Go to main content.
Dry Eye Image

Real Relief from Dry Eye: A Q&A with Dr. Carla Mack, Global Head of Professional Affairs
At Alcon, it’s our mission to help every person see brilliantly, which is why we sat down with Dr. Carla Mack, Global Head of Professional Affairs, to unpack how to approach the complex issue of dry eye disease. As an Eye Care Professional, an industry-leading academic, and a dry eye sufferer herself, Dr. Mack discusses how the complexity of the disease requires a varied treatment approach.

Not every patient is the same, but every patient deserves relief from their dry eye symptoms.

Dr. Carla Mack is Global Head of Professional Affairs at Alcon

Can you briefly explain what dry eye disease is?
Dry eye disease is a pervasive and chronic condition that negatively impacts the quality of life for sufferers.1 Some common symptoms include irritation, discomfort, soreness, burning sensations, and more.2,3 Unfortunately, dry eye disease affects almost 1.4 billion people around the world.4 This number is growing rapidly and can be brought on by anything from age to environment, or even technology use.5

In layman’s terms, can you describe what is happening to the eye?
A variety of factors can disturb the eyes’ natural tear film, which is critical to keeping one’s eyes hydrated and healthy. The tear film consists of both the outer lipid layer, which helps prevent tear evaporation, and the mucoaqueous layer, which hydrates and nourishes the eyes’ surface. Deficiencies in either of these layers can lead to the difficulties of dry eye, including trouble performing everyday activities like reading, working, or driving.6

Tear film layers image

Tear film layers

Why is product differentiation important for dry eye sufferers?
As someone who struggles with dry eye, I know that the daily stress and strain of the condition can seriously impact a person’s quality of life. I believe that patients must be made aware of the available options.

As an Eye Care Professional, I recognize that every patient’s visual and ocular experience is unique. Providing differentiated eye care products for something as complex as dry eye is crucial to support all types of dry eye sufferers.

Can you give us a run-through of the Systane® family of artificial tears and its use for different types of dry eye?
Almost half of all dry eye patients are self-diagnosed and often do not know which eye drop to choose.7 So, Systane® Complete is a good place to start because it provides symptom relief for people who suffer from all types of dry eye including evaporative dry eye, aqueous tear-deficient dry eye, or mixed dry eye.

While Systane® Ultra is designed for patients suffering from aqueous deficient dry eye, Systane® Balance lubricant eye drops are designed specifically for patients with evaporative dry eye associated with meibomian gland dysfunction. Systane® Hydration gives long-lasting relief of dry eye symptoms for moderate or chronic sufferers or patients who are recovering from corneal or other eye surgery.8

Could you tell us more about Alcon’s broader innovation efforts in this space?
Our most recent innovation has been to launch preservative-free formulations of Systane® Complete, Systane® Hydration, and Systane® Ultra in an easy-to-use, multi-dose bottle. This was designed for frequent users of artificial tears, or those with sensitive eyes, to be able to effectively and conveniently manage their symptoms and get back to enjoying their lives.

While causes and symptoms of dry eye differ from person to person, Alcon has spent nearly two decades evolving its Systane® family of artificial tears to meet the specific and unique needs of dry eye sufferers. In other words, not every patient is the same, but every patient deserves relief from their dry eye symptoms.

Any final thoughts for patients with dry eye?
I know how quickly the condition can escalate – therefore, I’ve made it a personal mission of mine to help bring innovative solutions to the market for all dry eye sufferers. For my long days on digital devices, I like to use Systane® Complete Preservative Free.

Every patient deserves to have healthy eyes. Now, with its latest innovations in in the Systane® family, Alcon is giving more people relief from their symptoms and helping them see brilliantly.

Speak to your Eye Care Professional about what vision care solutions are right for you. Always read and follow the product label.



  1. Uchino M, Schaumberg DA. Dry eye disease: impact on quality of life and vision. Curr Ophthalmol Rep. 2014;1:51-57.
  2. Canadian Journal of Optometry (2014) Screening, Diagnosis and Management of Dry Eye Disease: Practical Guidelines for Canadian Optometrists. Canadian Journal of Optometry 76 (Suppl. 1): 1-32.
  3. Grubbs JR, Jr., Tolleson-Rinehart S, Huynh K, Davis RM (2014) A review of quality of life measures in dry eye questionnaires. Cornea 33 (2): 215-218.
  4. Source: Market Scope: 2020 Dry Eye Products Market Report.
  5. Stapleton F, Alves M, Bunya VY, Jalbert I, Lekhanont Ket al. (2017) TFOS DEWS II Epidemiology Report. OculSurf 15 (3): 334-365.
  6. Miljanovic B, Dana R, Sullivan DA, Schaumberg DA(2007) Impact of dry eye syndrome on vision-related quality of life. Am J Ophthalmol 143 (3): 409-415.
  7. Consumer Eye Drop Research, Global Path-To-Purchase; Alcon data on file, 2017.