The first thing we think of when we have dry eye symptoms is hydrate the eyes. There are lots of artificial tears on the market. Some are good, and some not so good.
The key is to use a drop that is preservative-free. Preservatives are chemicals that can actually irritate the surface of the eye after the liquid drop evaporates. I always recommend Oasis tears because they provide optimal lubrication to maintain a healthy eye surface and alleviate dry eye symptoms. The vials come in two versions: regular and “plus”, which are just thicker and last longer for more effective relief; however, they may cause a bit of “oily” vision for a few minutes.
If you have difficulty opening and using the single-use vials, there is another preservative-free artificial tear that works great called Retaine HPMC, which is a bottle that is easy to use. I prescribe this one for people with arthritis, Parkinson’s, injuries, or movement limitations that make it challenging to put in eye drops.
If you feel you need to use an artificial tear more than once a week, you should have your eyes checked by an eye doctor to find out the cause of your dry eye symptoms. You may need a more complete treatment plan, as artificial tears provide temporary relief but do not treat the underlying condition. We often find that patients who have frequent symptoms need eyelid treatments such as hypochlorous gel, eyelid wipes, fish oil supplements, and possibly lid therapy or procedures such as miboflo, punctual plugs or lid debridement. Find out more about these procedures, which we perform at Advanced Vision Care and Dry Eye Spa here.