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A cure for dry eye could be a blink away
Date:5/28/2014

A treatment for dry eyea burning, gritty condition that can impair vision and damage the corneacould some day result from computer simulations that map the way tears move across the surface of the eye.

Kara Maki, assistant professor in Rochester Institute of Technology's School of Mathematical Sciences, contributed to a recent National Science Foundation study seeking to understand the basic motion of tear film traversing the eye. "Tear Film Dynamic with Evaporation, Wetting and Time Dependent Flux boundary Condition on an Eye-shaped Domain," published in the journal Physics of Fluids on May 6, is an extension of Maki's doctoral research under her thesis advisor and co-author Richard Braun, professor in the University of Delaware's Department of Mathematical Sciences.

"We're hoping if we can understand better the basic dynamics of the tear film, then we can start to understand what goes wrong if you have dry eye and start to think about potential cures by studying simulations," Maki said.

Dry eye is a common condition without a cure. Many causes, including the aging process, contribute to discomfort resulting from either a lack of tears or tears that evaporate too quickly. In the United States alone, nearly 5 million people age 50 and older suffer from dry eye, according to the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. Women are predominantly afflicted with the condition, with more than 3 million diagnosed with dry eye due to hormonal changes associated with menopause. Treatment to alleviate symptoms includes eye drops and temporary or surgical plugs to stopper tear ducts at the inner corners of the eyes and retain fluid.

To understand dry eye, Maki had to begin with the physics and chemistry of tears. Tear film consists of a layer of water sandwiched between an oily layer of lipids on the outside to prevent evaporation and an inner mucous layer to spread the water over the eye.

Kara developed a mathema
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Contact: Susan Gawlowicz
smguns@rit.edu
585-475-5061
Rochester Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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