NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Treatment with eye drops containing sodium hyaluronate, known to improve the signs and symptoms of dry eye syndrome, may also improve the ocular surface damage that typically occurs.
Dr. Giovanni Milazzo, from Societא Industria Farmaceutica Italiana in Lavinaio-Catania, Italy, and colleagues randomized 86 patients with medium to severe dry eye to receive hyaluronate or saline drops four to eight times/day for 3 months. Nearly half of the randomized patients were unable to adhere to the study protocol and were excluded from the efficacy analysis.
Treatment with hyaluronate was associated with a significant improvement in impression cytology scores relative to baseline scores (p = 0.024) and relative to treatment with saline drops (p = 0.036), the authors report in the February issue of The British Journal of Ophthalmology. The incidence of adverse events was similar in both groups and neither treatment was associated with serious adverse events.
The reason sodium hyaluronate reduces ocular surface damage is unclear, the authors note. One possibility is that hyaluronate is directly involved in epithelial repair by activating CD44 expressed on corneal and conjunctival cells. Other possibilities include control of the localized inflammatory process, promotion of an optimal ocular repair environment, and reduction of friction during blinking.
"Sodium hyaluronate, with its reported efficacy on symptoms, the described properties on wound healing, and anti-inflammatory action, can be considered particularly useful for the treatment of dry eye," Dr. Milazzo's team concludes.