Pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine levels in tears of dry eye subjects

Selina McGee, OD, FAAO, founder and owner of BeSpoke Vision in Edmond, Oklahoma, shares key takeaways from her discussion, "Pro- and Anti-Inflammatory Cytokine Levels in Tears of Dry Eye Subjects,“ which she presented during the 2022 American Academy of Optometry meeting in San Diego.

Selina McGee, OD, FAAO, founder and owner of BeSpoke Vision in Edmond, Oklahoma, shares key takeaways from her discussion, "Pro- and Anti-Inflammatory Cytokine Levels in Tears of Dry Eye Subjects,“ which she presented during the 2022 American Academy of Optometry meeting in San Diego.

Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Hi, I'm Dr. Selina McGee. I am in private practice in Edmond, Oklahoma, at BeSpoke vision. And I'm excited to share with you a poster that we have presented at the American Academy of Optometry in San Diego.

And this was information that I think is very relevant today. And it is about pro-inflammatory cytokines as well as anti-inflammatory cytokines in dry eye patients as well as healthy patients. And we know that there's an inflammatory component of dry eye disease. And this further explored that. So the methodology of the study was with Schirmer's testing and the cytokines were actually captured on the Schirmer strip, sent to a lab, and then an essay was performed.

We look at nine different cytokines in dry eye patients as well as healthy patients. And there were 30 patients in each arm of the study. So what we suspect has always been that there is this level of inflammation that does occur during dry disease. And this methodology helped us look at inflammatory markers to confirm that hypothesis.

And when we looked at the information, what we found was in the Schirmer testing and in the cytokine levels, when you have an increased level of tears, based on Schirmer testing, so if you have more tears, there's less cytokines, which is what we have suspected, but now we have the proof to support that.

And the other piece of that is actually symptomology. What happens when our patients are more symptomatic? Do we have more inflammation with measuring cytokines? And that actually was something that was looked at as well, and the answer to that was yes. We actually have more cytokine activity in our patients with dry eye versus a healthy patient. And it shows up not only in their symptomology and their Schirmer scores.

So in conclusion, this gives us great information to support that this inflammatory component of dry eye disease--now we know. And next steps are going to be looking at the pharmacological methods as well as procedures: How are we affecting those cytokine levels? And now we have the baseline information captured so that we have this normative data to compare to in the future with our therapeutics.

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