November 24, 2008

Sleep Herb for Eye Disease

New research reveals an herb commonly used as a sleep aid could save your sight.

The inflammatory eye disease, uveitis, causes sudden redness, pain and rapid vision deterioration accounts for an estimated 10 to 15 percent of cases of blindness in the United States. While there are no optimal treatments for uveitis, results of a new study suggest the herbal supplement, melatonin, may help treat the eye disease.

Researchers found melatonin treatment reduced two proteins that contribute to inflammation. Melatonin also decreased the appearance of clinical symptoms, including inflammation and blood vessel expansion and cataract.

"Alone or combined with corticosteroid therapy, the anti-inflammatory effects of melatonin may benefit patients with chronic uveitis and decrease the rate and degree of corticosteroid-induced complications," study authors wrote.

SOURCE: The American Journal of Pathology, 2008;173:1702-1713


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