Dry eye syndrome also called Xeropthalmia at a chronic and advance stage, can occur when the eyes produce fewer tears or when the tears evaporate too quickly which leads to inflammation. It is caused by abnormalities in the tear fluid and causes dryness over the cornea, and a lot of people in today's times suffer from this condition. When the dryness persists for a longer time, it can lead to severe eye pain and sensitivity to light. A new treatment was discovered by the researchers at UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago) that uses human pooled antibodies to target the ACPAs (anti-citrullinated protein autoantibodies) present in human tear fluid. Their early-stage clinical trial findings are documented in The Ocular Surface journal.
A senior author of this study (a UIC professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the College of Medicine), Dr. Sandeep Jain said that the dry eye syndrome is different than having an occasional dryness in the eyes. He has mentioned that the dry eye syndrome can severely compromise the quality of life to the point of disability and can compromise a person's vision.
In this research, they found that people using antibody-based eye drops showed substantial corneal damage reduction within eight weeks as well as reduced inflammation on the cornea when compared to non-antibody-based eyedrops. Further trials are going to be conducted to prove the efficacy of antibody-based eye drops, so the eye drops haven't been released for the public yet. However, Dr. Sandeep Jain offers hope and says that data from this early clinical trial suggests that eye drops containing pooled antibodies may be safe and effective for treating dry eye disease.
The new eye drops help by providing relief from inflammation on the cornea. Basically, the eye drops are formulated using various types of antibodies processed from the donated blood of thousands of individuals, this pooled antibodies then counteract the negative effects of ACPAs.
Talking about the future of this research, Dr. Sandeep Jain, the goal is to conduct a larger randomized trial to prove the efficacy of eye drops. Currently, there are only two approved drugs for dry eye syndrome treatment which don't even work for everyone, especially those with severe disease. So, a new drug that targets a different mechanism (autoimmunity in this case) is very important. Check out the article here.
(Source: NCBI: Pathological consequences of anti-citrullinated protein antibodies in tear fluid and therapeutic potential of pooled human immune globulin-eye drops in dry eye disease. Journal - The Ocular Surface, 10 October 2019)