• Isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid) is used in the treatment of severe cystic acne. Adverse ocular reactions, including blepharoconjunctivitis and dry eye symptoms, are frequent side effects of this drug. Our previous observation that retinol is present in tears and lacrimal gland fluid suggests that isotretinoin may also be secreted by the lacrimal gland. Rabbits were treated with isotretinoin, and lacrimal gland fluid was collected from the cannulated lacrimal gland duct. Tears were collected from patients who were being treated with isotretinoin. Lacrimal gland fluid and tears were analyzed by reverse-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography and a peak eluted from each sample, which was identified as isotretinoin. We conclude that the lacrimal gland is able to secrete isotretinoin in addition to retinol and that, in animals and patients treated systemically with isotretinoin, the ocular surface is exposed to the drug via the tear film.
Rismondo V, Ubels JL. Isotretinoin in Lacrimal Gland Fluid and Tears. Arch Ophthalmol. 1987;105(3):416-420. doi:10.1001/archopht.1987.01060030136044