Posted by: juliegriffey | February 26, 2010

Q and A with Dr. Chuck Aldridge, Dry Eye Specialist

This week I had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Aldridge, an optometrist who speaks internationally about dry eye and how to best treat it. Dr. Aldridge explained why dry eye has become more common and what course of treatment he recommends. Recently, he has been citing a recent Journal of Ophthalmology article touting the benefits of using Vitamin A drops (Viva-Drops) in the treatment of dry eye.

What percentage of your patient population suffers from dry eye?

A. About 20% of patients suffer from dry eye. However, this number is probably even higher because many don’t get properly diagnosed or self-medicate. By the time the patients symptoms get properly diagnosed the condition may be pretty severe.

Q. Has there been an increase in dry eye cases?

A. Yes – this is due to several factors.

1) Population is getting older.

2) Hormonal imbalances in women lead to dry eye. This can be a result of hormone medications (birth control) and menopausal)

3) Lifestyle/environmental issues lead to dry eye.  We are exposed to more elements that contribute to dry eye. These changes can be external (pollution, etc) or internal inflammatory systemic issues (thyroid, GI, etc)

Q. How do you recommend treating dry eye?

A. The long-standing treatment of dry eye has been a prescription drug called Restasis. However, a 2009 study in the Journal of Ophthalmology compared a Vitamin A drop (Viva-Drops – an over-the-counter medication) to Restasis (prescription drug) in the treatment of dry eye. This was an interesting study for several reasons.

1) There was a large enough patient population in the study to establish statistical significance.

2) The Journal of Ophthalmology is a peer reviewed journal.

3) The effectiveness of treatment did not depend on subjective responses which could lead to bias. (They did not use the patient’s feeling about their dry eye as an outcome measure).

4) Treatment effectiveness was measured by staining, cell physiology, TBUT and Shirmer – all quantitative measures.

5) Even though the Vitamin A drop produced outstanding comparative results, it was interesting to note the mode of action of the two products were different. In other words, they reached the finish line by different paths.

Q. Has the outcome of this study and any other recent research affected your methods of treating dry eye?

A. We know dry eye is a chronic and progressive disease. So even patients that have had good success with Restais may have increased dry eye signs and symptoms later on in the course of the disease. Instead of discontinuing Restasis with these patients and trying a different treatment, I have added Viva-Drops (four times daily as recommended in the study) and found a clinically significant improvement from 30 – 90 days after adding Viva-Drops.

Another added benefit is I have found Viva-Drops to work great with all contact lenses. So patients who are showing mild contact lens intolerance due to dry eye get added relief and longer wear time when I switch their contact lens wetting agent to Viva-Drops.

For more information about Viva-Drops, please see:

Email Dr. Aldridge



  1. […] has been shown to be just as effective – if not more than effective than Restasis®.  See: However, Viva Drops is much less expensive and can be purchased […]

  2. […] contain Vitamin A. They were demonstrated to be just as effective as treating dry eye as Restasis (Learn more about the 2009 Journal of Ophthalmology Study).  Please let us know if you have used VIVA Drops as an alternative to Restasis, and what your […]

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