Dry eye disease (DED) is the most common patient presentation that ophthalmologists encounter, affecting 5-30% of the population aged 50 and over worldwide – this is more than that of Type II Diabetes, cancer, and heart-related problems.
In its mildest form, DED can cause discomfort, irritation and vision distortion. In its severest form it can cause ulceration, corneal damage and loss of sight. Regardless of severity, like many other eye conditions, DED has a serious adverse effect on the quality of life of patients.
This is a study of the network of small molecules (microRNA) on the surface of the eye which can inhibit the production of cellular proteins which cause inflammation.
With what we will learn from this research, combined with a newly formulated nanocarrier formulation already developed as part of this study, it is planned to develop a antagomir, or ‘blocker’ to prevent the production of the inflammation causing proteins and also encourage ocular repair.
Emily Greenan, Joan Ni Gabhann, Prof Conor Murphy and Christine Goodchild.