What is the optimum artificial treament for dry eye?

  • Laika Essa

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisOphthalmic Doctorate


Dry eye disease is a common clinical condition whose aetiology and management challenges clinicians and researchers alike. Practitioners have a number of dry eye tests available to clinically assess dry eye disease, in order to treat their patients effectively and successfully.
This thesis set out to determine the most relevant and successful key tests for dry eye disease diagnosis/ management. There has been very little research on determining the most effective treatment options for these patients; therefore a randomised controlled study was conducted in order to see how different artificial treatments perform compared to each other, whether the preferred treatment could have been predicted from their ocular clinical assessment, and if the preferred treatment subjectively related to the greatest improvement in ocular physiology and tear film stability.
This research has found:
1. From the plethora of ocular the tear tests available to utilise in clinical practice, the tear stability tests as measured by the non-invasive tear break (NITBUT) up time and invasive tear break up time (NaFL TBUT) are strongly correlated. The tear volume tests are also related as measured by the phenol red thread (PRT) and tear meniscus height (TMH). Lid Parallel Conjunctival Folds (LIPCOF) and conjunctival staining are significantly correlated to one another. Symptomology and osmolarity were also found to be important tests in order to assess for dry eye.
2. Artificial tear supplements do work for ocular comfort, as well as the ocular surface as observed by conjunctival staining and the reduction LIPCOF. There is no strong evidence of one type of artificial tear supplement being more effective than others, and the data suggest that these improvements are more due to the time than the specific drops.
3. When trying to predict patient preference for artificial tears from baseline measurements, the individual category of artificial tear supplements appeared to have an improvement in at least 1 tear metric. Undoubtedly, from the study the patients preferred artificial tear supplements’ were rated much higher than the other three drops used in the study and their subjective responses were statistically significant than the signs.
4. Patients are also willing to pay for a community dry eye service in their area of £17.
In conclusion, the dry eye tests conducted in the study correlate with one another and with the symptoms reported by the patient. Artificial tears do make a difference objectively as well as subjectively. There is no optimum artificial treatment for dry eye, however regular consistent use of artificial eye drops will improve the ocular surface.
Date of Award4 Mar 2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJames Wolffsohn (Supervisor)


  • dry eye
  • osmolarity

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