Artificial Tear Solutions for Dogs and Cats

Overview of Artificial Tears for Dogs and Cats

  • An artificial tear solution, commonly known as Refresh® and many other brand names,  is a wetting agent used to treat keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), also known as dry eye, for dogs and cats.
  • KCS occurs when there is a decrease in tear production. This can cause chronic inflammation of the eye, which may result in a decrease in vision.
  • The various types of artificial tear solutions commercially available attempt to mimic the normal corneal tear film, and to replace components of the natural tear film.
  • Most artificial tear solutions contain preservatives but some are preservative-free. It is believed that preservative-free solutions may be milder and cause less irritation of the cornea, particularly with long-term administration.
  • Artificial tear solutions are OTC (over-the-counter drug). They do not require a prescription, but they should not be administered except under the supervision and guidance of a veterinarian.
  • Artificial tear solutions are not approved for use in animals, but they can be used in an extra-label manner.
  • Brand Names and Other Names of Artificial Tear Solutions

  • Artificial tear solutions are registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Murocel® (Bausch & Lomb); Refresh® Tears and Refresh® Plus (Allergan); Celluvisc® (Allergan); GenTeal® Lubricant Eye Gel (CIBA Vision); and many others. Various generic formulations are also available.
  • Veterinary formulations: none
  • Uses of Artificial Tear Solutions for Dogs and Cats

  • Artificial tear solutions are used to sooth irritated and inflamed eyes, to protect exposed eyes, and to supplement aqueous tear production in the treatment of keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
  • Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when used under the supervision of a veterinarian, artificial tear solutions can potentially cause side effects in some animals.
  • Artificial tear solutions should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • If the solution produces eye irritation and redness, eye pain or a worsening in the amount of eye discharge present, it should be discontinued, and you should contact your veterinarian.
  • Care should be taken to avoid touching the dropper tip to the surface of the eyelids or eye in order to prevent contamination of the container.
  • Most artificial tear solutions are compatible with other water-soluble eye medications. There are no documented drug interactions among these and other products.
  • How Artificial Tear Solutions Are Supplied

  • Artificial tear solutions containing preservatives are available in 15 ml, 25 ml, 30 ml, and 0.5 and 1.0 ounce bottles.
  • Preservative-free solutions are available in disposable single-use 0.1 to 0.2 ounce containers.
  • Dosing Information of Artificial Tears for Dogs and Cats

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • In general, the contact time of these solutions with the surface of the eye is extremely short (just a few minutes), so severe dry eye may require applications as frequently as every 1 to 4 hours.
  • Traditionally, the medication is used as needed to diminish mucous production and keep the animal comfortable.
  • The duration and frequency of application depends on the severity of the condition, the desired degree of lubrication and the development of any adverse effects.
  • Ophthalmic Drugs

    Ophthalmology & Ocular diseases

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