Artificial tears effective for dry eye after cataract surgery

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Posted on 3rd March 2011 by Pacific ClearVision Institute in Cataracts |General

Dry eye is a common cataract surgery complication that can affect patient comfort and visual outcomes of the procedure.

Results of a study published this month in Ophthalmology Times show that non-prescription artificial tears are equally as effective as prescription eye drops for relief of dry eye signs and symptoms after cataract surgery.

In a masked, prospective study, ophthalmologist and eye surgeon Thomas M. Harvey, MD, (Eau Claire, Wis.) evaluated 24 patients with pre-existing dry eye who underwent cataract surgery. Patients were randomly assigned to use either a non-preserved artificial tear (Refresh Plus, Allergan) or a prescription eye drop for dry eye (Restasis, Allergan) twice daily, beginning at least one week before surgery and continuing for two months following the procedure.

In addition to these drops, all patients used a standard regimen of antibiotic (fluoroquinolone) and anti-inflammatory eye drops after cataract surgery.

Patients were evaluated for dry eye disease prior to surgery and one and two months after surgery, using a variety of commonly used subjective and objective measurements.

A total of 21 patients (87.5 percent) attended all study visits. One patient in the Restasis group withdrew from the study due to a burning sensation caused by the prescription cyclosporine eye drops.

Results of the study revealed that the over-the-counter, non-preserved artificial tears (Refresh Plus) were equally as effective as prescription eye drops (Restasis) for dry eye relief following cataract surgery.

“Unlike (after) LASIK, the objective data indicate that topical cyclosporine is no better than a preservative-free artificial tear in the short term after cataract surgery,” Dr. Harvey said.

This may be due to the longer use of prescription anti-inflammatory (corticosteroid) eye drops after cataract surgery, compared with their short-term use after LASIK surgery, according to Dr. Harvey.

SOURCE: Drop, cyclosporine reduce discomfort. Ophthalmology Times. January 15, 2011.

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