Thursday, September 18, 2008

NIH grant to doctoral student working on dry eye

For those who are wondering where the NIH is, here's one for you... going to lacrimal gland study. It's not a lot of money but every bit counts.

Link to news article

( - USC School of Pharmacy senior research associate Liana Asatryan and doctoral student Janette Contreras have received an award from the National Institutes of Health to fund their respective projects in drug discovery and development....

Contreras won the Ruth L. Kirschstein Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, an NIH award created to promote diversity in health-related research. Contreras works in the lab of Sarah Hamm-Alvarez, the Gavin S. Herbert Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences and chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Science.

Contreras’ fellowship provides $123,000 over three years, financing her work on the treatment of diseases of the eye. Specifically, Contreras will contribute to the Hamm-Alvarez lab’s focus on dry eye and Sj√∂gren’s disease.

“My work focuses on diseases that target the lacrimal cells in the eye,” Contreras said. “We hope to find efficient ways to deliver medicines into the affected cells. Ultimately, this work may lead to treatments as well as cures for these ailments.”

By studying the role of the viral receptors in the eye’s lacrimal gland and how a virus travels into the gland, Contreras is trying to flip that delivery route and use it as a way for medicines to enter the affected eye molecules.

Abstract: Topical apolipoprotein A-1

Interesting. The results sound good - translate to humans and I'll be happy.

Topical apolipoprotein A-1 may have a beneficial effect on the corneal epithelium in a mouse model of dry eye: a pilot study.
Eye Contact Lens. 2008 Sep;34(5):287-92.
Nyunt AK, Ishida Y, Yu Y, Shimada S.
Menicon Co, Ltd, Global Business division, Japan.

PURPOSE: Dry-eye syndrome affects millions of individuals and it is essential to develop effective therapeutic agents for the treatment of this complex condition. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effect of apolipoprotein A (ApoA)-1 and its synergistic action with d-pantethine (DP) on corneal epithelial disorders in dry-eye mouse model.

METHODS: Aqueous tear production of C57BL/6J Jms Slc male mice aged 10 to 12 weeks were inhibited by subcutaneous scopolamine injection and mice were placed in a continuous airflow blower to create desiccating environmental stress. During desiccation, 1 eye of each mouse was treated with ApoA-1 (0.01%, 0.04%, or 0.1%) or ApoA-1 (0.04%) + DP (0.05%, 0.1%, or 0.2%) and the other control eye was instilled with phosphate-buffered saline 4 times daily for 5 days. Phenol red thread test, corneal fluorescein staining (score, 0-4), and measurement of corneal epithelial thickness measurements were performed.

RESULTS: Significant reductions of staining scores and higher corneal epithelial thickness values were observed in both ApoA-1- and ApoA-1 + DP-treated groups compared with untreated dry-eye mouse and phosphate-buffered saline-treated group.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that ApoA-1 and DP may be potential therapeutic agents for ocular surface epithelial disorders in patients with dry eye.

Abstract: Plugs and contacts

Wow - this is surprising. They put plugs in some contact lens patients and pretended to put plugs in others - and the faked ones were the only ones to show any difference in their tear film.

Eye Contact Lens. 2008 Sep;34(5):261-5.
The impact of punctal occlusion on soft contact lens wearing comfort and the tear film.
Geldis JR, Nichols JJ.
Ohio State University, College of Optometry

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this report is to describe the impact of punctal occlusion in symptomatic dry eye contact lens wearers and the relation between subjective and objective outcomes.

METHODS: This study was a randomized, controlled, double-masked, single center clinical trial. A previously described dry-eye questionnaire was used to determine subject eligibility. Tear interferometry was performed to evaluate prelens tear film thickness, contact lens center thickness, and postlens tear film thickness. Each subject was randomly assigned to receive the punctal plugs or a sham procedure. At the outcome examination, the subject completed the dry-eye questionnaire and answered one question rating the efficacy of the punctal plug treatment in addition to undergoing tear interferometry using an identical protocol as the first visit.

RESULTS: Nineteen subjects completed both visits of this study. There was a significant improvement in the dry-eye questionnaire scores from baseline to the outcome visit for both the plug (Z = -2.52, P=0.01) and sham groups (Z = -2.93, P=0.003). A significant increase in prelens tear film thickness occurred within the sham group from baseline to the outcome visit (Z = -1.96, P=0.05), but not for the punctal plug group. No other layers measured by interferometry were shown to change significantly for either group.

CONCLUSIONS: Results comparing the sham and plug groups were not significantly different from each other with regards to the questionnaire score and treatment benefit assessment, indicating either the treatment effect was not detected, although present, or punctal occlusion had no treatment effect at all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Abstract: Dry eye test result commonality (or lack thereof)

This study takes a look at several different dry eye diagnostics - but only in mild to moderate dry eye - and compares the results from each, as well as comparing them to a symptoms survey.

Concordance between common dry eye diagnostic tests.Br J Ophthalmol. 2008 Sep 9. [Epub ahead of print] Links
Graham JE, Moore JE, Goodall EA, Dartt DA, Leccisotti A, McGilligan VE, Moore TC.
Northern Ireland.

PURPOSE: Large variations in results of diagnostic tests for mild to moderate dry eye are widely recognised. The purpose of this study was to assess if there was concordance between common dry eye diagnostic tests.

METHODS: A total of 91 subjects were recruited to the study. The tear film and ocular surface were evaluated using the phenol red thread test, tear break up time (TBUT), biomicroscopic examination and impression cytological (IC) assessment of conjunctival goblet cells. Dry eye symptoms were assessed using McMonnies questionnaire and statistical correlations between all tests were assessed.

RESULTS: This study cohort did not include severe aqueous deficient dry eye patients as determined by the phenol red thread test (PRT). A statistically significant difference was noted between PRT results and all other tests (***P inverted exclamation markU 0.001). Only meibomian gland pathology, McMonnies questionnaire, reduced goblet cell density and TBUT ( inverted exclamation markU7 seconds) demonstrated correlation determined by McNemar inverted exclamation marks test.

CONCLUSION: A correlation was only found between tests assessing lipid/mucous deficiency (meibomian gland evaluation, goblet cells density, TBUT, and McMonnies questionnaire).