How To Choose Normal Drops For Dry Eyes?

Dry eyes can have many causes, from inflammation of the lacrimal glands, malformation of the eyelid, and increased evaporation of tears, to the effects of continuous contact lens wear, laser vision correction, and the abuse of eye drops. To relieve the symptoms, eye drops are used for all these diseases.

But drops will not always help. You may need prescription medications from your doctor to treat dry eyes. In this article, we will only talk about eye drops and gels that are sold without a prescription. They are also called artificial tears.

Better go to the doctor

Our articles are written with love for evidence-based medicine. We refer to authoritative sources and go to doctors with a good reputation for comments. But remember: the responsibility for your health lies with you and your doctor. We don’t write prescriptions, we make recommendations. Rely on our point of view or not – you decide.

What is important to know about eye drops

Artificial tears differ in composition. There is no universal eye moisturizer that would suit all people without exception. You may have to try several types of drops with different composition.

There are two types of eye drops: with and without preservatives. Drops with preservatives are usually sold in large bottles that are intended for repeated use. Such drops are stored longer and therefore are cheaper. But in some people with severe dry eyes, drops with preservatives irritate the mucous membranes. If you have to drip into your eyes more than four times a day, buy drops without preservatives, they will be better for your eye care. They are usually sold in small disposable bottles of 10-20 per pack.

Eye drops are sometimes available as gels. Such products are thicker, so they stay on the surface of the cornea longer, so you can use them less often than drops. However, they cause temporary blurred vision and are recommended to be taken at bedtime.

Moisturizers for the eyes with sodium hyaluronate

Sodium hyaluronate is a biopolymer capable of retaining moisture on the surface of the eye and thus helping to hydrate its mucosa.

Prices for drops with hyaluronate mainly depend on the volume of packaging and the manufacturer. Drops without preservatives will cost a little more.

Evidence of effectiveness. According to a small study, artificial tears with sodium hyaluronate work at least as well as products with polyvinyl alcohol. The benefits of such drops are confirmed by other studies, both independent and funded by pharmaceutical companies.

Most likely, these drops will suit healthy people who work a lot at the computer or wear contact lenses. But for patients with eye diseases, it makes sense to consult about these drops with your doctor: they are not in authoritative clinical guidelines. Perhaps this is no accident.

Eye drops with glycerin

An emulsion based on mineral oils with glycerin, which should moisturize the eyes.

Evidence of effectiveness. Only one component of the emulsion, glycerin, has evidence of effectiveness: artificial tears based on it are really capable of moisturizing the eyes. How other components will work, and whether they will work at all, is unclear.

When to See a Doctor

Sometimes dry eyes are a symptom of a serious illness. For example, Sjögren’s syndrome, in which the immune system attacks its own glands that produce saliva and tears.

See your doctor as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms:

  • You use drops, but dryness does not go away within a few days.
  • It hurts to touch the eyes.
  • The eyelids are swollen, red, or peeling.
  • Purulent discharge from the eyes appeared.
  • In addition to dryness in the eyes, there were pains in the joints and dryness in the mouth.