Eye drops for dry eye

Eye drops, also known as artificial tears, are a common treatment for dry eye symptoms.

Eye drops for dry eye in Bellflower

Eye drops, also known as artificial tears, are a common, popular treatment for dry eye symptoms. They work by helping to keep the eyes lubricated and moist, thus alleviating the irritation often associated with dry eye.

Not all eye drops are the same, however. Ingredients can vary, and for some patients a specific type of eye drops is recommended.

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When Are Eye Drops Useful?

Eye drops are useful as relief from symptoms of dry eye, such as dry or irritated-feeling eyes. Dry eye has a wide variety of causes, but eye drops tend to be most useful for milder cases, where the dry eye is caused by things like a dry climate, fatigue, over wearing contact lenses for an extended period. 

Eye drops also often contain electrolytes, essential minerals like potassium, sodium, and calcium. Potassium and sodium in particular, being part of your natural tears, help lubricate the eyes and can help the eye surface.

Eye drops are an over-the-counter product meant to provide temporary relief from symptoms, and will not treat the underlying cause of your dry eye if there is one, such as meibomian gland dysfunction or blepharitis.

Eye Drops With and Without Preservatives

Many types of eye drops contain preservatives designed to protect the solution from bacteria that might grow once the bottle is opened.

Common preservatives in eye drop solutions include benzalkonium chloride, polyquad, ocupure, purite, and sodium perborate.

These are safe substances, and in most cases won’t cause any problems for the user. However, some people may experience irritation when using eye drops containing these preservatives, especially if they have severe dry eye. If you suffer from moderate to severe dry eye and have to use eye drops more than four times daily, you might be better served with a preservative-free option. Preservative-free eye drops will be labeled as such.

Eye Drops With and Without Preservatives
Lipid-Based Eye Drops

Lipid-Based Eye Drops

If you have evaporative dry eye, which is when there is a problem with the tear film as opposed to there simply not being enough tears in your eyes, lipid-based eye drops are a better choice, as it helps improve the quality of the tear film and keep the tears from evaporating too quickly. Types of ingredients in lipid-based eye drops include glycerin, hydroxypropyl-guar, mineral oil, and castor oil.

If your dry eye is aqueous-deficient dry eye, more standard eye drops should work fine.

Lipid-Based Eye Drops

Not a Catch-All Treatment

Eye drops will not always be sufficient for alleviating your dry eye symptoms. In those cases, you can try other, stronger solutions, such as over the counter gels or ointments for dry eye. Since they are thicker than eye drops, their effects last longer, though they can make it a bit harder to see. For that reason, doctors often recommend using these products before going to bed.

Choosing the Right Drops

Not all over-the-counter eye drops qualify as artificial tears. You should avoid using certain types of eye drops unless specifically recommended by a doctor. 

Specific types of eye drops you should avoid include:

Allergy eye drops: These eye drops are designed for providing relief from allergy symptoms when the eyes are exposed to allergens like mold, dust, or pollen. These drops are not meant to provide relief from dry eye symptoms. Although, artificial tears can help with symptoms of eye allergies.

Antibiotic eye drops: Antibiotic eye drops are meant for treating eye infections and are generally prescription-only, and may not provide proper relief from dry eye.

Redness-relieving eye drops: These eye drops are only meant for treating temporary eye redness, such as that caused by allergies, smoke irritation, or contact lenses. If these drops are used too often, however, they can cause rebound redness, which makes the eyes look even redder than before. For this reason, doctors recommend only using these drops occasionally and for short periods. Eye drops which are preservative-free may be more helpful for reducing redness than regular use of redness-relieving drops.

Eye Drops With and Without Preservatives
Lipid-Based Eye Drops

Use of Eye Drops if You Wear Contact Lenses

Many people find that artificial tears help treat the dryness caused by regular wearing of contact lenses. Before you do so, however, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, make sure you can use the drops while wearing your contacts. In most cases it is safe to do so. However, some types, specifically the thicker formulations, will tell you to wait at least 15 minutes before inserting your contact lenses. Be sure to read the information on the product labels.

Rewetting drops are specifically designed to increase eye comfort while wearing contacts. They will be labeled “for contact lenses,” and are usually sold near contact lens cleaning solutions.

In all cases, talk to your doctor if you suspect a link between your contact lenses and dry eye. The material used in contact lenses can help with symptoms, and certain types of contacts, such as daily disposable lenses, can also be helpful

Common Questions

To help deal with your dry eyes some natural solutions are to apply warm compresses over your eyes twice a day for 10 minutes and then do lid massages with lid scrubs. Also taking omega-3 fish oil supplements or eating foods with naturally high omega-3s as well as staying hydrated can help. Additionally, taking breaks from your digital screen devices is important; every 20 minutes look somewhere far away, like outside of your window, for 20 seconds. Furthermore, If you’re an incomplete blinker, there are different blink exercises to learn how to take more frequent and full blinks, which can help relieve your symptoms of dry eyes. In regards to your environment you can add a humidifier and filter to add moisture to the air.
Depending on the severity and type of dry eyes (aqueous or evaporative) there are various ways we can treat dry eyes. Initially we would start off the patient to use warm compresses 2x a day for 10 minutes with lid massage and lid scrubs. Along with the use of over the counter artificial tears 2-4x a day in both eyes. Depending on severity we can also add a gel drop or ointment at night. If relief is still not occurring with the initial course of treatment, we can then add prescription eye drops for dry eyes such as Restasis or Xiidra. Other dry eye treatment options are using punctal plugs or other devices like Lipiflow/iLux/IPL etc.
When you have dry eyes this sends out a signal to your lacrimal gland to produce more tears, but then this results in an overproduction of tears causing tearing/watery eyes. The overproduction of tears is called reflex tearing. Your body is trying to counteract your dry eyes, so it then starts to produce more tears, but then it ends up flooding your eyes with too much tears, resulting in a vicious cycle of dry and then teary eyes. That is why it’s important to deal with the root of the cause of the tearing, which is your dry eyes, to stop this sequence of events from happening. But it’s important to also note that watery eyes can be caused by other conditions as well, so be sure to get a thorough evaluation by your eye doctor to determine the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Some at-home remedies to relieve your symptoms of dry eyes is to apply warm compresses over your eyes for 10minutes. Some ways to achieve this at home is to boil an egg or potato then wrap it in a paper towel to place over your eyes to allow for consistent heat over your eyes. You can also heat up a bag of rice as an alternative warm compress. Taking omega-3 fish oil vitamins can also help. Also, if you stare at a digital device screen for long periods of time remember to take breaks; every 20 minutes look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
You may have watery eyes because your eyes are actually dry. When you have dry eyes this sends out a signal to your lacrimal gland to produce more tears, but then this results in an overproduction of tears causing tearing/watery eyes. The overproduction of tears is called reflex tearing. Your body is trying to counteract your dry eyes, so it then starts to produce more tears, but then it ends up flooding your eyes with too much tears, resulting in a vicious cycle of dry and then teary eyes. To stop your eyes from watering all the time, it’s important to deal with the root of the cause of the tearing, which is your dry eyes, to stop this sequence of events from happening. But it’s important to also note that watery eyes can be caused by other eye conditions as well, such as allergies, eyelid inflammation, blocked tear ducts, outwardly turned eyelids etc, so be sure to get a thorough evaluation by your eye doctor to determine the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Ikeda cartoon

Summary

Eye drops are a commonly used treatment for dry eye, and can be effective at providing relief from symptoms. As with any other medical eye care issue, however, it is advised you speak with a doctor before you start using eye drops for your dry eye. If you have any additional questions or wish to schedule a consultation, you can contact Amplify EyeCare of Greater Long Beach at (562) 925-6591.

Testimonials


  • I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.


    Claire A.

  • Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.


    Jim K.

  • My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!


    Teresa S.

  • The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.


    Joe M.

  • I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.


    Kayla W.

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