Bugs in your eyes may be a good thing. Resident microbes living on the eye are essential for immune responses that protect the eye from infection, new research shows. The study, which appears in the journal Immunity on July 11, demonstrates the existence of a resident ocular microbiome that trains the developing immune system to fend off pathogens. The research was conducted at the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health.
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Recent strides toward understanding dry eye are leading to better and longer-lasting therapies for the millions of people in the U.S. who are affected by the condition.
Current therapies for dry eye provide symptomatic relief: steroids control inflammation, antibiotics counter infection, and artificial tears replenish moisture. But such approaches give only short-term relief for some people and require frequent reapplication. They also fail to address the underlying causes of dry eye.