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Medical Treatment of Dry Eye Disease

Exploring the various topical ophthalmic options

Ocular tolerance


Key points

  • According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology no single test is adequate for establishing the diagnosis of dry eye disease.
  • Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common issues affecting the general population and can be caused by several possible conditions either separately or combined.
  •  With treatment, symptoms often improve, however, the disease usually is not curable.
  • Dry eye can  lead to reduced visual function.
  • Common symptoms include the following:  burning, stinging or itching sensation.  Foreign-body sensation.  Frequent blinking.  Redness. Blurry vision. Light-sensitivity.  Eye pain.

Using this program

The program will provide a list of medications for a particular group, common side effects, and other comments that help with selection of a particular product.

Select any option for additional info

Select one or more of the following OTC options:

  Preservative-free options

  Other products

Options available by prescription:

Select one or more for additional information.

  RESTASIS® (cyclosporine) ophthalmic emulsion 0.05%

  Xiidra (lifitegrast 5%)

  LACRISERT® (hydroxypropyl cellulose) Ophthalmic Insert



  1. American Academy of Ophthalmology Basic and Clinical Science Course Subcommittee. Basic and Clinical Science Course. External Disease and Cornea: Section 8, 2017-2018. San Francisco, CA: American Academy of Ophthalmology; 2017:55-56.
  2. Lemp MA. Report of the National Eye Institute/Industry workshop on Clinical Trials in Dry Eyes. CLAO J. 1995;21(4):221-232.80.
  3. Fox RI. Systemic diseases associated with dry eye. Int Ophthalmol Clin. 1994;34(1):71-87.
  4. The Dry Eye Assessment and Management Study Research Group. n−3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for the Treatment of Dry Eye Disease. N Engl J Med 2018; 378:1681-1690 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1709691
  5. Baudouin C. The pathology of dry eye. Surv Ophthalmol. 2001;45(suppl 2): S211–S220.
  6. Lemp MA, Bron AJ, Baudouin C, et al. Tear osmolarity in the diagnosis and management of dry eye disease. Am J Ophthalmol. 2011;151:792– 798.e1.
  7. Wang MTM, Tien L, Han A, et al. Impact of blinking on ocular surface and tear film parameters. Ocul Surf. 2018.
  8. Mathews PM, Karakus S, Agrawal D, Hindman HB, Ramulu PY, Akpek EK. Tear osmolarity and correlation with ocular surface parameters in patients with dry eye. Cornea. 2017;36(11):1352-1357.
  9. Holland EJ, Luchs J, Karpecki PM, et al. Lifitegrast for the treatment of dry eye disease: results of a phase III, randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial (OPUS-3). Ophthalmology. 2017;124(1):53-60.
  10. Mathews PM, Ramulu PY, Swenor BS, Utine CA, Rubin GS, Akpek EK. Functional impairment of reading in patients with dry eye. Br J Ophthalmol. 2017;101(4):481-486.



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Dry Eye Disease Topical Options