Cyclosporine ointment causes an increase in tear production within two weeks, but can take up to six weeks for the effect to reach its maximum level. Therefore, your veterinarian may advise also using artificial tears during the early stages of treatment with cyclosporine, to make your dog more comfortable.
Artificial tears need to be applied very frequently to keep your dogs eyes moist – as often as every 30 minutes for some brands. They are not the treatment of choice for Dry Eye long term as they do not have all of the functions of natural tears (e.g. protecting against infection) and do not control the underlying disease process. It is also impractical for most dog owners to apply artificial tears frequently enough to keep their dog’s eyes comfortable.
Dogs with Dry Eye are susceptible to eye infections, so your dog may also need a short course of antibiotic eye drops or ointment to resolve this problem. Other types of eye drop (e.g. containing a corticosteroid) are also sometimes prescribed to help control inflammation.
Neither antibiotics nor steroids treat the cause of Dry Eye or increase natural tear production.
It is important to recognize that only long term treatment with cyclosporine ointment controls the destruction of tear tissue which is the underlying cause of Dry Eye. For this reason, more than 99% of veterinary specialists in ophthalmology use cyclosporine ointment to treat Dry Eye.