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Clin Ophthalmol. 2010 Nov 3;4:1253-61. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S14113.

Ocular surface disease in patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension treated with either BAK-preserved latanoprost or BAK-free travoprost.

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Huron Ophthalmology, Ypsilanti, MI, USA.



The preservative benzalkonium chloride (BAK) may adversely affect ocular surface health. This study evaluated symptoms of ocular surface disease (OSD) in patients previously treated with a BAK-preserved therapy to lower their intraocular pressure, who either continued that therapy or switched to a BAK-free therapy.


Eligible adult patients with ocular hypertension or open-angle glaucoma that had been controlled with BAK-preserved latanoprost 0.005% monotherapy (Xalatan ®) for at least one month and had a score of ≥ 13 (0 = none, 100 = most severe) on the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire were entered into this prospective, double-masked, randomized, active-controlled, multicenter trial. By random assignment, patients either continued with BAK-preserved latanoprost 0.005% or transitioned to BAK-free travoprost 0.004% (Travatan Z ® ophthalmic solution). OSDI scores were assessed again after six and 12 weeks.


For the 678 evaluable patients, mean change in OSDI score from baseline to week 12 favored the travoprost 0.004% BAK-free group, but was not statistically different between groups (P = 0.10). When patients with mild OSD at baseline were assessed after 12 weeks, the mean OSDI score was significantly lower (P = 0.04) in the BAK-free travoprost 0.004% group (score = 11.6 ± 10.8 units) than in the BAK-preserved latanoprost 0.005% group (score = 14.4 ± 11.9 units), and a significantly larger percentage (P < 0.01) improved to normal OSDI scores in the BAK-free travoprost 0.004% group (62.9% of group) than in the BAK-preserved latanoprost 0.005% group (47.0% of group). Patients pretreated with BAK-preserved latanoprost 0.005% for >24 months were significantly more likely (P = 0.03) to improve to a normal OSDI score after 12 weeks if they were switched to BAK-free travoprost 0.004% (47.9% of group) than if they remained on BAK-preserved latanoprost 0.005% (33.9% of group).


Switching from BAK-preserved latanoprost 0.005% to BAK-free travoprost 0.004% yielded significant improvements in symptoms of OSD in patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension.


benzalkonium chloride; glaucoma; ocular surface; preservative; prostaglandin analog

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