ARVO Logo Dry eye is a condition that may result from insufficient tear production or altered tear film composition. Well, it seems that springtime has something to do with the condition. A groundbreaking research claims that temperature less than 30 degrees Celsius on the eye and eyelid can lead to the onset or worsening of dry eye disorder.

It was suggested that cold temperature causes the meibum to become extremely thick and stiff for spreading onto the eye surface. Meibum is known as the oily substance which helps to form the outermost layer of the tear film. During the investigation, it was found that when the temperature dropped by just a few degrees, the bulk meibum seemingly solidified.

“In outdoor conditions, the wind accelerates the drop in temperature of the ocular surface and the eyelids, thus the effect is even more pronounced. This mechanism seems to be one of the major factors that cause dry eye to worsen in cold, windy weather such that it can affect even healthy people,” explained research Igor A. Butovich, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

It was affirmed that the quality of the tear film has to be maintained as close to normal as possible, under all conditions. Further investigations can be conducted to find whether over-the-counter and prescription eye lubricant formulations are being tested for temperature-dependence. The research findings may aid in designing novel eye drop formulations.

The research is published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.