How is Dry Eye treated?

With correct treatment, Dry Eye can be managed successfully long term. The sooner Dry Eye is diagnosed and treated correctly, the better the long-term outlook for the dog’s eyes and vision. As tears are made by the tear tissue, early treatment ensures sufficient tear tissue remains to produce sufficient tears. Dog’s with Dry Eye usually need treatment for the rest of their lives to control tear gland destruction and prevent discomfort and undesirable changes to the eyes, including blindness.

Treatment for Dry Eye has two important aspects:

  1. Control of the underlying destruction of the tear glands which we cannot see
  2. Treating the effects on the eyes that we can see, such as redness and discharge

Your veterinarian may prescribe eye ointment for veterinary use that contains the medicine cyclosporine. This product is used to treat Dry Eye by over 99% of veterinary specialists in ophthalmology and has three important actions. It controls destruction of the tear glands, increases natural tear production and controls painful inflammation. It is also the only veterinary product available for Dry Eye that controls the underlying disease. The product has been formulated for and demonstrated to be effective during long term use in dogs with Dry Eye. The sooner treatment with this product is started, the better the long term result.

The appearance of the eyes should improve shortly after treatment is started – this tells us that the treatment is working! However, it is very important not to stop treatment at this stage, since this disease can not be ‘cured’ and affected eyes will deteriorate again if treatment is stopped, causing further discomfort and resulting in damage to the tear glands.

Regular check ups with your veterinarian are an important part of this treatment. It is vital that the tear production is monitored regularly to ensure the condition is being correctly controlled.