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Soothing solution for dry eyes may be close at hand

Post on 25th September 2017

A simple and inexpensive way to treat severe dry eye conditions by using a drop of blood is being trialled at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital

It is based on the fact that blood contains many of the same natural nutrients found in tears, which help to keep our eyes lubricated and nourished. In the hospital trials patients who put a finger-prick amount of blood on their lower lid saw stinging and redness improve within three days and after only eight weeks the severity of their symptoms reduced by a third.

It’s still early days, but it holds out hope for the estimated 60,000-plus people in Britain with a severe form of dry-eye problems that seriously affect their quality of life.

Dry-eye syndrome actually affects more than five million people in Britain and occurs when eyes do not make enough tears or when the tears evaporate too quickly. For most people it causes low-level redness, irritation and burning, but for those more seriously affected it can lead to serious complications such as an infected or ulcerated cornea.

Artificial tears can be used to lubricate the eye surface but these often lack the natural healing ingredients such as epidermal growth factor that blood contains.

The experiments at Moorfields using drops of blood on 16 volunteer patients have raised the prospect of an alternative solution. In the trials the volunteers pricked their finger, after cleaning it with an alcohol wipe, and a drop of blood was put straight into the lower eyelid of the affected eye, four times a day.

It produced positive results but when the treatment was stopped for a month, the condition worsened again.

It’s certainly a solution to keep an eye on, but please don’t be tempted to try this at home without medical supervision.

If you have any concerns about your eye health and need professional advice, please call in at your local Scrivens branch.