The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog

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ARVO Tuesday posters

From beagles to boxers

There is so much excitement and buzz around the scientific posters. A ton of fun.

One of the things I found myself noticing while strolling through the poster aisles Tuesday morning was… it’s a bit of a zoo. So many animals on these posters. In dry eye, most of the experiments are done on mice. But Tuesday, I saw rabbits, pigs, tree shrews and even chickens as well. Thankfully for my sanity, not all animal mentions were about animal experimentation. There were quite a lot of dog studies, mostly about canine glaucoma.

A poster about boxers caught my eye - because I had just been looking at one about beagles. But this was about the sport, not the dogs. They wanted to look at contact sports and how they might relate to dry eye, and chose boxers, looking at differences in the tear film of boxers with a history of traumatic brain injuries. You get the picture. It’s fascinating to me how all these researchers come up with the questions that they decide they want to find the answers to.

Sorry I don’t have visuals to share. But just to give you an idea…. You probably know what a big exhibit hall floor is like. Overwhelming: a gajillion booths all vying for your attention as the most relevant, exciting content. That’s what it will be like when I get to ASCRS in a couple of days.

At ARVO, it’s a completely different beast. The enormous hall is dominated by huge sections at both ends devoted entirely to scientific posters. All of the exhibitor booths - relatively small in number, and all related to research in some way or another - are squished into the middle section.

This reflects perfectly how different ARVO is from other medical events. It’s dominated by scientific research, beginning to end. Everything that isn’t about science itself is about funding science and facilitating science and equipping science and supporting science and publishing science and, most of all, connecting scientists.

Silk?

I came across four different mentions of silk in relation to the cornea… one was in a presentation, and the other 3 were posters. They were mostly about healing the cornea surface.

Limbal stem cell deficiency

Every now and then I’ll come across an abstract that focuses on finding practical low-cost ways to bring much needed therapies to the people who need them most. I love these. This is what it’s all about… how do you help the real people? There was one like that at GSLS about scleral lenses in some developing countries..

Anyway, the one that prompted this reflection was an abstract about a lost cost process by which small labs can do work that is compliant with regulatory authorities… specifically for LSCD.

Lipids and lipids

Apparently not all lipids are created equal. A tree shrew study looked at which lipids, specifically, are most responsible for tear evaporation.

Speaking of tear evaporation

Another study looked at the dynamics of tear evaporation and pointed out some assumptions often made that may be wrong. They studied how tear evaporation happens… because evaporation is NOT evenly distributed across the entire tear ilm.

Then there were two more posters digging into specifics of how tear film break-up happens. And, can proteins reduce evaporation? And another with molecular dynamic simulations to model the lipid layer. It just goes on and on. So cool.

Plugs and biofilm

I vaguely remember blogging about a study published about this not long ago by the same authors so I imagine it was from the same research (comparing biofilm on three plug brands).

Parkinsons

I wrote on Monday about biomarkers for Alzheimers… one of the posters Tuesday looked into tear film biomarkers for Parkinsons. Tear film biomarkers were a big theme in general in dry eye research presented at ARVO.

About those tear drains

There was a really nice poster that drew attention to the too-frequent failure to correctly diagnose epiphora (i.e. tears spilling down your face) when it’s related to duct obstruction. I particularly appreciated how they highlighted the impact it has on quality of life even if it’s not considered a major “thing” medically speaking. They proposed a quick and non-invasive way to check for it (strip meniscometry).

Another poster had results of 39 patients who underwent DCR - it showed how their tear dynamics changed afterwards and how the tear clearance decreased. DCR is the surgery you might get if you have chronically obstructed tear drains (puncti). I’ve heard anecdotally from people for years talking about how this made their symptoms worse in cases.

Preserved versus preservative free eye drops

A poster from the University of Navarra (Spain) discussed preserved versus unpreserved glaucoma medications. A high percentage of glaucoma patients have dry eye symptoms. Their findings were that it doesn’t initially appear to be due to a decrease of goblet cells or mucin production but rather an increase in mucus genes in response to damage, possibly due to inflammatory response

Lots of Ls

Saw one poster each on Lubricin and Lacritin. Hope they get moved along efficiently… we need new therapeutics to get to market.

Too many posters to count that were dealing with harvesting, processing, storage etc of limbal stem cells and other biologics for therapeutic uses.