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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UMiami: Allergenic and Irritating Environmental Exposures Affect Tear Levels in Individuals with Dry Eye, Study Finds

Dry eye – a condition in which a person does not have enough quality tears to nourish and lubricate the eye – affects more than 16 million Americans and up to 30 percent of people worldwide who are over 50 years of age.

Researchers from the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, as well as from the University of Illinois’s Department of Ophthalmology, investigated the frequency of detectable tear immunoglobin levels in individuals with dry eye symptoms and/or signs. The objective of the study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, was to evaluate which factors were associated with high total tear immunoglobin levels, focusing on environmental conditions and exposures associated with allergy.

Researchers performed a cross-sectional study of 75 individuals with dry eye symptoms and/or signs, whose immunoglobin levels in tear samples were quantified. Their home environmental exposures were assessed through a standardized survey and tears were collected utilizing the Schirmer strip. In the sample, 62 individuals had dry eye symptoms and 75 had one or more signs of the condition.

Tear immunoglobin levels were observed in 76 percent of subjects, where 17.3 percent of those individuals had high levels. Those who had exposure to pets and smoke at home were more likely to have high immunoglobin levels compared to those not exposed. Individuals whose tears were collected during the spring or summer were 3.9 times more likely to have a high immunoglobin compared to those sampled at other times of the year. Results also showed that individuals were 3.45 times more likely to have high immunoglobin levels if born within the U.S. when compared to individuals born outside the U.S.

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