Other biologic products, including amniotic membrane, are available to treat dry eye. Use of mesenchymal stem cells is another potential therapy under investigation.
Infliximab (Remicade, Janssen), an anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy, is another biologic product, as is etanercept (Enbrel, Amgen), used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
“Sometimes the underlying cause of dry eye is rheumatoid arthritis,” Dr. Jeng said. “Technically, a lot of dry eye patients are on biologics, just not the topical forms that you might think about.”
Despite the current focus on biologics, Dr. Jeng believes, it is important to determine first whether the patient’s problem actually is dry eye, rather than something else.
“If you don’t make the right diagnosis, you’re barking up the wrong tree and you’ll never make them better,” Dr. Jeng said.