Dry eye symptoms reduced by rheumatoid arthritis drug: Study

By: Devon Andre | Eye Health | Thursday, August 11, 2016 - 12:00 PM

Dry eye rheumatoid arthritis Dry eye symptoms may be reduced by a rheumatoid arthritis drug. Dry eye disease (DED) can lead to visual disturbances and can potentially cause damage to the ocular surface, negatively affecting one’s quality of life. About nine million Americans live with dry eyes and estimated costs hover around $55 million in direct and indirect costs.

The study conducted by the researchers from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women’s hospital shows that topical anakinra, which is an approved treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, significantly reduces dry eye symptoms.

Senior author Reza Dana said, “We began looking at the possible therapeutic effects of IL-1Ra over 10 years ago in my laboratory. This clinical trial was a significant milestone in our research. The results clearly show us not only that we can possibly help the millions of people affected by dry eye disease worldwide, but that biologics such as this have the potential to provide targeted therapies for other ocular ailments, as well.”

In the trial taking place over the course of 16 weeks, 75 participants were randomly assigned to different treatments, including the rheumatoid arthritis treatment. Anakinra at 2.5 percent was four times more likely to eliminate corneal staining, which is used as a measurement of dry eye disease. It was also found to significantly reduce dry eye symptoms – in fact, six times more effectively than regular eye ointments.

Dr. Dana concluded, “We have never seen results such as this before in a trial to treat dry eye disease. We possibly have found a safe, well-tolerated eye drop that can treat the underlying cause of dry eye rather than just temporarily mask the symptoms. We are excited about the positive results we saw in the data and with our patients who found relief in their symptoms and were able to return to some of their normal daily activities.”

Natural home remedies to reduce dry eye symptoms

Dry eye symptoms can be annoying and interfere with your life. So if you’re looking for a treatment for your dry eyes, look no further. These nine home remedies can help ease your dry eye symptoms:

Apply warm compress: Because dry eyes can occur due to lack of tears, applying a warm compress may unclog your tear glands, allowing the production of tears and relieving the symptoms.

Clean your eyes: Using a gentle soap – like baby soap – clean your eyes carefully. This can help remove any irritants and keep your eyes feeling hydrated and fresh.

Blink: Our bodies naturally lubricate our eyes through blinking. Make sure you are blinking often, especially when concentrating on a computer screen or sitting in front of a TV. Blinking can also help remove dust and debris and relieve irritation.

Wear protective eye gear: Sunglasses are an easy dry eye treatment because they can block the sunlight and the wind – both leading to dry eyes.

Stay hydrated: Because our bodies require water for all major functions, it’s no surprise that drinking enough water is a dry eye treatment. In particular, on hotter days, make sure you’re getting adequate hydration, and if you find water boring, add some fruits and vegetables.

Check with your doctor about medication: If medication is the culprit, then check with your doctor to see if there is an alternative treatment available.

Apply cucumbers: Because of their high water content, placing cucumbers on the eyes can keep them moist and lubricated.

Reduce coffee consumption: Coffee can worsen your dry eye condition, so cutting back on your intake may help relieve the symptoms.

Stop smoking: Smoking or being around smoke can make your dry eye symptoms worse. If you’re a smoker, make plans to quit and try to avoid smoke-ridden environments.

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