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Breast milk.. a natural therapy for dry eyes?

Last week The Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) published the new International Guidelines for Dry Eye Treatment (DEWS 2). This extensive and comprehensive guide for eyecare professionals spans over 400 pages long but what caught my eye was that one of the treatments mentioned for dry eye was breast milk.

Now I am not at all suggesting that any of my patients immediately rush out and try this. I mean even thinking about issues such as how patients would access a supply of breast milk makes my mind boggle. But there is some evidence behind why it might work.

Two of the potentially therapeutic components of breast milk are fucosyl lactose and lactoferrin. Lactoferrin is a tear glycoprotein with antibacterial, antiangiogenic (anti blood vessel growth) and anti-inflammatory actions which is produced by your lacrimal (tear) gland. Oral lactoferrin has been shown in a few studies to improve dry eye symptoms and signs. Dry eye patients typically have reduced levels of lactoferrin in their tears compared to normal.

So sometimes age old wisdom shouldn't be summarily dismissed....

* Information on this blog is general in nature and should not be taken as professional medical advice or as a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional.

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