New research into the biomechanics of the eye could lead to groundbreaking treatments for dry eye patients. In particular, this research could be used to design more comfortable contact lenses that help increase tear production and keep dry eye sufferers' eyes sufficiently moist.
Many scientists, engineers, and biologists at Stanford University are getting more and more interested in making the most comfortable contacts for consumers. That's why these researchers have decided to put all their attention into studying the structure of our corneal cells and how they interact with contacts.
Engineers at Stanford developed an intricate system to make detailed observations of both eye cell mechanisms and adhesion. These researchers also developed an automated system that they can use to conduct micro-scale experiments.
One of the key researchers in this field is postdoctoral research fellow Juho Pokki. Mr. Pokki said that his research shows just who mechanically complex and soft our corneal cell surfaces are. He also points out that corneal cell mechanics change dramatically due to a variety of factors, including disease and interactions with different contact lens materials.
Pokki and his colleagues are hopeful that their research will give accurate readings of both the adhesion and mechanics of our corneal cell structures. The Stanford researchers are also interested in experimenting with different contact lenses to see which materials are the most biocompatible for people suffering with dry eye symptoms.
This Stanford team's research could be used to improve the quality of contact lens solutions and commercial eye drops people take to alleviate their dry eye symptoms.
Dry eye (officially known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca) is extremely common nowadays in all areas of the industrialized world. Most people with dry eye experience symptoms like general eye discomfort, eye redness, sensitivity to light, and sometimes pain in the eyes. Most often doctors recommend taking artificial tears to keep the eyes lubricated. It's also important to get at least 30 minutes of natural sunlight each day and avoid staring at computer screens for extended periods of time.