Polarised light biomicroscopy was used to assess the behaviour and interactions of two polymer-containing preparations of artificial tears, and two lipid-containing ointments, with the normal and abnormal pre-corneal tear film. The preparations were used topically in six normal dogs, and three dogs with keratoconjunctivitis sicca. A transient morphological alteration of the surface lipid layer of the tear film was commonly observed after the use of polymer solutions. The ointments spread as a continuous or semi-continuous layer over the normal, or polymer-supplemented, aqueous tears. Further applications of artificial tears produced only a temporary disruption of this layer. In dogs with keratoconjunctivitis sicca, thickening of the lipid layer of the tear film was observed for over 20 hours after the administration of ointment. These observations are discussed in relation to the prospects for the improved medical treatment of keratoconjunctivitis sicca by the use of polymer-containing solutions and ointments in combination.
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