Posted on: November 22nd, 2022

Many studies and trials have poured into the field of probiotics in the past decade. Many modern studies are looking at how probiotics can affect health conditions and diseases. A recent study has shown a potential link between probiotics and Dry Eye Syndrome (DES).

A study conducted by the University of South Wales School of Optometry and Vision Science in Sydney revealed that modifying gut function with probiotics and prebiotics can improve inflammation related to the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry Eye Syndrome is, quite simply, the condition of having chronically dry eyes. DES is also commonly associated with other regular eye symptoms including:

  • Redness
  • Irritation & Itchiness
  • Discharge
  • Blurred vision
  • Optical fatigue

The cause of dry eye syndrome is related to the lower production of tears and tears evaporating too quickly. Dry eye syndrome can be caused by:

  • Certain medications
  • Frequent use of contact lenses
  • LASIK surgery
  • Pregnancy

Dry eye syndrome is commonly treated with hydration, artificial tears (eye drops), or changes to the environment (less dust or smoke-free environments).

It should be noted that the prevalence of DES increases with age. The ‘why’ of this is still being researched, but it is thought to be related to the increased amount of medications elderly people take on average.

Inflammatory Components

DES has an inflammatory component. Inflammation is controlled by many factors, one of which is modifying the gut function. One way this can be done is with probiotics and prebiotics. The recent study sought to investigate whether introducing prebiotic or probiotic supplements would reduce the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease.

41 participants with dry eye disease received either probiotics and prebiotics or a placebo. They were evaluated at baseline, 1 month and 4 months, and again 1 month after the end of the study. Dry eye symptoms and dry eye signs with tear osmolarity, noninvasive keratography tear break-up time, ocular surface staining, tear meniscus height, lipid layer thickness, and conjunctival redness were used as observation markers.

DES & Probiotics Trial Results

After one month, the symptoms present in both groups seemed to slightly improve. After 4 months of taking supplements, only symptoms in the treatment group improved. Researchers saw no significant changes in dry eye signs after 4 months of taking supplements, however.

The study shows that we can potentially manage dry eye disease by taking probiotic and prebiotic supplements. Researchers are planning on future studies to see which probiotics & prebiotics are the most effective for treating DES. Different types of probiotic & prebiotic blends may have different effects on DES and its associated symptoms.

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health throughout the world by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.

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