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Treatments summary

The most widely used and accepted treatments for dry eye syndrome are summarised below. While we hope that you will find this useful, please note that it is not intended to be a recommend treatment protocol, as each patient's symptoms and circumstances are unique and will often require a combination of therapies.

Dry eye severity
Level 1 / Mild

Educational and environmental/dietary modifications

Elimination of offending systemic medications

Artificial tear substitutes, gels and ointments

Level 2 / Moderate (Added if level 1 treatment is inadequate)

Hot Eyelid Compress and Massage

Non-preserved artificial tear substitutes

Topical/systemic omega-3 fatty acids

Moisture chamber spectacles

Anti-inflammatory agents – Topical corticosteroids

Auto-immune treatment – Topical Ciclosporin A

Tetracyclines (for meibomianitis, rosacea)

Level 3 / Severe (Added if level 2 treatment is inadequate)

Autologous serum, umbilical cord serum

Contact lenses

Permanent punctal occlusion


Punctal plugs (after control of inflammation)

Level 4 / Severe & Disabling
(Added if level 3 treatment is inadequate)

Systemic anti-inflammatory agents


  • Lid surgery
  • Tarsorrhaphy
  • Mucus membrane grafting
  • Salivary gland duct transposition
  • Amniotic membrane transplantation

Adapted from Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS) Committee. 2007 report of the DEWS. Ocul Surf. April 2007; 5(2): 65-204