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Understand the influence of COVID-19 on the Artificial Tears Market with our analysts monitoring the situation across the globe.

Global Statistics Representing Artificial Tears Market Scenario

Artificial tears solution is primarily used to lubricate dry eyes that are caused due to reduced tear production, increased tear evaporation, or imbalance in tear composition. The solution helps in protecting the eyes from injury and ensuring moisture retention. Growing urbanization along with the rising number of desk jobs is boosting the market growth. For instance, the world’s population living in the urban area is projected to increase from 55% in 2018 to 68% in 2050. This is further supported by rising prevalence of dry eye disease coupled with rising demand for lubricant eye drops. As per a study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, the annual prevalence of dry eye disease increased from 0.8% to 3.0% from 2005 to 2012.

What Could Emerge as the Market Drivers?

  1. Supportive initiatives and advancing technology for improving dry eyes treatment are expected to flourish the market growth. For instance, ‘2017 International Dry Eye Workshop II’ was conducted to ease the differences in treatment approaches adopted by ophthalmologists across several countries and to emphasize development of a standard algorithm that includes various treatments like use of artificial tears, primary treatment methods, and recent surgical applications.
  2. Artificial tears account for over 60% of the pharmaceutical dry eye treatment market. Manufacturers of the artificial tears are adjusting the proportion of inactive constituents to improve the effectiveness of the active ingredients such as propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, hypromellose, carboxymethylcellulose, and glycerin. For instance, Alcon (Novartis) has added boric acid and guar gum in the Systane family of products to form a gelling matrix when the eye drop is exposed to physiologic pH. This is further supported by the rising number of laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses (LASIK surgery). As of 2016, 40 million LASIK surgeries have been performed globally. It is considered to be one of the most popular and reliable procedures for refractive surgeries. The surgery involves cutting a few of the corneal nerves. However, it adversely affects the corneal sensitivity wherein the eye fails to sense the need for lubrication. This, in turn, causes dry eye syndrome. Thus, with the increasing volume of LASIK surgeries, the demand for artificial tears is expected to increase over the forecast period.
  3. Increasing the incidence of cataracts among the rapidly aging population globally is also positively impacting the market growth. As of 2013, age-related cataract affected over 22 million people in the U.S. where direct medical costs of cataract treatment accounts for USD 6.8 billion. It is estimated that the number of patients with cataracts is expected to rise to 30 million by 2020. It is usual for the patients to experience symptoms of dry eye syndrome after a few months following the cataract surgery. Thus, the demand for artificial tears is expected to increase among the patients after cataract surgery.

The excessive usage of artificial tears may cause redness, inflammation, and eye pain, which might limit the use of artificial tears. However, the development of preservative-free tear solutions is expected to mitigate the risks of side effects, thereby, changing the market dynamics over the forecast period.

Cellulose Derived Artificial Tears: Most Prescribed

Global artificial tears market is segmented by type, delivery method, and application. By type, the market is segmented into cellulose derived tears, glycerin derived tears, oil-based emulsion tears, polyethylene glycol, and propylene glycol-based tears. Currently, the cellulose derived tears are dominating the market by generating a huge amount of revenue. From the last few decades, carboxymethyl cellulose has remained to be the most used cellulose derived artificial tear solution. As per a study involving 484 artificial tears prescriptions, 256 were prescribed for carboxymethyl cellulose, and 186 were for hydoxypropyl cellulose.

Glycerin Derived Artificial Tears to Boost the Market Growth

Glycerin derived tears segment is expected to grow at the fastest CAGR in the years to come. This can be attributed to their ability to retain eye moisture for a longer period. In addition to this, the product is cheaper than other types, which is further driving demand for the product. Oasis Tears (Oasis Medical Inc), Refresh Optive and Refresh Optive Advanced (Allergan), and Tears Naturale Forte (Alcon) are some of the readily sold glycerin-based artificial tears.

Eye Drops: First-Line Treatment of Dry Eyes

By the delivery method, the artificial tears market is segmented into eye drops and ointments. In 2018, eye drops remains the leading revenue-generating segment in the market, owing to its commercial availability in the form of eye drops. The product is considered as the mainstream treatment and the first line of therapy for dry eye syndrome. Furthermore, it reduces the need for ointment based artificial tears.

Looking at the side effects of the product, the consumers are preferring the products that are free from preservatives. In line with this, manufacturers have started investing in R&D to develop eye drops free from preservatives.

Millennials Leading the Demand for Artificial Tears

Based on the application, the global artificial tears market is segmented into dry eye treatment and contact lenses moisture. The contact lens moisture segment is projected to grow at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period on account of its increasing adoption across the globe. As per our analysis, more than 125 million people use contact lenses globally. The eye care industry is extensively targeting the millennials as they are the major adopters of contact lenses. However, the demand for single-use contact lenses is also rising in the developed economies, which may have some impact on market growth.

Geographic Landscape: Who is Leading the Market?

Geographically, the global artificial tears market is segmented into four regions: the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East & Africa (LMEA).

Americas is likely to dominate the global artificial tears market. This can be attributed to the high adoption of treatment therapies and the presence of a favorable reimbursement framework. Dry eye disease is one of the most prevalent conditions in the U.S. as nearly 30% of the U.S. population suffers from dry eye disease. This is further supported by increasing demand for LASIK and refractive surgeries and high adoption of contact lens. For instance, as per CDC estimates an estimated number of 45 million people wear contact lens in the country, representing high demand for artificial tears. Rising medical tourism in the countries such as Brazil and Mexico is further expected to propel the market growth. Medical tourism in Brazil is expected to grow by 35% in the coming five years. Ophthalmic surgery is one of the attractive sectors for medical tourism in Brazil and Mexico.

Europe is likely to emerge as the second largest artificial tears market globally. This can be attributed to increasing prevalnces of age related ophthalmic disorders and dry eye diseases. As per European Society of Retina Specialists (EURETINA), age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects nearly 34 million people in European Union, every year. This number is expected to rise by 25% by 2050. Similarly, the prevalence of diabetic eye disease is also high in the region. Nearly, 4 million European people suffer from diabetic eye diseases and about 25% of the diabetic eye disease cases require surgical intervention, which is expected to increase the demand for artificial tears in post-operative care.

Asia Pacific is likely to emerge as the fastest-growing region for artificial tears as a result of increasing demand for contact lenses, rising disposable income, and economic development in countries such as China and India. Rising geriatric population, coupled with increasing incidences of eye-related diseases also represents a significant opportunity for market growth. For instance, the geriatric population in Japan is expected to increase from 27.7% in 2015 to over 40% by 2050. Artificial tears contribute the majority of the revenue to the regional dry eye treatment market.

Visual impairment is one of the major health concerns in Africa. Cataracts, glaucoma, and uncorrected refractive errors are the leading health concerns in Africa. However, the adoption of surgical interventions is significantly low in African countries. The awareness regarding the ophthalmic conditions and treatment therapies is low in both the Middle East and Africa. However, with the changing dynamics in the healthcare sector in the Middle East, this trend is expected to change in the coming years.

Key Players

The global artificial tears market is highly competitive with the presence of players such as Akron Inc., Allergan plc, Novartis International AG, Johnson & Johnson, Ocusoft Inc., Aura lab Ltd., and Carl Zeiss AG. These market players are adopting various strategies like mergers and acquisitions and new product launches to sustain in the intense competition.

  • In February 2017, Johnson and Johnson acquired three business segments of Abbott Medical Optics, namely, consumer eye health, cataract surgery, and laser refractive surgery. The acquisition was done to expand its global footprint as well as expand its consumer base across the globe.
  • In June 2018, Novartis, one of the market leaders in vision care, announced a spinoff of Alcon business to a standalone company, Alcon, Inc.
  • In July 2018, Allergan announced to expand its Refresh portfolio with launch of a new artificial formulation called ‘Refresh Repair Lubricant Eye Drops.’ This is the first and the only artificial tear in the U.S. that contains carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), osmoprotectants, and hyaluronic acid.
  • Some of the key players, such as Alcon, are taking initiatives to raise awareness about eye drops for dry eyes. The company has launched a multimedia campaign in the U.S. to reach the target population of over 30 million in the country. The company has partnered with Venus Williams—a tennis champion suffering from a dry eye—to launch Systane Complete.

Our Report Covers

  • Historical inferences, findings & analysis of the market from 2016 to 2018
  • Projections and performance forecast analysis for the future from 2019 to 2026
  • Production and consumption point of view (POV) analysis
  • Market drivers, restraint and opportunity analysis, to define market dynamics covering industry, regulatory, innovation, technological & pricing trends
  • Comprehensive competitive landscape mapping with recent development covering market leadership, competency, sustainability, and prospects

Artificial Tears Market Segmentation

By Type

  • Cellulose Derived Tears
  • Glycerin Derived Tears
  • Oil Based Emulsion Tears
  • Polyethylene Glycol and Propylene Glycol-Based Tears

By Delivery Method

  • Eye Drops
  • Ointments

By Application

  • Dry Eyes Treatment
  • Contact Lenses Moisture

Regions Covered:


  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
    • Mexico
  • South America
    • Brazil
    • Argentina
    • Rest of South America


  • Western Europe
    • UK
    • Germany
    • France
    • Italy
    • Spain
    • Rest of Western Europe
  • Eastern Europe


  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia
  • Rest of Asia-Pacific


  • The Middle East
    • Saudi Arabia
    • UAE
    • Qatar
    • Rest of the Middle East
  • Africa

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Cellulose derived tears type segment is expected to be leading segments in Artificial Tears Market during the forecast period.
Growing urbanization along with the rising number of desk jobs, rising prevalence of dry eye disease are key factor expected to drive Artificial Tears Market during forecast period.
Akron Inc., Allergan plc, Novartis International AG, Johnson & Johnson, Ocusoft Inc. are the top players in Artificial Tears Market.
Americas is expected to hold the highest market share in Artificial Tears Market.
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