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Dry Eyes

What Eye Drops Are Best For My Eyes?

Are you suffering from red, irritated and scratchy eyes? Do you feel like you have something stuck in your eyes? These are hallmark symptoms of dry eye syndrome, a condition that occurs when your eyes are not properly lubricated due to insufficient tear production, blocked glands, or unbalanced tear composition.

The symptoms can be so unpleasant that many rush to the nearest pharmacy to find the perfect eye drops that will offer them the relief they need so that they can get back to focusing on other things.

However, seeking the ideal artificial tears to relieve dry eyes can be a daunting process. The eye drops shelf at the drug store offers so many options that it’s hard to know which ones are right for you. What’s more, some can actually make your symptoms worse.

Not all eye drops are created equal—currently, there are 6 main categories of artificial tears available over the counter. Choosing the artificial tears based on your specific needs can help narrow your options.

The 6 Types of Eye Drops / Artificial Tears

Preserved Artificial Tears

Preserved artificial tears contain added preservatives to maintain a very long shelf and keep bacteria at bay once the bottle is opened. Unfortunately, it also causes inflammatory dry eye disease, meibomian gland dysfunction and an allergic reaction in those who are sensitive, leading to redness, irritation and inflammation. While these drops may offer temporary relief, long term they can do more harm than good. Moreover, the preservatives may leave residue on contact lenses.

Preservative-Free Artificial Tears

Preservative-free artificial tears are great for contact lens wearers as they don’t cause any preservative build-up on the lenses. They are also suitable for those with sensitive eyes since they contain fewer ingredients that can cause irritation.

Preservative-free eye drops typically come in a box of 28 to 30 small vials that fit in a pocket or purse.

To use these drops, just pop the top off and insert the drops into your eyes. Some of these vials can be re-capped to allow you to continue to use the vial for up to 24 hours, but not longer. Refrigerate opened vials between uses to prevent any bacterial growth.

Oil-Based Artificial Tears

Oil-based tears come in preserved and preservative-free versions. These are thicker than traditional eye drops, as they contain an oil-based formulation. The oil helps prevent the watery portion of the tears from evaporating too quickly.

If you suffer from moderate or severe dry eye, oil-based artificial tears may be a great option. However, they’re not recommended for contact lens wearers, as the oils may stick to the surface of the lenses, making it difficult to keep them clean.

Eye Drop Spray or Mist

These sprays are preservative-free and are used to relieve dryness and irritation in both the eyes and eyelids. They’re easy to use, especially for those who struggle to insert drops into their eyes.

To use the spray, just close your eyes and spray onto your closed eyelids. Once you blink, the tears will slide into your eyes.

Don’t use the spray if you’re wearing makeup, lotions, or creams on your eyelids, as it can cause the makeup or lotion to enter your eye.

Artificial Tear Gel

Artificial tear gel adds a thick coating of tears and can be used at any time of the day or night. However, the thicker consistency of the gel drop may blur your vision for several minutes.

The gel is applied in the same way as eye drops. It effectively soothes the eyes and provides extended relief for both moderate to severe dry eye.

Most artificial tear gels contain preservatives, so they can only be used up to 4 times a day, and usually they are not safe for contact lens wearers.

Artificial Tear Ointment

Dry eye ointments are thick and coat the front of your eye. They’re usually used 1 to 2 times daily as needed. It may be best to use them at bedtime, as it will blur your vision.

Get Dry Eye Relief Today!

Artificial tears may be a good way to temporarily relieve eye dryness. However, using the wrong type of eye drops can be worse than not using any drops at all. So be sure to consult your eye doctor before you get eye drops.

Keep in mind that eye drops don’t address the root cause of dry eyes; they just provide temporary respite from the uncomfortable dry eye symptoms. Only an eye doctor can examine your eyes to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend the best treatment for your unique case of dry eye.

Schedule an appointment with Cove Eyecare in Copperas Cove to learn more about dry eye syndrome and to find out which treatment is best for you.

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. M. D. Young, OD

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

    • A: Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes either produce low-quality tears or don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes hydrated. This may be due to certain diseases (like diabetes or other autoimmune diseases), aging, allergies, hormonal changes, smoking, poor air quality, medications and the environment.

    Q: What are the symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

          • A: Dry eye syndrome can cause a wide range of symptoms including:Itchy eyes
            A feeling that there is grit or debris in the eye
            Blurred vision
            Burning sensation
            Dryness
            Irritation
            Sensitivity to light and glare

      Q: Artificial Tears

                • A: Artificial tears are drops used to lubricate dry eyes. These drops help maintain moisture on the surface of your eyes. Artificial tears are available without a prescription from your optometrist. There is no one brand works best for every form of dry eyes. Aside lubricating the surface of your eyes, artificial tears can also promote healing of the eyes. Additionally, some types of drops work to decrease the evaporation of tears from the surface of your eyes. Artificial tears may also contain thickening agents, which keep the solution on the surface of your eyes longer.

      Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Copperas Cove, Texas. Visit Cove Eyecare for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

      Sleep Apnea, Dry Eyes, and Glaucoma – What’s the Connection?

      Over 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that involves an involuntary stopping of breathing while sleeping.

      Those with sleep apnea are more likely to have ocular irritation, abnormal tear break-up time, and an increased upper and lower lid laxity, in addition to being a higher risk of developing glaucoma.

      How Are Sleep Apnea and Dry Eye Connected?

      One of the most common treatment options for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. These machines supply constant and steady air pressure. Many patients who use the machine experience air leaks, causing a constant airflow over the eyes that results in eye irritation, occasional swelling, and dryness. Dry eyes can cause discomfort and can cause serious eye problems. If not addressed the side effects of the CPAP machines can become chronic.

      If you are experiencing dry eye due to your CPAP mask, contact your eye doctor. Your eye doctor will most likely suggest using a thicker, non-preserved artificial tear drops or ointment which you apply before bed. It is important for the drops or ointment to be thick and more viscous so that it stays in the eye, protecting it all night. The artificial tear needs to be preservative-free since it will be used every night. This treatment is a simple solution to your dry eye.

      How Are Sleep Apnea and Glaucoma Connected?

      People with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), are approximately ten times more likely to develop glaucoma. What is the underlying cause of the connection is unknown.

      It is believed that the connection between sleep apnea and glaucoma is due to the drop in oxygen levels in the blood, which happens when you stop breathing. Low oxygen concentration in the blood may contribute to the degradation of the optic nerve, potentially leading to glaucoma.

      If you have sleep apnea it is important to go to your eye doctor for regular eye exams. During a routine eye exam, your eye doctor will check the pressure in your eye determining if it is where it should be. If not, you may have glaucoma. Early detection is key, as glaucoma causes irreversible vision loss and possible blindness.

      Although ocular irritation may occur, it is advised to continue using the CPAP machine, as it can prevent sometimes life-threatening impacts of sleep apnea. If it appears that eye problems and dryness are developing as a result of CPAP use, visit your eye doctor for guidance on how to help prevent this irritation or eye conditions such as glaucoma.

      https://www.glaucoma.org/news/blog/how-sleep-apnea-may-contribute-to-normal-tension-glaucoma-risk.php#:~:text=How%20Sleep%20Apnea%20May%20Contribute%20to%20Normal%2DTension%20Glaucoma%20Risk,-Posted%20on%20June&text=People%20with%20obstructive%20sleep%20apnea,more%20likely%20to%20develop%20glaucoma.

      At Cove Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 254-549-1142 or book an appointment online to see one of our Copperas Cove eye doctors.

      Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. M. D. Young, OD

      Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

      • A: Yes. Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

      Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

      • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

      Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Copperas Cove, Texas. Visit Cove Eyecare for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

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