Research going on at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Optometry looks into the measurements of levels of proteins called cytokines which are present in tears. Cytokines levels have been shown to be strong indicators of the overall eye health. By analyzing the level of cytokines in the tears of patients who wear contact lenses researchers are able to determine if contact lenses wearing have an overall impact on the general health of the eyes.
"It is helping us to understand and get a clearer picture of eye health during the course of a month, which is the length of time some people choose to keep in their extended-wear contacts," Kehinde (UAB lead researcher) said. "The choice between lenses should be taken seriously in terms of reducing the risk of eye infections and other sight problems."
The study involved 80 volunteers who were all prescribed a special type of contact lens to wear daily for 30 days. All participants were shown how to collect their tears using a very small glass tube. In addition to measuring Cytokine levels the research is also attempting to narrow down the cytokine markers important to eye-disease prevention and treatment. Kehinde hopes that this new data can help identify people that can safely wear extended-wear contact lenses and those who can wear daily contact lenses.
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