Eye drops' advanced lipid restorative preserves moisture

May 15, 2005

Miami—Soothe Emollient Eye Drops (Alimera Sciences Inc.) is a welcome addition to the products available to treat dry eye disease. The eye drops help to supplement the oil in the lipid layer in the eye, which in turn helps improve the quality of the tear film.

Miami-Soothe Emollient Eye Drops (Alimera Sciences Inc.) is a welcome addition to the products available to treat dry eye disease. The eye drops help to supplement the oil in the lipid layer in the eye, which in turn helps improve the quality of the tear film.

"Originally, artificial tear formulations were available that supplemented natural tears," said William Trattler, MD, volunteer assistant professor, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, and a cornea specialist in private practice at the Center for Excellence in Eyecare, both in Miami.

"Now we have formulations that contain special key ingredients that treat dry eye," Dr. Trattler added. "As we learn more about dry eye and the tear film, manufacturers have been able to develop tears that can actually have an impact on the dry eye in different ways."

Soothe seems to fill an important gap in the market, according to Dr. Trattler. Not all patients have a favorable response to all dry eye products, so Soothe represents another option for this large population of patients.

"Each patient responds to different products differently depending on their type of dry eye," Dr. Trattler said. "Some patients may lack oil in their tear film. They may have meibomian gland dysfunction or rosacea and do not have a good oil component in their tear film. These patients do fabulously with Soothe."

In practice, Dr. Trattler "mixes and matches" the dry eye formulations to the varying needs of his patients. For example, he may instruct a patient with mild-to-moderate dry eye to use Soothe four times a day. For those patients with moderate-to-severe dry eye, he uses Soothe four times a day together with Refresh Tears (Allergan) or Systane lubricant eye drops (Alcon Laboratories Inc.) four times a day.

In patients with particularly severe dry eye disease, Dr. Trattler may instruct them to use a preservative-free lubricating drop every 1 to 2 hours along with Soothe four time per day.

"There are so many different options available today to provide patients with symptom relief," Dr. Trattler said.

"Soothe can be used for varying degrees of dry eye," he said. "It can be used alone in patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms, and it can be used as part of a comprehensive dry eye treatment therapy for patients with moderate to severe dry eye.

"Those in the latter group may require cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion (Restasis, Allergan) twice daily, the insertion of punctal plugs, among other components," Dr. Trattler added. "Soothe can serve well as one of those components to help patients with moderate-to-severe dry eye disease. One of the characteristics common to these patients is rapid tear film break-up time. By supplementing the oil in the tear, Soothes helps lengthen the tear film break-up time."