Printer Friendly

Dry Eye Syndrome; Treatment.

The mainstays of dry eye treatment are over-the-counter artificial tears in the form of eye drops. Health care professionals generally recommend you use them as often as needed to relieve symptoms. How often you use the drops can depend upon how bothersome your symptoms are, how dry your immediate environment is, and even how humid the weather is. Some patients with dry eye may find that on a rainy day, they need only a drop of artificial tears for the entire day. On a dry, sunny and windy day, they may use a drop every hour.

Artificial tears primarily provide symptomatic relief and do not address the underlying causes of dry eye disease; however, they may be adequate for treating mild or episodic dry eye. Further, they are a "foundation" therapy for all levels of severity and are recommended as a treatment component as additional therapies are added.

An often-recommended brand of artificial tears is Refresh. The family of products includes Refresh Tears and Refresh Plus, for mild to moderate dry eye, Refresh Liquigel and Refresh Celluvisc for moderate to severe dry eye and Refresh P.M. for nighttime use. These products provide quick, temporary relief from symptoms. Two newer formulations, Refresh Endura (preservative-free tears) and Refresh Dry Eye Therapy (preserved artificial tears), can help to maintain lasting comfort and complete dry eye relief over time. Refresh Endura and Refresh Dry Eye Therapy have been demonstrated as effective in eliminating moderate to severe eye dryness. These are the first products for dry eye that treat all three layers of the tear film: They deliver oil to the tear's lipid layer (to minimize evaporation); water to the tear's aqueous layer (to keep the eyes wet); and an ocular lubricant to the tear's mucin layer (to keep the cornea lubricated).

If you are using artificial tears frequently but find they don't seem to relieve symptoms, the preservatives in the drops may be irritating the eye, or creating an allergic reaction. In such cases, preservative-free eye drop brands may be better for you. Refresh Plus is an artificial tear that mimics the soothing properties of natural tears, but is a preservative-free formulation recommended for mild to moderate dry eye. For more serious dry eye, your provider may recommend Refresh Celluvisc, a preservative-free lubricant formula used for long-lasting relief and protection.

Over-the-counter sterile eye ointments, such as Refresh PM, sometimes are recommended for nighttime use to help prevent the eye from drying out, and to treat the scratchy eye feeling that many dry eye sufferers have when they wake up.

Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion 0.05 percent) is the first and only U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment for patients with the tear deficiency of keratoconjunctivitis sicca (or dry eye disease), whose tear production is presumed to be suppressed due to ocular inflammation. Its primary ingredient is cyclosporin A, an immunosuppressive agent used in organ transplantation. The anti-inflammatory effect of topical cyclosporin A improves overall tear function and/or production and restores mucin production by goblet cells. Restasis should not be used by patients with active eye infections.

As a general rule, if you use artificial tears more than two to three times a day for dry eye symptoms, you should visit an eye health professional to discuss additional treatments.


"State-of-the-art management of dry eye syndrome." The American Academy of Opthalmology.

"Dry Eyes." The Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 2007.

"Keratoconjunctivitis sicca." Merck. 2007. Accessed July 2007.

"Dry Eye Syndrome." St. Luke's Clinic. Accessed July 2007.

Bensinger, R, MD, FAAO, spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and chief of ophthalmology at Swedish Hospital, Seattle, WA. Direct interview. Nov. 6, 2000.

"Dry Eye Syndromes, Your Questions Answered." The Schepens Eye Institute, Harvard Medical School. Accessed Sept. 2002.

"Fact Sheet: The Cornea and Corneal Disease." National Eye Institute. June 2001. Accessed Sept. 2002.

"Frequently Asked Questions About Dry Eye." Prevent Blindness America. Updated May 2003. Accessed Sept. 2003.

"Hydroxypropyl Cellulose (Ophthalmic)." Medlineplus Health Information, National Library of Medicine. Updated Sept. 2002. Accessed Sept. 2002.

Petrauskas, JL, MSPH. "Digging in the Ocular Desert." EyeNet Magazine Online. American Academy of Ophthalmology. July 2000. Accessed Sept. 2003.

"Studies Show Promise for Drug to Treat Dry Eye Syndrome." American Academy of Ophthalmology. News release April 11, 2000. Accessed Sept. 2002.

"Dry Eye Syndrome" EyeMDLink. Updated Oct. 2001. Accessed Sept. 2002.

"Conjunctival Histologic Findings of Dry Eye and Non-Dry Eye Contact Lens Wearing Subjects" The CLAO Journal. Jan. 2001. Accessed Sept. 2002.

Cross WD et al. "Clinical and Economic Implications of Topical Cyclosporin A for the Treatment of Dry Eye." Managed Care Interface. Vol. 15 (9): 44-9. Sept. 2002.

Sullivan DA et al. "Androgen Deficiency, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, and Evaporative Dry Eye." Annals New York Academy of Sciences. Vol. 966: 211-22. June 2002.

"LASIK Safe, Effective in Patients With Dry Eyes" Medscape Medical News. Aug. 16, 2002. Accessed Sept. 2002.

"Hormone Replacement Therapy and Dry Eye Syndrome" JAMA. Vol. 286 No. 17, Nov. 7, 2001. Accessed Sept. 2002.

"New Dry Eye Therapy Launched" Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation. 2003. Accessed Sept. 2003.

Schaumberg DA, et al. "Prevalence of Dry Eye Syndrome Among US Women" Aug. 2003. American Journal of Ophthalmology, 136:2 : 318-326.

Market Scope. Report on the Global Dry Eye Market. St. Louis, Mo: Market Scope, July 2004.

"Dry Eye Fact Sheet." The Schepens Eye Institute, Harvard Medical School. Accessed June 2006.

Keywords: dry eye syndrome, artificial tears, over-the-counter, treatment
COPYRIGHT 2007 National Women's Health Resource Center
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:NWHRC Health Center - Dry Eye Syndrome
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 9, 2007
Previous Article:Dry Eye Syndrome; Diagnosis.
Next Article:Dry Eye Syndrome; Prevention.

Related Articles
Dry Eye Syndrome; Facts to Know.
Dry Eye Syndrome; Key Q&A.
Dry Eye Syndrome; Overview.
Dry Eye Syndrome; Treatment.
Dry Eye Syndrome; Facts to Know.
Dry Eye Syndrome; Questions to Ask.
Dry Eye Syndrome; Key Q&A.
Dry Eye Syndrome; Overview.
Dry Eye Syndrome; Facts to Know.
Dry Eye Syndrome; Key Q&A.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters