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research digest

Eye wear benefits dry-eye patients; Alrex found to be safe for long-term use; supplement raises lactoferrin levels

research digest

Panoptx Eye Wear Shown to Relieve Dry-Eye Symptoms
Richard Lindstrom, M.D., and Douglas Weberling, O.D., recently conducted a study to determine how effective Panoptx eye wear is at reducing common dry-eye symptoms. The fashionable line of sunglasses, designed by a maxillofacial surgeon, features a foam eyecup that minimizes evaporation during outdoor activities. The cup provides filtered venting to prevent fogging, and blocks 100% of UV light. Seven styles are available, designed to fit six different facial structures; most are available in prescription.

The study included 110 pa-tients: 28 post-LASIK, 40 with contact lens-related dry eye, and 42 with a clinical diagnosis of chronic dry eye. Subjects ranked the severity of nine symptoms: burning, redness, itching, diminished vision, light sensitivity, discomfort in air conditioning, grittiness, dryness and excessive tearing. They were also asked to provide an overall rating of symptom severity.

Patients were fitted with Panoptx and repeated the survey after 1 month of wearing the glasses for driving and outdoor activities. The data showed:

► Positive changes occurred in all symptoms, in every subgroup.

► On average, all nine symptoms were significantly reduced. The overall average reduction in symptoms was 57%.

► Initially, half of the patients ranked their overall symptoms as severe. After wearing Panoptx for 1 month, only 3% did.

► 30% of patients reported that their overall symptoms were completely eliminated when wearing Panoptx.

► On average, any given symptom was eliminated in 34% of the patients.

► 95% of subjects reported improved eye comfort when driving; 97% were more comfortable walking outdoors.

► 97% said they planned to continue wearing the glasses and would recommend them.

Dr. Lindstrom notes: "Many of us have prescribed 'moisture shield' glasses or swim goggles for severe dry eye for years. Unfortunately, these alternatives are ugly and they fog up and work poorly. Panoptx are attractive glasses that work equally well or better at reducing tear evaporation and protecting the eyes from the elements."

Dr. Lindstrom has no financial interest in Panoptx or their eye wear products.

Alrex Found to be Safe for Long-Term Use
A retrospective review of data from 397 patients who used loteprednol etabonate ophthalmic suspension 0.2% (Alrex, Bausch & Lomb) long-term for treatment of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) showed that use of the drug caused no adverse effects. Of the 397 patients, 159 used the product for periods ranging from 1 to 4 years, in some cases as often as four times a day. In this subgroup there were no reported incidences of elevated IOP, cataract development or infections.

Alrex is the first topical corticosteroid approved by the FDA to treat the signs and symptoms of SAC.

HydroEye Raised Lactoferrin Levels Pre- and Post-LASIK
A study conducted by Frank A. Bucci, Jr., M.D., found that LASIK candidates suffering from dry eye who took the nutritional supplement HydroEye (ScienceBased Health) for 1 month before surgery displayed increased levels of lactoferrin, both before and after surgery. HydroEye contains gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an omega fatty acid; according to the manufacturer, studies have shown that GLA dampens inflammation, increases tear production and reduces dry eye symptoms in post-PRK patients.

Dr. Bucci asked 20 patients with a history of evaporative or aqueous-deficient dry eye to take the recommended dose of HydroEye for 1 month before and after surgery. Dr. Bucci also evaluated 20 age-matched patients with no history of dry eye who did not take the supplement. He measured tear lactoferrin levels at baseline, on the day of surgery, and at 1 day and 1 month following surgery.

At the beginning of the study the 20 patients with dry eye had lower lactoferrin levels than the control group (0.95 ng/ml vs. 1.1 ng/ml). The study found:

► The treated patients showed a significant 32% increase in lactoferrin during the pre-surgery period, with levels 24% greater than the controls by the day of surgery.

► One day after surgery, the treated groups showed a smaller drop in lactoferrin levels than the controls, to 0.88 ng/ml (vs. 0.77 ng/ml).

► Lactoferrin levels in both groups rose during the month after LASIK; levels in the treated group ended up slightly higher than baseline.