Preliminary data from a study funded by the National Rosacea Society have found that the tears of rosacea patients contain different proteins than the tears of people without rosacea. The results point to the potential for a screening test for ocular rosacea in the future.
The study, "Tear Proteins in Patients with Rosacea," is being conducted by a team led by Dr. Mark J. Mannis, chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of California - Davis.
Tears were collected from 17 rosacea patients and 22 normal controls. The researchers analyzed proteins called mucopolysaccharides in the tears of each group, and identified a distinct pattern in the type and quantity of certain proteins in the rosacea patients' tears that differed from those of the controls.
"This is a very significant finding," said Dr. Mannis. "If our initial results are validated by more extensive research, this may lead to the identification of a diagnostic test -- heretofore illusive to investigators."