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Tackling the vicious circle of dry eye disease

51 months
Approved budget:
Associate Professor llva Rupenthal
Professor Jennifer Craig
Associate Professor Stuti Misra
Dr Priyanka Agarwal
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Lay summary
Dry eye disease (DED) is one of the most common, yet undertreated, ocular surface conditions, with a worldwide prevalence as high as 50%. While generally not considered sight-threatening, it negatively impacts quality of life in a manner similar to other chronic diseases, with recognised mental health effects. In addition to dryness, foreign body sensation and pain, blurred vision and reading difficulties are often reported. Multifactorial in nature, DED can arise from numerous interrelated underlying pathologies leading to a vicious circle. However, current therapies often address only one issue, resulting in poor treatment outcomes. Moreover, response to therapy is often slow with adverse effects from formulation excipients such as preservatives and surfactants causing further ocular toxicity upon long-term use, ultimately worsening DED symptoms. We will develop a preservative-free eye drop that tackles both tear film instability and inflammation without the need for further additives to break the vicious circle of DED.