Dry Eyes? Arthritis Drug May Offer Some Relief

  • BY Lainie Petersen

rubbing dry eyes
Do dry eyes cramp your style? You aren’t alone. Many people suffer from the condition, often caused by low tear production. Fortunately, however, some relief may be on the way. A recent study showed that anakinra (also known by its brand name, Kineret), a drug typically prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, significantly reduced dry eye symptoms. After the study was discontinued, those who experienced relief found that their old dry eye symptoms returned, indicating that the drug was genuinely effective.
Even better, study participants didn’t report any serious side effects.
The study is preliminary, however, we’ll need to wait for further investigation before anakinra can be approved for dry eye treatment. Meanwhile, here’s some tips for managing dry eye symptoms:


  • Get an eye exam: Dry, itchy eyes have a number of causes, so it’s a good idea to seek medical attention to identify the cause of your discomfort. In some cases, your symptoms may be the result of a serious autoimmune disorder or other disease that can affect more than just your eyes. Early diagnosis of these conditions is important, so don’t hesitate to get help. Depending on the cause of your dry eyes, your eye doctor can prescribe various treatments, which may include lubricating eye inserts, antibiotics, or anti-inflammatory eye drops. Other options include surgery on your tear ducts or wearing special contact lenses.

  • Practicing good eye hygiene, such as carefully removing eye makeup, and using preservative-free eye drops can sometimes make a difference in how your eyes look and feel.

  • Take breaks when engaged in activities that can cause eye strain and irritation, such as working at a computer.

  • When selecting sunglasses or prescription glasses, look for a design that provides significant coverage for your eye area: Zenni’s “sport style” frames can be a good option.