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Relief for Dry Eye

Judy Purdy


UGA IV, the late University of Georgia bulldog mascot, was among the first canines to benefit from UGA research on chronic dry eye. Now that the FDA has approved a similar prescription drug, people are also finding relief.

People with a disease called chronic dry eye now have access to a new treatment based on research at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine.

Last December the U.S. Federal Drug Administration approved the drug RESTASIS™ for chronic dry eye in humans. The prescription drug, which became available in April, is based on UGA research conducted by veterinary ophthalmologist Renee Kaswan.

Dry eye is characterized by an insufficient production of tears, which lubricate the eye and remove foreign debris. Each year, an estimated one million Americans experience symptoms caused by chronic dry eye. The irritating and often painful condition can lead to serious cornea damage.

"Dr. Kaswan's invention reduces inflammation of the tear ducts and enables them to resume their normal functions," said Rob Fincher, director of technology commercialization for the university's research foundation. "To my knowledge this is the first prescription drug to go on the market that treats dry eye in people by allowing the tear ducts to produce tears."

Kaswan, a former UGA veterinary professor, first developed a treatment for dry eye in dogs, where it is a common cause of blindness. The late university bulldog mascot, Uga IV, was among the first dogs to benefit from the canine treatment, which is now marketed in more than 35 countries.

While many prescription drugs are developed for people and later used for dogs, "this may be the first time a drug has been developed first for veterinary use and then tested and approved for use in human patients," Kaswan said.

For more information contact, Rob Fincher at


Research Communications, Office of the VP for Research, UGA
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