Ophthalmic insert offers additional relief as adjunct dry eye therapy

February 15, 2010

The use of a hydroxypropyl cellulose ophthalmic insert (Lacrisert, Aton Pharma) has been proven to offer much relief to patients suffering from dry eye syndrome.

Key Points

Lexington, KY-The use of a proprietary hydroxypropyl cellulose ophthalmic insert (Lacrisert, Aton Pharma) has been proven to offer much relief to patients suffering from dry eye syndrome. According to one ophthalmologist, the novel insert can be effective in the long-term treatment of moderate to severe dry eye symptoms and can be useful as an adjunct therapy, particularly when other topical treatment regimens fall short.

"Patients with dry eye syndrome who use [the insert] typically will get a maximum therapeutic effect within the first 3 to 6 months," said Bruce H. Koffler MD, of Koffler Vision Group, Lexington, KY. "Interestingly, those patients who have been using [the insert] for a while have the most difficulty coming off it because they get so accustomed to the local comfort and relief that [it] can provide."

Although 69% of the patients were 60 years of age or older, the study also included a 12-year-old girl suffering from Wegener's granulomatosis with concomitant severe dry eye symptoms.

According to Dr. Koffler, the insert is extremely safe and there is no age limitation in prescribing it. The study population also included five contact lens wearers who still were using the insert as of the evaluation date. These patients were classified as having severe keratitis, and all five patients showed a dramatic improvement from baseline after the insert was added to their regimen, which may improve contact lens tolerance.

"Many practitioners erroneously believe that [the insert] may cause a residuum in the eye, hampering and irritating the contact lenses and vision, which is simply not the case. In reality, [the insert] can be effectively used with all types of contact lenses," Dr. Koffler said.

"A lot of people get rejected [for contact lens wear] because the practitioner thinks that their eyes are too dry to wear them," he said. "It would be good to perform a trial with [the insert] in contact lens wearers to put this false notion to rest."

According to Dr. Koffler, the insert can improve significantly the signs and symptoms of dry eye in contact lens wearers and can provide longer-lasting symptomatic relief from potential irritation of contact lenses mostly due to dry eye symptoms, more so than the other available treatments. This can improve satisfaction in contact lens wearers.