Researchers recently published a study in Stem Cell Reports on how poor sleep can affect the eyes. They found that sleep deprivation can affect both stem cells in the cornea and the tear film surface of the cornea.
The researchers in this study used mice to learn more about how sleep deprivation affects the eyes.
According to the authors, “the cornea is the clear front surface of the eye.” They also write that the cornea has an “overlying tear film” that helps keep the eyes comfortable and offers protection against infection.
The researchers were interested to find out to what degree sleep deprivation may affect stem cells in the cornea.
As Dr. Neil Neimark, a board certified family physician in functional medicine who applies stem cell therapy in his practice, noted in a TEDx Talks podcast, stem cells have “healing power” and “all tissue repair in the body is initiated by stem cells.”
The researchers of the current study assessed gene expression in the mice after 2 days of sleep deprivation and then after 10 days of sleep deprivation.
At the 2-day point, the researchers found that 287 genes were significantly upregulated and 88 were downregulated in corneas. At the 10-day point, they saw 272 significantly upregulated genes and 150 downregulated genes.