The Dry Eye Zone

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Abstract: BAK BAAAD

Hopefully you all know this. But, it doesn't hurt to have the world expert in BAK say so. If your doctor has you on a BAK-containing medication used multiple times daily and has NOT discussed the risks with you, bring him a copy of this and talk about it.

On the other hand, sigh, in light of the problems preservative free vials pose for the elderly (see recent post) solutions are not always obvious or readily at hand.

Detrimental effect of preservatives in eyedrops: implications for the treatment of glaucoma.
Baudouin C.
Acta Ophthalmol. 2008 Jun 3. [Epub ahead of print]

Antiglaucoma medications are often associated with ocular adverse reactions such as dry eye, and burning or stinging sensations. These undesirable effects may lead to treatment discontinuation and reduced quality of life in patients with glaucoma. Antiglaucoma medications usually contain benzalkonium chloride (BAK) as a preservative. Animal studies, in vitro studies and in vivo experiments have demonstrated various adverse effects of BAK. Clinical studies have also shown an increased incidence of adverse events with BAK and have demonstrated that the withdrawal of preservatives reduces these effects. Collectively, these data suggest that preservative-free antiglaucoma treatments have clinically relevant benefits for patients.
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