Biologic Medication Shows Potential for Easing Dry Eye Symptoms

Biologic medications have led to tremendous treatment improvements for people with serious illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. New research is now looking into whether these types of medications might be useful for treating eye conditions as well. A recent clinical trial examined the effect of a biologic agent on dry eye.

Most medications consist of chemical components and are manufactured by a chemical process. Biologic medicines differ in that they are made from living matter and are cultured in a lab through complex procedures. Biologics developed for rheumatoid arthritis target specific components of the immune system that induce inflammation.

Researchers from three Boston-area medical centers performed a clinical trial to determine if Kineret, a biologic medicine that reduces joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis by blocking the chemical interleukin-1, would have an effect on dry eye. Preliminary research had shown that dry eye disease is associated with inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-1. A randomized, double-blind clinical trial of 75 patients showed that Kineret was well tolerated by the participants. The topical agent significantly reduced dry eye symptoms and was six times more effective in comparison to an eye lubricant. These positive outcomes could lead to a novel treatment for dry eye disease that addresses the underlying cause rather than just treating the symptoms.

Dr. Reza Dana, M.D., MSc., M.PH., senior author of the study, notes that “biologics such as this have the potential to provide targeted therapies for other ocular ailments.” We look forward to see what these new developments can bring to those who struggle with eye health conditions.

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