Purpose: We compared the efficacy and safety of sodium hyaluronate (SH) and carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) in treating mild to moderate dry eye. Methods: Sixty-seven patients with mild to moderate dry eye were enrolled in this prospective, randomized, blinded study. They were treated 6 times a day with preservative-free unit dose formula eyedrops containing 0.1% SH or 0.5% CMC for 8 weeks. Corneal and conjunctival staining with fluorescein, tear film breakup time, subjective symptoms, and adverse reactions were assessed at baseline, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks after treatment initiation. Results: Thirty-two patients were randomly assigned to the SH group and 33 were randomly assigned to the CMC group. Both the SH and CMC groups showed statistically significant improvements in corneal and conjunctival staining sum scores, tear film breakup time, and dry eye symptom score at 4 and 8 weeks after treatment initiation. However, there were no statistically significant differences in any of the indices between the 2 treatment groups. There were no significant adverse reactions observed during follow-up. Conclusions: The efficacies of SH and CMC were equivalent in treating mild to moderate dry eye. SH and CMC preservative-free artificial tear formulations appropriately manage dry eye sign and symptoms and show safety and efficacy when frequently administered in a unit dose formula.
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