But a few properly placed drops can reveal staining patterns that are key to diagnosing dry eye syndrome earlier than other methods, providing doctors more options for treating the potentially sight-stealing disease, new research at UT Southwestern Medical Center confirms.
Lissamine green is an eye-drop stain used by ophthalmologists to detect damaged cells on the eye’s surface, flagging them green under special lighting.
“What this research showed is that the degree and pattern of staining was a good, objective indicator of the severity of the tear deficiency,” said Dr. James McCulley, chairman of ophthalmology at UT Southwestern and one of the world’s leading experts on dry eyes.
Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common eye ailments. According to various estimates, it affects 10 percent to 30 percent of the world’s population, including 10 million to 14 million Americans – mostly older women. Symptoms include eyes that burn or sting, blurred vision, frequent blinking, light sensitivity or a sandy or gritty feeling like something is in the eye.
In a study appearing in the July issue of the journal Eye and Contact Lens, Dr. McCulley and his colleagues found that the severity of the dry eye condition in patients correlates with where the stain patterns show up. Researchers identified three basic patterns that indicated progressively dangerous conditions:
The least-severe condition is indicated by stains limited to the whites of the eyes between the lids toward the nose. This so-called nasal staining doesn’t necessarily predict dry eye: it might be caused by environmental factors, such as pollution.
The second level appears as stains in the white of the eye between the lids, but toward the ear. “That is fairly diagnostic of a tear deficiency,” Dr. McCulley said.
The third and most severe level occurs when the stain also appears on the cornea.
“That’s when things really get serious,” said Dr. McCulley, the study’s senior author. “If the dry eye is significantly affecting the cornea, it deteriorates vision and adds a major risk factor for a person developing a bad infection.”
Stains in the cornea indicate a break in the surface cells. Most bacteria require such a break in order to penetrate the eye, where the bacteria can cause an ulcer.
“When the surface is healthy, we’re protected against the vast majority of bacteria. But if there’s a compromise of the surface, then bacteria can invade,” said Dr. McCulley, who said the investigation was inspired by his many years observing staining patterns in the patients he treated.
Researchers examined the stain patterns in 22 patients with varying degrees of dry eyes and 11 patients without ocular disease, who served as control subjects. The research not only revealed the progressive pattern, but also underscored the value of using lissamine green stain over the more commonly used fluorescein stain, which doesn’t easily identify damage until it is more progressed.
“If an ophthalmologist uses the most commonly used stain, which is fluorescein, they’re going to miss the first two stages of the development of dry eye and consequently miss a lot of diagnoses,” said Dr. McCulley, director of the Theodore and Mary Beasley Laboratory for Ocular Surface Research and the Jean H. & John T. Walter Jr. Center for Research in Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
Earlier diagnosis is crucial in giving doctors more treatment options and preventing the disease from getting worse. Dry eye syndrome can also signal other conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, further underscoring the importance of early diagnosis.
“The more severe stage is not only more problematic in affecting vision, but it is more difficult to treat and reverse,” Dr. McCulley said. “So it’s very important to diagnose at the mild stages because it can become a self perpetuating disease if not effectively treated.”
Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto University
ASU scientists develop new, rapid pipeline for antimicrobials
14.12.2017 | Arizona State University
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2017 | Life Sciences