A comparison of vitamin a and cyclosporine a 0.05% eye drops for treatment of dry eye syndrome

Am J Ophthalmol. 2009 Feb;147(2):206-213.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2008.08.015. Epub 2008 Oct 9.


Purpose: To compare the efficacy of vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) and cyclosporine A 0.05% eye drops in treating patients with dry eye disease.

Design: Prospective, randomized, controlled, parallel group study.

Methods: A total of 150 patients with defined dry eye disease participated (50 in each treatment group). In 3 identical clinical trials, patients were treated twice daily with cyclosporine A 0.05%, or four times daily with retinyl palmitate 0.05%, or with neither cyclosporine or retinyl palmitate. Adjunctive treatment with preservative-free artificial tears was undertaken four times daily in all 3 groups. Corneal fluorescein staining results, Schirmer tear test (without anesthesia) results, tear film break-up time (BUT), dry eye symptom score, and impression cytologic analysis results were obtained before treatment and at the first, second, and third months after initiation of treatment.

Results: Both vitamin A eye drops and topical cyclosporine A 0.05% treatments led to significant improvement in blurred vision, tear film BUT, Schirmer I score results, and impression cytologic findings in patients with dry eye syndrome (P < .05) compared to the control group treated with preservative-free artificial tears alone.

Conclusions: Both vitamin A eye drops and topical cyclosporine A 0.05% treatments are effective for the treatment of dry eye disorder.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Count
  • Conjunctiva / pathology
  • Cyclosporine / administration & dosage
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use*
  • Diterpenes
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Goblet Cells / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / administration & dosage
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinyl Esters
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vision Disorders / diagnosis
  • Vision Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Vitamin A / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin A / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin A / therapeutic use


  • Diterpenes
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Retinyl Esters
  • Vitamin A
  • retinol palmitate
  • Cyclosporine