In the ’80s, it “did a body good.” In the ’90s, you were simply asked whether you “got” it, as celebrities and sports figures sported milk mustaches. And now, researchers are finding a way it can help your eyes: hydrogen (H2)-producing milk can induce H2 production by intestinal microbiota and potentially prevent dry eye.

Japanese researchers looked at 54 mild-to-moderate dry eye patients who use digital devices every day. Subjects were separated into a two groups, one given H2-producing milk and the other a placebo. They were instructed to ingest the assigned beverage once a day for three weeks. Throughout the course of the study, researchers tested the patients for breath-H2 concentration, fluorescein tear film break-up time (fTBUT), Schirmer's test, ocular symptoms using the dry eye-related QOL score questionnaire and other metrics.

They noted the milk drinkers experienced significantly better changes in fTBUT than the placebo group. This difference was especially notable in women. H2-producing milk appeared to slow the decline of tear stability and may prevent short fTBUT-type dry eye by decreasing oxidative stress in the lacrimal functional unit. Looks like milk does a body good after all.

Kawashima M, Tsumo S, Matsumoto M, Tsubota K. Hydrogen-producing milk to prevent reduction in tear stability in persons using visual display terminals. The Ocular Surface. July 25, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].