealing; to which I'll add: AND OTC!! When the patient can't afford the co-pay, compliance sure takes a dive don't it.

Activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor by hydrogels in artificial tears.
Lozano JS, Chay EY, Healey J, Sullenberger R, Klarlund JK.
Exp Eye Res. 2007 Dec 23

Most formulations of artificial tears include high-molecular weight hydrophilic polymers (hydrogels) that are usually thought to serve to enhance viscosity and to act as demulcents. A few reports have indicated that application of some of the polymers accelerates healing of wounds in epithelia. Since activation of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor is critical for spontaneous corneal epithelial wound healing, we tested commonly used hydrogels for their ability to activate the EGF receptor and enhance closure of wounds. Five structurally unrelated hydrogels used in artificial tears were found to activate the EGF receptor. Importantly, two of the hydrogels enhanced wound healing in an organ culture model. We propose that the efficacy of hydrogels in treating dry eye may be related to their ability to activate the EGF receptor, and that hydrogels are inexpensive, safe agents to promote healing of wounds in the cornea and possibly in other tissues.
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