Human tears are incredibly intricate fluids, containing a diverse range of components like lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, water, and salt. This complexity is what gives tears their ideal consistency and ability to moisturize the eye, making it challenging to replicate their effectiveness with simpler ingredients found in artificial tears.
In a study published in Physics of Fluids, Vega et al. delved into the microscopic properties of human tears to discover new approaches to tailor artificial tears for addressing specific symptoms of dry eye disease. Their detailed understanding of tear composition and behavior also has implications for studying ocular pathogens and other biological fluids.
The researchers collected samples of healthy human tears and examined ten different formulations of artificial tears. They investigated properties such as viscosity (flow), elasticity, and stability, as well as the impact of varying component concentrations. They also explored how these liquids behaved under stress, such as during blinking.
To analyze the small volumes of tear fluid, the authors employed microrheology techniques. These methods involve tracking the movement of microparticles within liquids, utilizing dynamic light scattering (DLS) to measure how light reflects off suspended particles and unveil the behavior of the liquid in different scenarios.
By applying these methods to tear analysis, the authors expanded our understanding of microbiological fluids and the development of functional materials with specific properties. According to Juan F. Vega, the lead author, this research is aimed at achieving efficacy by tailoring formulations and characteristics to individual requirements. The ultimate goal is to provide personalized and effective solutions for alleviating dry eye syndrome.
The study’s findings have broader implications, ranging from the formulation of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and food products to enhancing our understanding of the viscoelastic properties that contribute to desirable textures, stability, and flow behavior.
Vega emphasized the ongoing exploration of more complex artificial tear formulations and the extension of their research to tears associated with different ocular pathologies. The intention is to create artificial tears that closely mimic the natural tears’ stability, lubricating properties, and moisturization. Ultimately, this work aims to enhance the comfort and well-being of individuals suffering from dry eye symptoms.
Source: American Institute of Physics