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This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

For many years the treatment of keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye) was limited to the administration of artificial tears - until cyclosporin came on the scene.

Chronic idiopathic keratoconjunctivitis sicca is an immune-mediated disorder that is commonly seen in dogs, but is rare in other species. Tear replacement products have been used for many years to lubricate the surface of the dry eye to reduce physical damage and the inevitable secondary effects that result including corneal pigmentation and ulcer formation.

During the 1990's cyclosporin emerged as the drug of choice for treating dry eye. It acts in several ways :

  • Reduces the immune-mediated damage to tear producing cells
  • Increases tear production - within 10 days of start of administration. Maximal improvement up to 6 weeks after start of administration.
  • Reduces conjunctival hypertrophy, hyperaemia and discharge
  • Reduces corneal oedema, neovascularisation and pigmentation

Problems with use of the drug are :

  • Not all affected dogs will respond to treatment with cyclosporin
  • Whoever applies the ointment must wear protective clothing (impervious gloves), avoid contact with their skin, and wash their hands thoroughly after use.
  • Cyclosporin should not be used in patients with fungal infection of the eyes 

One of the reasons why cyclosporin emerged in the veterinary market so quickly was the use of properly controlled, multicentre studies . In the US one study involved 11 Board Certified Ophthalmologists in 9 different states in a double-blind placebo-controlled study. This effectively gave wide distribution of the results of the study as soon as they were available, and before they were written up and published.


Updated January 2016