Immune cells that disrupt the ability of the glands to keep the eyes moist can be the direct cause of the dry eye, a condition that affects millions of people around the world.
A woman wipes her eyes
Immune cells in the eyelid glands can be responsible for eye dryness.
This is the conclusion reached by researchers after studying the functional dysfunction of the eyelid glands in mice and analyzing human tears samples.
The researchers found that neutrophils, a type of immune cell that normally protects the eye during inflammation, can also disrupt “Meibomian glands” in the eyelid.
These glands release oil when you open the eyelid. Oil moisturizes the eyes and prevents the steaming of tears.
Glands occlusion causes gland dysfunction (MGD), a condition that causes an increase in the growth of eye eyelid bacteria, inflammation and dry eyes.
Daniel R. Saban, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, explains that neutrophils do not “block” the cells of the gland “directly.”
“They are recruited around the gland and alter the actual glandular cells, causing dysfunction,” he adds.
Professor Saban and colleagues reported their findings in a study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Dry eye, MGD and neutrophils
MGD is the most common cause of dry eye, a chronic disease “is an important international health problem.”
Dry eye is the most common reason why people want medical attention for their eyes. It is estimated that up to one-third of the population may be affected. In the United States, the annual cost of treating eye dryness is about $ 3.84 billion.
The disease is uncomfortable and painful and reduces the quality of life. Having eye dryness makes it difficult to read, work effectively, use computers, watch TV and drive. The disease can also restrict the use of contact lenses and cosmetics.
The MGD can sometimes be seen as forming small “colored bony beads” on the eyelid. But this does not always happen, leaving many cases undiagnosed.
The researchers said that despite the conditions of “eye disease as allergic” that cause chronic inflammation of the eyelids are linked to one million gallons per day, “it is unclear whether inflammatory processes contribute to glands.
Neutrophils are immune cells present in many types of tissues. They are welcome to help with bacteria and other pathogens.
Scientists are not sure why neutrophils fall into tears while we sleep. Perhaps they take advantage of the fact that the eyes are closed to collect waste. Normally, the cells disappear when the eyes open. But in people who have MGD, they stay.