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Do Artificial Tears Work for Dry Eyes?

December 8, 2020
Portrait of happy bearded young man in glasses standing outdoors in winter

Artificial tears are essentially eye drops that you can use to lubricate your dry eyes. They are designed to maintain moisture on the outer surface of the eye, and can be used to treat dry eyes resulting from:

  • Aging
  • Medications
  • Medical condition
  • Eye condition
  • Eye surgery
  • Environmental factors, like smoky or windy conditions

You can get artificial tears without a prescription, but you may have to try out a few different brands before you settle on the best one for you.

In addition to lubricating your eyes, some artificial tears can also heal your eyes; others can decrease tear evaporation. Some have thickening agents that keep the solution on the surface of the eyes for a longer period of time.

There are two types of artificial tears, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Eyedrops with preservatives. Available with multi-dose bottles, these contain preservatives designed to discourage growth of bacteria once you have opened the bottle. The preservatives could irritate your eyes, particularly if you suffer from moderate to severe dry eyes.
  • Preservative-free eyedrops. These have fewer additives and are recommended if you tend to use artificial tears more than four times per day, or if you suffer from moderate to severe dry eyes. They are available in single-dose vials.

You can also get artificial tears as nonprescription gels and gel inserts, but be aware they could cause temporary blurred vision.

Still not getting relief? Try an artificial tear ointment. These can also cause temporary blurred vision, so it’s best to apply this ointment before bedtime.

And if all else fails, make an appointment with your ophthalmologist who can give you an exam and suggest other treatments that may provide relief.

It’s a good idea to get this squared away before winter, which brings dry air that can further irritate your eyes and skin. If you wear contact lenses or suffer from chronic allergies, you have a higher risk for getting dry eyes.

Here are some other tips for preventing or soothing dry eyes in addition to artificial tears:

  • Blink Often: This redistributes and establishes a tear film over the front of the eye, thereby improving lubrication, vision and comfort.
  • Don’t Rub Your Eyes: This can inflame your eye and the surrounding areas, which impacts tear quality and causes painful corneal abrasions.
  • Use Warm Compresses: This will soothe the eyes and ease any discomfort.
  • Use a Humidifier: These machines add moisture to the air.
  • Wear Sunglasses: Wear sunglasses when outdoors to protect your eyes against windy conditions and UV rays.

Contact Simon Eye for Help with Dry Eyes

If you feel like you’re always suffering from dry or itchy eyes – not just in winter — make an appointment with Simon Eye for prescription relief. We can also determine if you have an underlying condition that is causing your discomfort. Contact us at 302-239-1933.

Need Help with Dry Eyes?

Make an appointment with Simon Eye.