Blood Pressure Drugs May Prevent Dry Eye Syndrome


2004-4-6

This is the VOA Special English Health Report.

Many people around the world suffer from dry eye syndrome. Lackof tears, the natural fluid of the eye, causes this condition. Olderpeople are most likely to develop it.

Dry eye syndrome makes your eyes hurt, itch and feel tired. Thecondition can damage the surface of your eyes if it is not treated.The syndrome does not cause people to lose their sight. But it canmake daily life unpleasant.

Over the years, not much research has been done on dry eyesyndrome. But a recent study shows that drugs called ACE inhibitorsmay prevent the disorder. Doctors usually order these drugs forpeople to treat high blood pressure. The research results appearedthe publication Archives of Ophthalmology.

Barbara Klein led the research team from the University ofWisconsin at Madison. Almost two-thousand-five-hundred people tookpart. They were ages forty-eight to ninety-one. None had dry eyesyndrome when the study began. Over five years, some took ACEinhibitors for their high blood pressure. Others in the study didnot take those drugs.

During the five years, three-hundred-twenty-two people developeddry eye. That was about thirteen percent of those studied. The riskof dry eye syndrome increased among older people and those withother health problems. People who suffered from diabetes were alsomore likely to develop the condition. So were those with allergies.They had reactions to substances including animal hair and plantpollen. People who took some kinds of medicines also were morelikely to develop dry eye than other people.

Dry eye developed in about nine percent of the people taking ACEinhibitor drugs. Among those not taking the drugs, almost fourteenpercent got dry eye syndrome.

Health experts say there are simple ways you can try to treat thecondition. For example, you can open and close your eyes more often.You can rest your eyes by closing them. You can avoid airconditioning, direct wind and smoke. You can buy a humidifyingdevice to add water to the air inside your home. This especiallyhelps during cold weather. And you can buy fluid for eyes similar tohuman tears. But if none of this helps, experts say you should seeyour doctor for advice.

This VOA Special English Health Report was written by JerilynWatson.