Researchers explore vitamin D and inflammation, dry eye
by Abigail Sutton
Researchers are exploring the relationship between vitamin D, inflammation and dry eye now more than ever before.
“In the last 5 years there’s been an explosion in focusing on vitamin D, looking at the non-calcemic effects on modulating immunity, its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory agent and protect against infection and autoimmune diseases — that ability has led people to examine its widespread effects,” Rose Y. Reins, PhD, said in an interview with Primary Care Optometry News.
Reins was awarded a $60,000 grant from the American Academy of Optometry Foundation and the Allergan Foundation for her project, “Evaluation of vitamin D treatment for dry eye-induced ocular surface inflammation.” She is assistant professor at The Ocular Surface Institute, University of Houston College of Optometry.
Co-investigator on this project is Rachel Redfern, OD, PhD, FAAO, also an assistant professor at The Ocular Surface Institute.
The focus of their research is twofold. The first phase looks at an animal model of experimental dry eye and supplements animals with vitamin D, some with a low or high vitamin D diet. Researchers will observe the inflammatory outcomes in the dry eye model to study whether there is a change.
The second phase involves human subjects and their tears. Reins and Redfern will examine vitamin D levels in the tears of normal subjects and those with dry eye.
“Vitamin D metabolites still have not been categorized in human tears, so I’m hoping to be able to detect those and categorize them,” Reins said.
She said the supplementation studies excite her and she is curious to see if the results will be similar to that of omega-3s.
“There are some good studies showing that patients with low vitamin D levels have worse comfort or more symptoms of dry eye,” she said……