Artificial Tears for Dry Eyes Offer Conservative, Effective Relief
Dry eye syndrome can have a significant negative impact on your quality of life. Whether your dry eyes are caused by age, medications, or environmental factors, there are treatment options available that can provide relief. In many cases, patients suffering from the condition can alleviate their symptoms with artificial tears. At Choate Eye Associates in Goodlettsville, TN, we strive to implement the most conservative methods possible. No matter what symptoms you may be experiencing, Dr. Walter Choate and our entire team are well-equipped to offer the highest quality of care possible.
All about Artificial Tears
When the eyes do not produce enough tears, or they produce low-quality tears, dry eyes can develop. This condition is commonly treated with artificial tears, which lubricate the outer surfaces of the eyes and alleviate the itchiness, grittiness, and irritation associated with dry eyes. In addition to providing lubrication, many brands of artificial tears also contain electrolytes, which can help aid in the body’s natural healing process. Fortunately, artificial tears do not require a prescription. They are available over-the-counter and can be easily found in pharmacies, grocery stores, and department stores.
How to Use Artificial Tears
To find a product that is right for you, trying out several different kinds can be beneficial. For example, artificial tears are available in eye drops, gels, ointments, and gel inserts. For optimal results, artificial tears should be administered every few hours as needed to treat dry eyes. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may need to use artificial tears as little as four times a day or as much as twelve times a day.
Artificial tears do not require a prescription and are widely available at pharmacies and other types of stores.
It is important to note that using eye drops with redness relief may actually dry out the eyes even more, causing further irritation. It is important to select a product that is specifically intended for treating dry eye symptoms. Because ointments and thicker eye drops may cause temporary blurred vision, patients often choose to administer these products just before bedtime. Lastly, if you wear contact lenses, be sure to choose products specifically designed for contact lens wearers, as they will protect the lenses from damage.
Weighing Preservative vs. Preservative-Free
There are two primary types of artificial tears: those with preservatives and those without. The kind which is most appropriate for your situation will depend on your unique needs. For example, artificial tears with preservatives contain added chemicals that prevent excessive bacteria growth once the bottle is opened. While this is a helpful feature, the preservatives can actually irritate the eyes even more, particularly for those suffering from moderate or severe dry eyes.
Preservative-free eye drops do not contain these chemical additives and are therefore gentler on the eyes. To combat bacteria growth, these eye drops are generally sold in boxes of single-dose vials. This type of drop is generally more expensive.
Are There Side Effects?
Complications or side effects from artificial tears are not likely. In fact, no interactions have been reported, to date. In rare instances, patients may experience irritation, redness, eye pain, or vision changes. If you experience any of these symptoms, discontinue use immediately and contact our practice for further instruction.
Learn More about Dry Eye Treatment
When it comes to dry eye treatment, artificial tears are often the first line of defense. They have proven successful for many of our patients. If you are looking for ways to alleviate dry eye symptoms, schedule a consultation with Dr. Choate to learn more. You can contact us online or call our office at (615) 851-7575.