The Truth About Artificial Tears & Dry Eye Disease

Dry eye disease is a very common condition that impacts millions of people! In fact, the digital devices that consume our daily lives are only making matters worse. Fortunately, artificial tears, or lubricating eye drops, are a good first line treatment for most people with dry eyes.

However, purchasing these drops can be really overwhelming, as there are so many to choose from! Below is a simple guide to help you navigate your options. 

Related: “Here’s What You Need To Know About Glaucoma Eye Drops”

Which artificial tears are the BEST?

The truth of the matter is, not all eye drops fit everyone equally! Therefore, each person will have their favorite drops based upon the individual chemistry of their eye. 

Here are a few mainstream eye drops to consider:

Your tears are made up of an oily layer, a watery layer, and a mucous layer. Therefore, different teardrops are designed to target different layers to make your eyes more comfortable and lubricated. 

Here is the 3 layers of the tear film.

Ideally, most artificial tears will have a pH similar to that of your natural tears (which is usually around 7 pH). Each drop has a different salt concentration (i.e. osmolarity) that contributes to its effectiveness.

Related: “Dry Eye Disease: Here’s Why Your Eyes Water All The Time”

For example, if you have severe dry eye disease, the salt concentration on your eye is likely increased. Therefore, using a drop with a lower salt concentration to offset this imbalance is best!

Preservative-free eye drops

Did you know a lot of eye drops have preservatives in them? Fortunately, there are a few artificial tears that are preservative free. If your eyes are extremely sensitive to chemicals, preservative free drops might be best for you!

Also, if you’re using tear drops more than four times a day, you should consider using a preservative-free artificial tear to avoid causing a toxic reaction to your eye.

Here are a few preservative-free (PF) eye drops to consider:

Note: Preservative-free eye drops tend to be often more expensive. With this in mind, they can really be effective if you are sensitive to eye drops with preservatives or have specific eye diseases.

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