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Ophthalmic Lubricant Ointments

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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  • The eye produces natural lubricants, mainly tears, to help protect the cornea and other surface structures of the eye.
  • Injury or diseases, such as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), can cause a decrease in production or loss of these vital natural lubricants, leading to corneal ulcers and corneal inflammation and scarring, which can lead to impaired vision and blindness.
  • Ocular lubricant ointments are used to treat a number of eye conditions, such as KCS.
  • In animals with severe KCS, enough tears must be present to dissolve the ointment, or the ointment must be applied simultaneously with an artificial tear solution.
  • All forms of the ophthalmic lubricant ointments are available over the counter, but should be administered under the guidance of a veterinarian.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Lubricants are supplied by many drug companies under a variety of trade names and various generic formulations.
  • Veterinary formulations: Paralube Vet Tears, Paralube Vet Ointment.

    Uses of Lubricant Ointments

  • Ophthalmic lubricant ointments are used to sooth irritated and inflamed eyes, to protect exposed eyes, and to lubricate the eye during the treatment of KCS.
  • Lubricant ointments are used to replace or supplement the lipid component of the tear film.
  • They are also used to prevent drying of the cornea in animals under sedation or general anesthesia.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when recommended by a veterinarian, lubricant ointments can potentially cause side effects in some animals.
  • Lubricant ointments should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • On very rare occasions, animals may exhibit irritation to the lanolin component of the ointment, and in those instances a product containing only petrolatum and mineral oil should be used.
  • In general, these products are very well tolerated and can often be used indefinitely. Although rare, if the ointment produces ocular irritation and redness, ocular pain, or a worsening in the amount of ocular discharge, it should be discontinued.
  • Care should be taken to avoid touching the tip of the tube to the surface of the eyelids or eye to prevent contamination of the container. The cap should be replaced immediately after use of the product.
  • There are no documented drug interactions between lubricants and other products.

    How Lubricant Ointments are Supplied

  • Ophthalmic lubricant ointments are available in 3.5 gm tubes.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • Severe dry eye may require applications as frequent as every 2 to 6 hours.
  • Traditionally, the medication is applied as needed to diminish mucous production, to keep the eye moistened and protected, and to keep the animal comfortable.
  • When used during sedation or general anesthesia, the ointments are applied as soon as the animal loses his blink reflex.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse.

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