Like any other part of the body, our eyes can become damaged and may need treatment to help them heal. Dry Eye Disease (DED) is a common condition where the eye doesn’t produce enough tears, or the tears are poor quality and evaporate too quickly.
Living with DED
DED affects hundreds of millions of people across the world and is one of the most common reasons people go to an eye-specialist. DED can affect both men and women of all ages, but it is most common in people over the age of 50 and is slightly more prevalent in women.
There are many reasons why someone is more likely to develop DED, for example, wearing contact lenses, central heating, air conditioning and computer screen use, as well as side effects of some medications. One of the most common causes is ageing and is true for both men and women as our hormones, which regulate the production and composition of tears, change as we get older.
In DED, the eye surface becomes dry because the tear film breaks up between blinks. The lack of lubrication and protection from the tear film leads to uncomfortable symptoms, such as feelings of dryness, grittiness and burning, and eyelids that are stuck together when you wake up. Because the eye isn’t sufficiently protected, DED increases the risk of damage to a part of the eye called the cornea, the clear curved surface at the front of the eye.
Over time, this damage may get worse and, in severe cases or if left untreated, can lead to problems with vision. Damage to the surface of the eye can potentially occur even in the early stages of DED, so it is important to start treating DED as soon as possible.
DED treatment aims to improve symptoms and potentially prevent damage to the cornea before it occurs. Ideally, treatment would try to promote healing, as well as provide lubrication to prevent further damage. Reducing the environmental factors that aggravate DED, such as spending less time on the computer, can ease discomfort and prevent further damage.
Usually, DED is treated by using eye drops to replace the lubrication lost by the poor quality of tears. Choosing the right treatment can be confusing, since there are so many options available. Some eye drops contain preservatives that can exacerbate the symptoms of DED and cause more damage. Others may require at least four applications a day, which can be bothersome and interfere with daily life.
Recently, the benefit of an antioxidant called Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has been investigated in treating DED. CoQ10 is found naturally in the body and has been shown to protect the eye and promote the healing of corneal damage. However, as we get older, the amount of CoQ10 in our body is reduced. Using eye drops that can help replace this CoQ10 have been shown to have protective effects on the eye and promote healing of the cornea.
Hyaluronic acid is also found in some eye drops and can hydrate the eye to provide comfort. Scientific studies have shown that eye drops containing a cross linked version of hyaluronic acid have additional benefits. The cross linking changes the shape of the hyaluronic acid, which enables the drops to stay on the eye longer than regular hyaluronic acid drops.
A unique combination of CoQ10 and cross linked hyaluronic acid can lubricate, protect and promote healing in DED, and can be found in VISUfarma’s VisuXL. VisuXL is a preservative-free therapy for DED that combines crosslinked hyaluronic acid with CoQ10 to provide effective relief from DED from only two drops per day. Clinical study has shown that treatment with VisuXL improved symptoms of DED and reduced corneal damage compared to hyaluronic acid alone.
VisuXL is available from your healthcare professional. To enable early treatment, it is important to be able to recognise the symptoms of DED and contact a healthcare professional if you are concerned.