According to the National Eye Institute of U.S. National Institutes of Health, Dry Eye disease occurs when the eyes do not produce an adequate quantity of tears and/or when tears natural evaporate too quickly. As many as five million Americans, 50 years of age and older, are estimated to suffer from Dry Eyes, with the majority affected being women. Tens of millions more are believed to have similar, but less severe Dry Eye symptoms. Current help for Dry Eye can consist of prescribing artificial tear eye drops to increase the amount of tear in the eyes, insertion of tiny tear duct plugs to help retain tears and prescription medication such as Restasis® eye drops to combat the inflammation in the Lacrimal Gland that often prevents you from producing enough of your own tears.
Now, there is even additional good news on the horizon for the millions of people around the world who struggle with dry eye disease. Researchers reporting in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology have identified that the presence of Natural Killer (NK) cells that normally offer immunity to the eye may actually promote inflammation and play a critical role in causing Dry Eye. The identification of these cells as one of the causes of Dry Eyes will hopefully all for the treatment the cellular cause of the disease rather than its symptoms through the development of new medications.