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What Eye Drops Are Best For My Eyes?

Are you suffering from red, irritated and scratchy eyes? Do you feel like you have something stuck in your eyes? These are hallmark symptoms of dry eye syndrome, a condition that occurs when your eyes are not properly lubricated due to insufficient tear production, blocked glands, or unbalanced tear composition.

The symptoms can be so unpleasant that many rush to the nearest pharmacy to find the perfect eye drops that will offer them the relief they need so that they can get back to focusing on other things.

However, seeking the ideal artificial tears to relieve dry eyes can be a daunting process. The eye drops shelf at the drug store offers so many options that it’s hard to know which ones are right for you. What’s more, some can actually make your symptoms worse.

Not all eye drops are created equal—currently, there are 6 main categories of artificial tears available over the counter. Choosing the artificial tears based on your specific needs can help narrow your options.

The 6 Types of Eye Drops / Artificial Tears

Preserved Artificial Tears

Preserved artificial tears contain added preservatives to maintain a very long shelf and keep bacteria at bay once the bottle is opened. Unfortunately, it also causes inflammatory dry eye disease, meibomian gland dysfunction and an allergic reaction in those who are sensitive, leading to redness, irritation and inflammation. While these drops may offer temporary relief, long term they can do more harm than good. Moreover, the preservatives may leave residue on contact lenses.

Preservative-Free Artificial Tears

Preservative-free artificial tears are great for contact lens wearers as they don’t cause any preservative build-up on the lenses. They are also suitable for those with sensitive eyes since they contain fewer ingredients that can cause irritation.

Preservative-free eye drops typically come in a box of 28 to 30 small vials that fit in a pocket or purse.

To use these drops, just pop the top off and insert the drops into your eyes. Some of these vials can be re-capped to allow you to continue to use the vial for up to 24 hours, but not longer. Refrigerate opened vials between uses to prevent any bacterial growth.

Oil-Based Artificial Tears

Oil-based tears come in preserved and preservative-free versions. These are thicker than traditional eye drops, as they contain an oil-based formulation. The oil helps prevent the watery portion of the tears from evaporating too quickly.

If you suffer from moderate or severe dry eye, oil-based artificial tears may be a great option. However, they’re not recommended for contact lens wearers, as the oils may stick to the surface of the lenses, making it difficult to keep them clean.

Eye Drop Spray or Mist

These sprays are preservative-free and are used to relieve dryness and irritation in both the eyes and eyelids. They’re easy to use, especially for those who struggle to insert drops into their eyes.

To use the spray, just close your eyes and spray onto your closed eyelids. Once you blink, the tears will slide into your eyes.

Don’t use the spray if you’re wearing makeup, lotions, or creams on your eyelids, as it can cause the makeup or lotion to enter your eye.

Artificial Tear Gel

Artificial tear gel adds a thick coating of tears and can be used at any time of the day or night. However, the thicker consistency of the gel drop may blur your vision for several minutes.

The gel is applied in the same way as eye drops. It effectively soothes the eyes and provides extended relief for both moderate to severe dry eye.

Most artificial tear gels contain preservatives, so they can only be used up to 4 times a day, and usually they are not safe for contact lens wearers.

Artificial Tear Ointment

Dry eye ointments are thick and coat the front of your eye. They’re usually used 1 to 2 times daily as needed. It may be best to use them at bedtime, as it will blur your vision.

Get Dry Eye Relief Today!

Artificial tears may be a good way to temporarily relieve eye dryness. However, using the wrong type of eye drops can be worse than not using any drops at all. So be sure to consult your eye doctor before you get eye drops.

Keep in mind that eye drops don’t address the root cause of dry eyes; they just provide temporary respite from the uncomfortable dry eye symptoms. Only an eye doctor can examine your eyes to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend the best treatment for your unique case of dry eye.

Schedule an appointment with EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights to learn more about dry eye syndrome and to find out which treatment is best for you.


Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Randy Fuerst

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

    • A: Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes either produce low-quality tears or don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes hydrated. This may be due to certain diseases (like diabetes or other autoimmune diseases), aging, allergies, hormonal changes, smoking, poor air quality, medications and the environment.

    Q: What are the symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

          • A: Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes either produce low-quality tears or don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes hydrated. This may be due to certain diseases (like diabetes or other autoimmune diseases), aging, allergies, hormonal changes, smoking, poor air quality, medications and the environment.

      Q: Artificial Tears

                • A: Artificial tears are drops used to lubricate dry eyes. These drops help maintain moisture on the surface of your eyes. Artificial tears are available without a prescription from your optometrist. There is no one brand works best for every form of dry eyes. Aside lubricating the surface of your eyes, artificial tears can also promote healing of the eyes. Additionally, some types of drops work to decrease the evaporation of tears from the surface of your eyes. Artificial tears may also contain thickening agents, which keep the solution on the surface of your eyes longer.

      Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Folsom, California. Visit EYEcenter optometric for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

      Can Dry Eye Treatment Help with Photophobia?

      If you suffer from light sensitivity, our eye doctor in Citrus Heights, California , can help!

      Photophobia, defined as light sensitivity, can make it uncomfortable for you to be in environments with bright light. If you think about it, the whole concept of light sensitivity is somewhat unusual – because light is an integral part of vision. Without light, the entire process of vision cannot take place. So what causes photophobia?

      At EYEcenter Optometric, we’ve diagnosed many of our photophobic patients with dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome, which currently affects about one-third of the worldwide population, can cause ocular stinging, eye fatigue, burning, and redness. In addition to these painful symptoms, dry eyes often cause light sensitivity.

      Are dry eyes and photophobia a common combination?

      Yes! Some studies have shown that three out every four individuals with dry eyes also suffer from extreme light sensitivity. One reason for this could be because a dry ocular surface has irregularities that disperse light entering the eye, leading to photophobia. Frequently, exposure to light can also trigger dry eye symptoms. But not all light is equal, and the following types of light are more likely to lead to the discomfort of dry eyes:

      • Computer and digital screens (any light source that emits a high quantity of blue light)
      • Fluorescent lighting
      • Flashing or flickering lights
      • Watching TV
      • Bright sunlight

      Can dry eye treatments help with light sensitivity?

      The effects of dry eyes and photophobia can be severe, with symptoms that seriously affect your daily living and quality of life. Disturbed vision and lower pain tolerance are some challenges caused by dry eyes. Combined with photophobia, many people suffer emotionally and physically, especially when these problems lead to social isolation, anxiety and depression. Fortunately, a variety of techniques and remedies may help. Our Citrus Heights eye doctor shares the following tips:

      • Try indoor light sensitivity glasses – These specialty glasses are tinted for indoor use. They filter certain wavelengths of blue light that can worsen photophobia caused by dry eyes.
      • Wear sunglasses when outdoors – Polarized lenses to cut down the sun’s glare, as well as rose-colored that help block the blue light sunglasses are both known to be particularly helpful. Be sure to buy sunglasses with UV protection, and consider wraparound styles because they block the highest amount of light. One important point – don’t wear sunglasses indoors! It can worsen your photophobia. Sometimes, gradual exposure to more light can improve the symptoms of light sensitivity.
      • Visit your eye doctor for dry eye treatments – By treating your dry eyes, we can help eliminate your light sensitivity. First, you need a specialized dry eye exam to identify the root of the problem. Then, our eye doctor will recommend the most suitable dry eye treatment, such as medicated eye drops, drugs to increase tear production, anti-inflammatory medicines, or even lubricating eye inserts.

      Photophobia and dry eyes? Visit our Citrus Heights, California , eye care center for an eye exam.

      At EYEcenter Optometric, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 916-727-6518 or book an appointment online to see one of our Citrus Heights eye doctors.

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