Testosterone: A Possible Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome

Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD – Women’s International Pharmacy

An estimated 4- to 6-million older Americans suffer from mild to severe dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome (DES) has a wide variety of causes. This condition, while not life threatening, can be quite uncomfortable and distressing. (See our newsletter about Dry Eyes for more information.)

David Sullivan, a medical research scientist with the Schepens Eye Research Institute (a Harvard Medical School Affiliate), has spent the last 32 years studying the interrelationships between sex, sex steroids, and dry eye disease. His work has focused on the essential role that androgens play in the health and vital functioning of tear-producing glands.

Dr. Sullivan’s research suggests that testosterone deficiency contributes to tear instability and evaporation of the oil component of the tear layer. He supports the use of testosterone in the treatment of DES.

C.G. Connor studied the use of testosterone cream in DES. He found that testosterone cream, when applied to the eyelids, provided both symptom relief and an increase in overall tear production.
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