The Dry Eye Zone

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Abstract: Another one on the evils of BAK-preserved glaucoma meds

[Challenge and treatment strategy for ocular surface damage in patients with long term use of antiglaucoma drugs.]
[Article in Chinese]

Long term use of topical anti-glaucoma drugs has been shown to induce chronic conjunctivitis, superficial punctate keratitis (SPK) and dry eye symptom. Under these conditions, a loss of goblet cells in conjunctiva, epithelial squamous metaplasia and apoptosis were morphologically revealed. Benzalkonium Chloride (BKC), a most frequently used preservative in eye drops, has been found to be an important factor causing ocular surface damage. Furthermore, a big challenge for ophthalmologists is that toxic damage of medication to ocular surface tissues is mild, poor specificity, and delayed manifestation in patients, especially when coexisting with other ocular surface diseases. Impairment of ocular surface tissues greatly impacts the life quality of patients and subsequently influences compliance with glaucoma therapy. This paper emphasizes to take measures to prevent ocular surface tissue damage resulted from chronic use of topical anti-glaucoma drugs and further discusses the treatment strategy. Effective and long-lasting action drugs should always be selected for glaucomatous patients in order to decrease the frequency of topical instillation or at a more expensive medication, a fixed combination formula can be considered for glaucoma therapy. An early surgery or laser treatment is also proposed for the patients who require an IOP reduction with an existing ocular surface impairment. Future investigation and development of new medications with long-term efficacy and appropriate BKC are suggested and preservative-free or drugs with new preservative materials recommended.

Zhonghua Yan Ke Za Zhi. 2011 Feb;47(2):101-104.
He XG.
Department of Ophthalmology, The Third Affiliated Hospital, The Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400042, China. Email: