Dry Eye & Corneal Disorders

Dry eye—also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca—is a common condition of the eyes’ tear film, attributed either to reduced tear production or to excessive tear evaporation. It can cause varying degrees of discomfort and visual disability, lead to an instability of the tear film, and potentially damage the ocular surface. Although current treatments can help relieve symptoms, dry eye is usually not curable. It can also compromise the results of corneal, cataract, and refractive surgery. The condition is typically diagnosed clinically based on the patient’s symptoms and history.1,2

About 10% of patients with clinically significant dry eye have Sjögren's syndrome.1 These patients also tend to have xerostomia or connective tissue disease. The remaining patients tend to be women who are postmenopausal, pregnant, or taking oral contraceptives or hormone-replacement therapy. Meibomian gland dysfunction, leading to excessive tear evaporation, is also recognized as a key component.2

Early detection and aggressive treatment of the condition can help to prevent corneal ulcers and scarring. The primary treatments include supplemental lubrication of the eye, topical ciclosporin to reduce inflammation and enhance production of the tear layers’ aqueous component, oral omega-3 fatty acids, and plugs made of collagen or silicon that block the puncta.1,2

Santen has developed an ophthalmic ciclosporin emusion, which may offer a unique approach to treating severe keratitis in patients with dry eye that hasn’t improved with tear substitutes. It is approved for use in Europe and Asia and is currently in clinical trials in other regions.


References:

  1. American Academy of Ophthalmology, Cornea/External Disease Panel. Preferred Practice Pattern® Guidelines. Dry Eye Syndrome. San Francisco, CA: American Academy of Ophthalmology; 2013.
  2. Foster CS. Dry eye syndrome (keratoconjunctivitis sicca). Medscape, April 27, 2017. Available at: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1210417-overview#a2. Accessed on July 14, 2017.

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