New eyedrop formula can decrease pain and increase tear production in severe dry eye
Topical treatment shows promising results for alleviating neuropathic pain


Rockville, Md.—Gabapentin eye drops can decrease eye pain and stimulate lacrimal secretion, making it an ideal treatment for severe dry eye new research shows. The study will be presented at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), being held virtually this year.

Dario Rusciano, PhD, of Sooft Italia SpA in Catania, Italy and his team set out to study, understand and find innovative solutions to treat dry eye, which is the most common pathology among eye diseases, causing serious ocular pain, which until now could only be treated palliatively with lubricants and anti-inflammatory drugs. To do this, they turned to gabapentin (GBP), a non-anesthetic drug that would not impair tear production. Using rabbit models, Rusciano and his team concluded that GBP eye drops were endowed with anti-inflammatory, analgesic and secretagogue properties—meaning it can stimulate tear production—making GBP an ideal treatment for patients with severe dry eye who experience neuropathic pain.

“[It] can tackle dry eye disease and neuropathic pain from two angles,” explains Rusciano. “As an analgesic, it dulls pain without interfering with lacrimation; as a 'secretagogue' it can stimulate lacrimation, which is the main defect in dry eye.”

  • Abstract title: Effects of topical gabapentin on ocular pain and tear secretion
  • Presentation start/end time: Wednesday, May 6, 2021, 2:45 – 4:30pm ET
  • Presentation number: 3533518


The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include approximately 10,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders. Learn more at

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Erin Hering