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Could Caffeine Help Dry Eye?

Scientists Find Caffeine May Boost Tear Production

Caffeine for Dry Eye: Perspective

The idea could have merit but needs much more research, says Pedram Hamrah, MD, attending physician and surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and assistant professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.

He reviewed the findings but did not take part in the study.

"All they are showing is in a normal person who doesn't have dry eye, if you give them caffeine they have some increase in tear production right after," he says. It's not certain if the effect lasts, Hamrah says.

Most who have dry eye also have a high rate of tear evaporation, he says. The caffeine research doesn't address that.

Hamrah reports serving as a consultant for ReVision Optics, Allergan, Alcon, and Fovea Pharmaceuticals.

"It is logical that caffeine might stimulate tear production in many individuals," says Marguerite McDonald, MD, an ophthalmologist in Lynbrook, N.Y., and a clinical professor of ophthalmology at NYU Langone Medical Center. She also reviewed the findings.

The increased tear production is linked to certain genetic markers, she says. This explains why some people have a reaction to caffeine and others have little response. The research "may lead us to new medical therapies for dry eye," says McDonald, who is also an adjunct clinical professor of ophthalmology at Tulane University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

McDonald reports consultant work for Allergan, Alcon, Bausch + Lomb, and Abbott.


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