Injections May Relieve This Eye Disorder

Chalk up another medical success for the botulinum toxin type A. It's been linked to not only erasing wrinkles, but also for migraine relief, muscular issues and other off-label treatments. Now, scientists have discovered that it may help relieve a rare eye disorder called filamentary keratitis, which is linked to dry eyes, typically due to age.

The condition occurs when dead cells on the eye's surface bind together and create threadlike strands that annoy the eye. Previous treatments, including removing the strands and medication to reduce inflammation, were rarely effective.

However, when receiving injections of the neurotoxin Botox in the eyelid, 88 percent of study participants reported improvement in their condition, according to researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

They believe that because the threads stick to the eye's surface, the patient naturally blinks more in response, and this excessive blinking makes the condition worse and can even tear the eye's surface. But Botox injections help by reducing the amount of blinking the person does. It may also relieve the pressure on the eye, the researchers said.

The patients typically needed four injections of the neurotoxin. More-and larger-studies are needed to get the full scope of Botox's benefit for the condition, the researchers said in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.

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