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Dry eye disease is a common ocular condition affecting millions of people worldwide. Artificial tears are the first line therapy for the management of dry eye disease. Artificial tear formulations contain a variety of active ingredients, biologically active excipients, and preservatives. Many of these formulations are also available as preservative-free. This study was conducted to inspect artificial tear formulations currently marketed in the United States for their active ingredients, biologically relevant excipients, and preservatives. The marketed artificial tears were examined at various US retail pharmacy chains and using the manufacturers’ website to compile information about active ingredients, inactive ingredients, and preservatives. The currently marketed artificial tears can be grouped into four categories based on their active ingredients. The artificial tears also contain biologically active chemicals listed as inactive ingredients, which have osmoprotectant, humectant, and tear film lipid layer or mucous layer mimicking properties. Most artificial tears contain vanishing type preservatives such as purite or sodium perborate and safer quaternary compound polyquaternium-1. The majority of these artificial tear formulations are also available as preservative-free single dose unit. The study provides a formulary of artificial tears based on active ingredients, biologically active excipients, and the preservative-free option. The formulary should assist healthcare providers in making a stepwise and rational selection of appropriate artificial tears for patients suffering from dry eye disease.


This article was originally published in Journal of Clinical Medicine, volume 10, in 2021.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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