If you have ever gone to the eye section of the pharmacy, you were probably overwhelmed by the number of options available on the shelf for dry eyes. There are dozens of drops, gels, and ointments for dry eyes. “But, which are the best eye drops for dry eyes?”, you ask. That’s a tough question, as different drops, gels and ointments have varying effects on different people. There are a number of different factors causing dry eye and, therefore, numerous treatment options.
Your tear film has three layers:
1. a lipid (oil) based layer
2. an aqueous (water) based layer
3. a mucin layer,
If you have dry eyes, one of these layers may be deficient. A drop, gel or ointment that replaces that layer will help you the most.
Drops may be more effective if you have dehydration throughout the day. Thicker drops or gels, such as Genteal Gel, are better for use before bed as they stay in the eye longer. If you have a deficient lipid layer, an oilier lubricant may be helpful to you.
Most artificial tears have preservatives in them (if they come in a bottle). Prolonged exposure to the preservative, such as using the drops many times a day, may actually make your dryness symptoms worse. Therefore, using a single dose non-prescription drop such as Refresh Plus or Celluvisc may work better for you.
A prescription drop, like Restasis, is often beneficial for most people as it calms the ocular surface and enhances tear production.
Personally, for my moderate dry eye condition, I use a combination of Restasis and Refresh Plus during the day and Genteal Gel at night. The way to find out what will work best for you is to have your eyes examined so your doctor can determine the source of your problem. With that information, you and your doctor can manage your dry eye condition.
This article was written by Dr. Hawks