Tear Deficiency SyndromeWe’ve known for awhile now that the most common glaucoma treatment (eyedrops) worsen Tear Deficiency Syndrome (also known as “Dry Eye”).  A new study, however, provides convincing evidence that glaucoma treatment drops can result in immediate (short term) worsening of the tear film.

In the April 2011 issue of the journal Clinical Ophthalmology, doctors in Germany tested the quality of patients’ tear film 60 minutes before, and 30, 60, and 90 minutes after instilling glaucoma treatment drops in the eyes of otherwise healthy patients.

What they found was that latanoprost (brand name Xalatan) resulted in the most significant “break up” of the tear film.  This is unfortunate news considering that this drop has just become available as a generic and will likely become even more popular among prescribing doctors.

Another antiglaucoma drop, brimonidine (brand name Alphagan), resulted in a significant decrease of tear production.  As the combination use of latanoprost and brimonidine (both available now as generics) is likely to become more frequent, it will become increasingly important to monitor for the effects of these drops on the tear film.

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