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Not all Over-the-Counter Drops Are Equal; Here’s Why.

Updated: May 10, 2022

Are you using the correct eye drops for your dry eye symptoms?

Walking down the eye care aisle looking for artificial tear drops at your local store can be overwhelming for those suffering from dry eye symptoms. One common mistake many people make is reaching for those "get the red out/redness relief" drops.

This type of drop constricts or shrinks the blood vessels on the front part of your eyes to make them look whiter, but they do not treat any of the causes. To effectively treat the problem, you need to treat the cause and not only the symptoms.

Redness relief drops are not lubricating your eyes and actually cause your eyes to become dryer and redder the more they are used. Yes, that bottle of drops can actually make things worse for you, leading to more discomfort. They may be less expensive, but they can be very costly in the long run if an undiagnosed medical problem requires additional treatment.

One of the most beneficial ways of combating dry eye is to use lubricating eye drops, also known as artificial tears. These drops work with the natural chemical makeup of your tear film and help provide relief to that burning, itchy, gritty feeling you may be experiencing.

Lubricating drops come in many forms, including preservative-free and gel eye drops to ointments.

Preservative-free eye drops are excellent for people who have particular sensitivities and require using them more than four times per day for relief.

Gel eye drops work well at night before bed because they last on the eye's surface for a long time.

Ointments are used for severe cases as they create a thick film on the eye and work best before bed.

If lubricant drops are not providing the relief you expect, your optometrist can discuss many additional treatment options with you. It's important to know that your general health can adversely affect your tear production and the quality of your tears, and there are many environmental factors to consider as well. For example, it's not uncommon for dry eye complaints to increase as computer use increases. The next time you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, schedule an appointment with us to ensure that you get to the most precise and quickest path to symptom-free eyes.


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