Soon you can shop
for synthetic tears
AS every one knows, tears play a vital function in helping to lubricate the eyeball and keeping it clear of irritants. They also help us to keep our eyes healthy.
Dr John Tiffany, from Oxford University, UK, and his colleagues have discovered the unique combination of ingredients that make up human tears and have patented the combination of proteins and fats that are present in them.
Tears are drops of clear saline fluid that are diffused between the eye and eyelid by the lachrymal or lacrimal gland. They moisten the membrane that covers the eye and facilitate the movement of the eyeball and eyelids.
Tears are also secreted as a reflex response to various stimuli, including irritants to the cornea, like the chemicals given out by onions when they are cut and peeled, bright lights, and hot or peppery substances like chillies in the mouth.
anti-bacterial agents that break down harmful bacteria before they can
cause infection. They also provide oxygen and nutrients to the cornea,
or surface of the eyeball, which has no blood supply.
Recently, Frey’s team discovered several hormones in both tears and lachrymal glands that are known to be released by the body in response to emotions and stress.
The discovery of the particular combination of molecules that make up natural tears could result in the production of eye drops that are better able to perform all functions of natural tears.
Dr Tiffany hopes to use his formula to develop new medicines that will eventually help people who suffer from an inadequate supply of tears.
Dry eye disorders are painful and annoying, and eye specialists have no complete cure for them. The currently available eye drops only soothe and lubricate the eye in various ways.
However, Dr Tiffany feels that much more research and clinical trials have to be carried out before the product can be made available to the public. Extensive safety tests will also need to be carried out.
Synthetic tears would not be suitable for people who suffer from milk allergies, because they are based on proteins found in cow’s milk. Anyone who is not allergic to milk can use synthetic tears. But the tricky part is that not many people know that they are allergic to milk.
The product will also have a practical
shelf life as proteins can easily break down.