ScienceBased Health, a developer of nutraceuticals for the eye health segment, has published the results of a pilot study by Dr Frank A Bucci, a renowned ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon, which it claims shows a direct link between its HydroEye nutritional supplement and increased lactoferrin levels.
Lactoferrin is a protective protein which is widely accepted as an indicator of ocular surface health. HydroEye is a proprietary blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and other key nutrients which is formulated to help retain eye moisture by supporting tear flow and ocular surface health, the company said.
Tear lactoferrin level is a diagnostic tool for dry eye, with levels below 0.9mg/ml being indicative of the symptom. In patients with severe tear-deficient dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca), 83.3% have tear lactoferrin levels below 0.9 mg/ml, and many have about half the level of tear lactoferrin found in normal eyes.
In the first part of Bucci's study, 13 patients with normal levels of lactoferrin (mean of 0.91 mg/ml) were administered two capsules of HydroEye daily for eight weeks. By the fourth week, lactoferrin had increased by 56% over baseline levels, and sustained a 50% increase for the remainder of the study.
In the second part of the study, patients scheduled for Lasik surgery were given HydroEye for four weeks (average of 18.5 days on the supplement), and lactoferrin levels were assessed on the day prior to the procedure. Compared to pre-treatment levels, tear lactoferrin rose by 40% - from a mean of 0.83 mg/ml to 1.17 mg/ml.
Many patients who undergo Lasik surgery are at risk of dry eye, and lactoferrin levels typically drop by about 20% post-surgery, according to Bucci. "This preliminary data indicates that taking HydroEye three to four weeks before surgery can significantly boost tear lactoferrin levels," he said.
R. Scot Hunter, president and CEO of ScienceBased Health, said: "Dry eye is one of the most common problems treated by eye care practitioners. According to the American Optometric Association, an estimated 59 million Americans (one out of every five) suffer from symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome, including 75% of people over 65 years of age. Since HydroEye's launch last year, we have been overwhelmed with success stories from HydroEye users and we plan to continue to research HydroEye and its role in helping individuals with dry eyes."