Each week we will aim to bring out a concise email that provides 4-5 key pieces of information addressing a specific issue in clinical therapeutics.
This week: Dry Eyes
Duncan Yorkston, Clinical Pharmacist, Ward MM
Dry eye syndrome is common, chronic condition which increases in prevalence with age. It is most often caused by either decreased tear production or increased tear evaporation.
- Symptoms may include burning, stinging, grittiness, photosensitivity, blurred vision and reflex tearing. It’s important to consider that blurred vision may also contribute to the risk of falls.
- Dry eye syndrome may be caused by dysfunction of one or more glands associated with tear production or may be secondary to medical conditions including Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid dysfunction, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and Bell’s palsy.
- Medications such as isotretnoin, oestrogen and those with anticholingeric effects are commonly implicated in dry eye syndrome. Examples include oxybutynin, solifenacin, benztropine, tricyclic antidepressants, antipsychotics and sedating antihistamines.
- It is important to correct secondary causes of dry eye where possible. In instances where this not feasible or if symptoms persist, ocular lubricants may be useful.
- There is no evidence to suggest that any lubricant is superior to another. Generally gels and ointments last longer than drops and this may assist for improving compliance. Preservatives may cause eye irritation and a preservative free formulation should be considered for those with severe dry eye or persistent symptoms.
Please consider these issues when preparing or interpreting RMMR reports or education sessions. Contributions of content or suggested topics are welcome and should be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.