Hyaluronic acid (HA) or sodium hyaluronate, is a favourite of the beauty world thanks to its soothing properties and capacity to hold many times its own weight in water.
Increasingly, eye care professionals have been turning to hyaluronic acid as an answer to dry eye symptom relief – in fact with some clever formulating HA has been made even better than when used on its own.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring high-viscosity mucopolysaccharide which attracts and holds moisture, and because it occurs naturally it is biocompatible. Hyaluronic acid is found throughout our bodies including in our skin, eyes, and joints. It shows viscoelastic properties which means that it changes its shape when forces are applied, such as the pressure of an eyelid blinking resulting in easy spreading across your eye.
What are the benefits of hyaluronic acid?
The benefits of this molecule are far reaching. It has been shown to be much more than just an exceptional moisturiser. Researchers have found that hyaluronic acid can help wounds heal and tissues repair. There has also been extensive work done into looking at how hyaluronic acid can benefit dry eye including increasing tear production and stabilizing the surface of the cornea. Hyaluronic acid has been shown to have lubricating, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-toxic effects.
And of course there is the extensive use in premium beauty products to reduce the appearance of fine lines by plumping the skin and increasing elasticity.
How is hyaluronic acid used?
All these properties combined explain why it is widely use in surgery to help wounds heal and tissues repair. Surgical incisions, skin grafts, and ulcers may also benefit from these properties. People can use it topically in creams and serums to hydrate the skin and it is also licensed as an injectable cosmetic filler to plump-up skin.
Hyaluronic acid and dry eye
Dry eye is an inflammatory ocular surface disease and if left untreated can cause lasting damage to the cornea. The benefits of hyaluronic acid for symptom relief are well known but there have also been long term studies which showed a positive impact on the condition of the eyes surface. In one such study, lasting 3 months, effective improvements in ocular surface damage were seen. The researchers concluded that ‘sodium hyaluronate, with its reported efficacy on symptoms, and properties on wound healing, and anti-inflammatory action, can be considered particularly useful for the treatment of dry eye.’
Is all hyaluronic acid created equally?
Because hyaluronic acid is a polymer it comes in all sorts of different lengths and molecular weights. The molecular weight is not directly related to the concentration stated on the packaging as you can have a high concentration of low molecular weight molecules and visa versa. Smaller molecules spread more easily over the surface compared to larger ones but larger ones could offer longer retention in the eye for more lasting relief. It is these varying properties which mean not all hyaluronic acid containing eye drops will perform the same and if you are not getting the relief you need you might want to ask your optician for an alternative. If you suffer from more severe dry eye symptoms there are also higher concentration solutions designed to give the symptom relief you need.
How hyaluronic acid was made even better for dry eyes?
When combined with tamarind seed polysaccharide (TSP) hyaluronic acid forms a bi-polymer which has been shown to bring x5 more relief from dry eye symptoms than HA alone. This ‘super molecule’ is capable of holding more moisture than the component parts for longer lasting symptom relief. HydraMed is available via independent opticians and the Dry Eye Zone.
Top tip from the Dry Eye Zone
When using hyaluronic acid eye drops to hydrate your eyes why not treat your eyelids too? Simply put an additional drop on your finger tip and work the silky solution gently around the delicate skin around the eye. This will help keep the skin soft and supple – consider making it part of your daily eye care routine.
If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms then you should ask the advice of your eye care professional. Why not book your next eye examination with an independent optician today.
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