Lack of Sleep Can Disrupt Activity in Cornea Stem Cells

A new study has indicated that not getting enough sleep can negatively affect corneal stem cells in both the long term and short term potentially leading to the development of eye disease and impairment of vision.

Failing to get enough sleep is a serious health issue. In the shorter term, the condition can lead to itchy, dry eyes and hyperemia of the eye. Longer term, those who suffer from lack of sleep are at a larger risk of developing eye diseases.

A significant part of good health of the eye is having a cornea that is healthy. The transparent layer of tissue which cover the eye is the cornea. It is maintained by stem cells that are constantly replacing dying cells and mending minor eye injuries. If the corneal processes of the stem cells are dysregulated, a person might develop impaired vision or eye disease.

In the study the team looked at how lack of sleep affects stem cells of the cornea. The study conducted on mice, showed that short term lack of sleep increased the multiplication rate of stem cells of the cornea. Also, there were less antioxidants in the tear film’s composition which is protective. This composition directly affects the activity of the stem cells causing the extra cell multiplication. When eye drops, which contained antioxidants were used, activity of the stem cells returned to their normal rate.

The study suggests that lack of sleep negatively affects stem cells of the cornea which might cause vision impairment on a long term basis. Additional studies are need to confirm these processes occur in human stem cells of the cornea. And other studies are needed to test the effectiveness of local antioxidant therapies in treating health issues with the cornea due to lack of sleep.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Sleep deprivation induces corneal epithelial progenitor cell over-expansion through disruption of redox homeostasis in the tear film