Natures Tears® EyeMist® - Dry Eyes

Dry Eye

Corneal stem cell research

A promising new procedure.

"Corneal stem cells" are critical to the health and proper functioning of the "corneal epithelium," the membrane of living cells that covers the cornea. Corneal stem cells are produced in the "conjunctiva" (in the inside corner or the eye) and migrate to the cornea.

  • The process of production and migration can become impaired due to contact lens use, eye injury, severe eye allergies or severe chronic dry eye. Corneal stem cell dysfunction can lead to severe eye discomfort, impaired vision and blindness. Until recently, there was no treatment.
  • Recent corneal stem cell studies at Harvard University are leading to a promising new procedure in which stem cells are transplanted into the eye, either from an unaffected eye or using mouth stem cells, which are very similar.
  • The procedure and research currently has no direct application to severe chronic dry eye disease but could in the future. Good stem cell production is certainly a factor in the eye's ability to heal and recover from dry eye.
  • Both normally produced and transplanted corneal stem cells rely heavily on the tear film's natural water content for survival and healthy functioning. The tear film's water content, or lack thereof, profoundly affects corneal stem cells.
Related articles and sources
"Applying stem cell research to the eyes" (Sharon Kleyne Hour, July 11, 2011, Ula Jurkunas, MD)