There is a large market for drops for dry eyes. Want to know the most voted for brands are and the best drops for dry eyes?
Over the counter (OTC) eye drops, commonly called artificial tears, are useful for short term relief of itchy, dry and burning eyes prior to taking time to investigate the underlying causes.
Which Drops for Dry Eyes should I use?
Based on positive feedback from hundreds of users on the boards at Dry-eyezone.com, the following products can prove very useful for short term symptom relief.
- Refresh – Plus
- Murine Tears
Be aware that certain brands of OTC drops contain preservatives that some may have allergic reactions to. Benzalkonium chloride (BAK) is a common preservative used in more than a few artificial tear brands.
It is recommended to avoid using eye drops with BAK as the preserving agent for any longer than a few days to a week due to the potential damage it can do to the tear film and ocular surface.
Note that, eye drops for red-eye removal should also only be used for very short term relief, no more than 2-3 days.
Any longer than this and it is possible for your eyes to suffer from the ‘rebound’ effect or ‘rebound hyperemia’.
This is a side effect of over use. As the active ingredient wears off, blood vessels in the the eye dilate, letting in more blood flow, causing increased redness and hence an an unfortunate cycle of dependency and overuse of the drops.
What about preservative-free eye drops?
Many of the above mentioned products use a more gentle preservative that does not upset the tear film in the same way as some with BAK preservative do.
Disappearing preservatives are also now common place. Once you dispense the drop onto the eye surface, the preservative dissipates into oxygen and water. Great!
Purite, used in Refresh products and GenAqua in Genteal drops and gels are two examples of disappearing preservatives.
A number of brands offer preservative-free drops, including BionTears, Refresh and Systane.
Check the ingredients for every product carefully, if trialing a few, and also the active preservative included and avoid BAK preservatives where ever possible.
I used them sparingly and on those real flare-up days or when I new I would unavoidably need to be at the computer a lot.
How long should I use eye drops for?
Generally, a period of approximately three weeks is long enough to know whether a particular drop for dry eyes is working for you. Many people report one brand works beautifully for them, while others are not as effective. It is often a trial and error process.
In some cases of serious aqueous-deficient dry eyes, constant wetting of the eye surface is needed every 2-3 hours in order to keep partial abrasion damage from occurring to the eye surface. In these more serious cases a doctors or specialists advice should always be followed.
For the most part, drops for dry eye management should be a temporary solution while the underlying causes are being investigated.
For many people, overuse of computers, TV and increasing use of smartphones and iPads play a significant role in eye fatigue and bloodshot eyes.
Drops for dry eye relief are an important aspect in your eye care regime – and I used many myself. However, relying on artificial tears long-term is a sign that a more serious problem may need further investigation.
Preservative-free is always best and don’t be hesitant to trial a few of the above brands to see which works best for your specific situation.
And while it’s tempting to get treat your red or bloodshot eyes with over-the-counter drops containing strong anti-histamines, tread very carefully as rebound redness can make the problem worse.
What drop works best for you? Leave me a comment.