Practical Matters: Artificial tears are vital in treating dry eye
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), or dry eye, is a painful condition in which tear production is decreased or absent and the cornea becomes dry and irritated. If the condition is left untreated, loss of vision can result. Cyclosporine and tacrolimus ophthalmic preparations are commonly used to increase tear production. Typically, dry eye patients are treated for life with cyclosporine or tacrolimus, frequent artificial tears, and perhaps initially with a topical antibiotic or anti-inflammatory until the tear production returns to normal. Frequent applications of artificial tear lubricants are vital to successful treatment of KCS. It is important to remember that KCS can result from a deficiency in not only the aqueous layer of the tear film but the mucous or lipid layer as well.
J. Daniel Brogdon, DVM, MS DACVO