The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Study: The age factor in dry eye

Ahhhh one of my favorite journals - I love when a new issue of IOVS comes out with lots of dry eye goodies. 

This is quite interesting, because most, but not all, of the dry eye related lab testing in this study correlated with increased age, BUT the OSDI (i.e. symptom scores) did not.

Those of you who worry about "My eyes are so bad now, and it's only worse from here as I age, right?"... bear in mind, it's nowhere near that simple. At the end of the day, symptoms rule, and even if dry eye testing looks worse, it's never a foregone conclusion that you will actually feel worse.

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2018 Apr 1;59(5):2024-2031. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-23358.
Age-Related Changes to Human Tear Composition.
Micera, Di Zazzo, Esposito, Longo, Foulsham, Sacco, Sgrulletta, Bonini S

We characterize age-associated alterations in the expression of inflammatory mediators and tissue remodeling factors in human tears.

A total of 75 consecutive volunteers (32 male/44 female; 19-93 years) underwent clinical assessment of ocular surface status, ocular surface disease index (OSDI) grading and tear sampling. The volunteers were categorized into three groups: young (18-40 years), middle-aged (41-60 years), and old (>60 years). Total protein profiles and chip-based protein array evaluations were conducted to investigate the expression of 60 potential candidates, including pro-/anti-inflammatory mediators and tissue remodeling factors. Appropriate validations were performed using conventional assays. Multiple comparisons for regression between potential candidates and age were performed, as well as statistical analyses among the three age groups. Nonpooled samples were used for quantifications.

Pearson analysis of chip-arrays identified 9 of 60 potential candidates. Specifically, IL-8, IL-6, and regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES; P < 0.0083) protein as well as matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1, IL-3, and TNF-α (P < 0.05) correlated positively with aging. MIP-3β showed an opposite tendency. Western blot and ELISA analysis corroborated the array data. OSDI grading did not correlate with aging.

Dynamic changes to tear protein profiles occur with aging. Our study identifies the expression of IL-8, IL-6, RANTES, MMP-1, and MIP-3β as increasing with age. These select inflammatory and matrix remodeling factors may be relevant to the development of novel diagnostic tools and therapeutics in the context of age-related ocular surface disease.