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Eye-staining technique offers early detection for dry eye syndrome
Date:8/19/2007

DALLAS - Aug. 20, 2007 - Lissamine green sounds like the latest cleaning sensation being hawked on television and probably not something you would want to get in your eyes.

But a few properly placed drops can reveal staining patterns that are key to diagnosing dry eye syndrome earlier than other methods, providing doctors more options for treating the potentially sight-stealing disease, new research at UT Southwestern Medical Center confirms.

Lissamine green is an eye-drop stain used by ophthalmologists to detect damaged cells on the eyes surface, flagging them green under special lighting.

What this research showed is that the degree and pattern of staining was a good, objective indicator of the severity of the tear deficiency, said Dr. James McCulley, chairman of ophthalmology at UT Southwestern and one of the worlds leading experts on dry eyes.

Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common eye ailments. According to various estimates, it affects 10 percent to 30 percent of the worlds population, including 10 million to 14 million Americans mostly older women. Symptoms include eyes that burn or sting, blurred vision, frequent blinking, light sensitivity or a sandy or gritty feeling like something is in the eye.

In a study appearing in the July issue of the journal Eye and Contact Lens, Dr. McCulley and his colleagues found that the severity of the dry eye condition in patients correlates with where the stain patterns show up. Researchers identified three basic patterns that indicated progressively dangerous conditions:

  • The least-severe condition is indicated by stains limited to the whites of the eyes between the lids toward the nose. This so-called nasal staining doesnt necessarily predict dry eye: it might be caused by environmental factors, such as pollution.

  • The second level appears as stains in the white of the eye between the lids, but toward the ear. That is fa
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Contact: Russell Rian
Russell.rian@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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