Ever spent any time walking up and down the eye care aisle at the pharmacy? Safe to say, the selection of drops to treat dry eyes can be overwhelming. The fact is, not all dry eye drops are created equal. The chemical makeup of each brand varies greatly from one to the other, with effectiveness also running the gamut, depending on the cause of your dry eye.
To help guide you through the maze of dry eye drops, we’ve created this list of the top three over-the-counter brands to keep an “eye” out for.
1. GenTeal Gel for Severe Dry Eyes
Active ingredients: Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose 0.3%
GenTeal Gel is formulated for people who suffer from mild, moderate or severe dry eye caused by the poor quality of their natural tear film. Substituting for this film, GenTeal helps prevent moisture from leaving the cornea.
Use: for dry eye caused by poor quality of the eye's natural tear film
2. Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops
Active ingredients: Polyethylene Glycol 400 0.4%, Propylene Glycol 0.3%
Systane provides relief from burning and irritation caused from dry eyes due to poor tear quality. By lengthening the eye’s tear film breakup time, Systane strengthens the ability of the tear film to protect the ocular surface in between blinks.
Use: for dry eye caused by poor tear quality
3. Refresh Tears Lubricant Eye Drops
Active ingredient: Polyvinyl alcohol 1.4%, povidone 0.6%
Get relief from dry eye related burning and irritation that’s caused by a lack of tear production. Refresh Tears is an extra strength dry eye drop that works by moistening the eye, mimicking natural tears. The tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride in Refresh produces local vasoconstriction to reduce redness.
Use: for dry eye caused by a lack of tear production
Refractive Surgery for Dry Eyes
You’ve possibly considered refractive surgery such as LASIK, but it’s important to note that LASIK can exacerbate dry eyes due to the corneal reshaping that’s required with the procedure*. An alternative to LASIK is, the Visian ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens), a biocompatible, advanced lens that’s placed inside the eye for vision correction and does not induce dry eye syndrome. Best of all, there’s no removal of corneal tissue with Visian ICL. The Visian lens also provides UV protection and can be removed if needed. Learn about the full benefits here.
*Shoja, MR. Besharati, MR. Dry eye after LASIK for myopia: Incidence and risk factors. European Journal of Ophthalmology. 2007; 17(1): pp. 1-6.