Preserve our Eyes, not our Drops!    Afficher en Français  Display in English





What's a Preservative

What are the Consequences

Who's at Risk

Are Labs Aware of This

Are Docs Aware of This

What Preservative Which Drop

Are There Alternatives

What Can You Do

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Reactions From Labs


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(This is the summary of the French section if you read that Language a more complete version is available)


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May 2009

After many years of countless discussions, which globally concluded that we were right to demand the ban on preservatives in eyedrops (reaserachers, doctors, medical regulation agencies and inclusive laboratories) but that the situation was too complicated (administratively, technically and economically) to be changed right now, we decided that this is the time to enroll public opinion on this matter to save sights. In the end the rationale is: are we going to let labs make a few additional penny's profit and ruin our eyes because they're unwilling to use alternatives. Thus, we have launched a petition with our partners Gêniris and Amalyste. Since then we have received the support of Pr. Dhouailly and of some associations such as the AFGS (Goujerot-Sjögren), Aniridie Norge, Chroniques Associés, etc.

Don't forget to sign our online petition .

April - May 2009

We've received 3 letters from the EMEA regarding our query on regulation concerning preservatives in eyedrops ( in English page one & page 2 ;in French). It clearly does not satisfy our need of better regulation to ensure patient safety. However, we are please to learn that the EMEA will further investigate this issue with all the European agencies.

Here's our response. It's obvious that there are satisfying alternatives to preservative use (single use vials and specific unpreserved containers). Therefore preservatives have become not only unnecessary but also counterproductive. The only reason they're use is because the industry is willing to make more money while destroying sights and lives!

February 2009

Keratos & Association Gêniris launched an joint action to denounce the use of preservatives and demand better regulation on this matter, targeting the European medical agency (EMEA) and some countries authorities. For example, read the letter send to AFSSAPS (France), INFARMED (Portugal), and AFMPS (Belgique).

EMEA (English)


EMEA et AFMPS-Belgique (French)

EMEA & InFarMed (Portugais)

To date we received and answer from EMEA and Infarmed.

We've also received a support letter by Pr. Dhouailly, who works on  Ontogenesis and Integument Stem Cells (and particularly the cornea).

Support letter from Professeur Dhouailly

Janvier 2009

Petition to the European Parliament

A German citizen (Herr Staubitzer), affected by preservative issue, deposited a petition for the complete ban of preservative at the European Parliament. The petition was accepted and will be examined by the EU parlementarians. Germanophones may find additional info at:

Here's the German version and our attempt to translate in blue:

Date deposit: 21/04/2008
Pétitionnaire: Dipl.-Ing. D. Wilhelm Staubitzer

Titel der Petition: Title of the petition:
Verbot von Konservierungsmitteln in Augentropfen - Prohibition of Preservatives in EyeDrops.

Ziel der Eingabe: Purpose:
Ein generelles Verbot von Konservierungsmittel in Augentropfen zu erreichen durch die Änderung des Europäischen Arzneibuches. A complete ban of preservative in eyedrops to be achieved by the modification of the European pharmacopea.  Ausnahmefälle müssen bei der zuständigen Europäischen Arzneimittelbehörde beantragt werden. All exceptions must be requested at the [EMEA].

Sachverhalt: The Facts:
Millionen von EU-Bürger leiden an Augenerkrankungen und sind oft bei chronischen Erkrankungen (zB Glaukom) lebenslang auf Augentropfen angewiesen. Millions of EU citizens suffer from eye diseases and these are often chronic disease (for instance glaucoma) which require the use of eyedrops for life.  In diesen Augentropfen sind vielfach Konservierungsmittel enthalten. The Drops often contain preservatives. Diese Konservierungsmittel verursachen bei einem Teil der Patienten ua Allergien und erhebliche Schädigungen der Augen-Hornhaut. The preservatives cause in patients serious problems sur as allergies and important lesions of the cornea (of the eyes).

So ist eines dieser an häufigsten verwendeten Konservierungsmittel "Benzalkoniumchlorid (BAK)" inzwischen zum Allergie-Schreck vieler Patienten geworden. Thus, one of the most frequently used preservatives, benzalkonium chloride (BAK) now provokes allergies in many patients. Augenärzte warnen inzwischen vor den schädlichen Nebenwirkungen von Konservierungsmittel wie Allergien, Schädigungen der Augen-Hornhaut, trockene Augen usw. Ophtalmologists warn us against the serious side-effets of these conservations agents such allergies, corneal lesions and dry eyes and the like. 

Es ist heute Stand der Technik, Augentropfen ohne Konservierungsstoffe in Einzeldosisbehältnissen (EDO) abzufüllen. In the state of modern technicque, it's possible to produce drops without preservatives (single use vials).  Die Gefahr von bakteriellen Infektionen wird gerade durch die veralteten Mehrdosenbehältnisse gefördert. The risk of bacterial infection is even reduced compared to multidose containers. Die Einzeldosisbehältnisse sind steril und hygienischer in der Handhabung als die bisherigen Mehrdosenbehältnisse. Manipulation of single use vials is more sterile and hygienic than previous multidose containers. 

Ein Teil der Hersteller von Augentropfen haben es bereits in einer Reihe von Fällen geschafft, durch Einzeldosisbehältnisse (EDO) konservierungsfreie Augentropfen anzubieten. Some produces now offer eyedrops without preservative thanks to single use vials. Die heute noch höheren Herstellkosten für EDO-Augentropfen, würden bei einer generellen Umstellung aller Medikamente ohne Konservierungsmittel, durch die höheren Stückzahlen kostenneutral erfolgen können. The cost of production of single use vials is now superior but with more quantities they could become neutral if all eyedrops are produced without preservatives.

Wir fordern das Europäische Parlament auf, die Voraussetzungen für eine generelle Zulassung von konservierungsfreien Augentropfen zu schaffen und ein Verbot von Konservierungsmitteln, nach einer vernünftigen Übergangzeit, zu erlassen. We ask the EU Parliament to deposit a Directive banning all conservation agents and defining the conditions for a general authorisation of eyedrops after a reasonnable transitory period.

June 2008 to January 2009

Various letter were sent to medical regulating agencies (EMEA and others).

May 2008 - Change in Alcon's policy regarding preservatives. At last!

Alcon, recently bought by Novatis, which had not replied our queries for quite some time (2006),  just sent us this letter that gave us some hope regarding the progressive elimination of preservatives in ophthalmic preparations. Yet, the wording is quite surprising.

Reponse d'Alcon

In any case, let's congratulate Alcon for such sudden change in policy so crucial for many chronic ophtalmic disesases. Basically, for those who do not understand French, it states that they want to ensure better treatments and tolerance of their products (besides the will to listen to patients associations... ;-) . However, more intriguing they state this very dubious sentence: "We use preservatives in our multidose [containers],  and we would like to make available to the patients our products in single use vials. HOWEVER, public authorities play an important role".

This new letter seems to indicate that if Alcon does not produce preservative free drops, it's due to the medical regulating authorities' policy. Oddly ours contacts with the French institutions seemed to prove the opposite (that is they are in favour of single use vials and are aware of the consequences of preservatives. Are they talking about the EMEA in general? Anyway, it sounds like we have to dissipate this "misunderstanding" since apparently everyone is in favour of preservative free drops. If so, all we have to do is to put it in practice. Let's not lose time and save sights.

Read our response in French:  Lire notre Réponse conservateurs pour Alcon .PDF

Even if we are very critical of Alcon we recognise that at least they bothered to answer, which is not the case of Allergan, Pfizer and Novartis for instance.

Early 2008

Théa produces a non-preserved steroid drops (single use vials)

This is the first option in France for this type of cortisone drop. We hope that similar initiatives will develop in the near future as we need more therapeutic options with fewer side-effects. Congratulations to Théa. 

Read the news in French

Pfizer - Visine Uni-Dose* Advance True Tears in a "one-click, one-drop" technology Preservative Free Bottle

A new version of Visine is now available in North America in a preservative-free container. In its Canadian website, the new Visine is presented in this new formulation without benzalkonium (as opposed to the majority of the Visine line). The website mentions that "Preservatives contained in multi-dose bottled products have been shown to be sensitizing to some individuals". Actually, to consider the preservative problem as a sensitization problem means eluding part of the problem and notably the cytotoxic and tearfilm disruption effects of preservative. However, we salute this effort since it's "the only preservative-free formula on the market in Canada that comes in a multi dose bottle." Unfortunately, most of the Visine line remains preserved with benzalkonium. Finally, let's say that product is in fact a multi-dose container and the company chose the misnomer of Uni-dose to name it! In doing so, Pfizer reveals itself as a beginner in matters related to preservative.




This is what we call the 'Preservative Paradox!

Preserve our Eyes, not our Drops!

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