Best Dry Eye Drops - My Top 3 Artificial Tears Eye Drops
If you’ve been to the eye drop aisle in the pharmacy lately, you’ve likely been overwhelmed by the expansion of artificial tears on the market. How are you supposed to know which one is the best for you? Should you choose the blue box or the purple one?
Because this is such a problem for many people, we’re going to cover the top three artificial tears that address all three layers of the tear film. This is important because the tear film is made of three distinct layers that all play a role in dry eye disease.
The lipid layer, or oily layer, is the outermost layer and is produced by the meibomian glands. If this layer is affected, the tears can evaporate too quickly and leave you with discomfort. The middle layer of the tear film is the aqueous or watery layer. This is produced by the lacrimal gland and really helps lubricate the eyes. And finally, the mucin layer sits up against the front of the eye and is produced by the goblet cells of your conjunctiva. This layer helps the rest of the tear film adhere to the eye.
Refresh Optive Advanced
This eye drop helps with all three layers of the tear film, preventing evaporation and also helping to lubricate the eyes by replenishing the aqueous or watery component of the tear film. It even protects the mucin portion of the tear film, making it a well-rounded eye drop. This medication doesn’t blur your vision and comes in a larger bottle.
However, if you're sensitive to preservatives or you’ve had any surgical procedures on your eyes, you may want to use a different drop. This is because this drop does contain preservatives that can cause issues for those with sensitive eyes and those who are already taking other eye drops that may contain preservatives.
Refresh does have a non-preserved formulation that comes in small vials. These are a better option for those who are particularly sensitive to preservatives. When you’re using preservative free drops, you can use them as many times per day as you wish.
Systane is a well-known brand in the eye care world and they have many great eye drops. Systane Ultra addresses the aqueous form of dry eye while Systane Balance addresses the evaporative form of the disease. Most recently, the company released Systane Complete which addresses all three layers of the tear film.
This artificial tear contains nanotechnology that allows the drop to better adhere to the eyes and possibly be more effective. The only downside is that this medication is only available with preservatives, so it should only be used up to four times per day.
Made by Ocusoft, Retaine MGD is a great option for those with meibomian gland dysfunction and evaporative dry eye disease. It contains no preservatives and addresses all layers of the tear film while specifically focusing on the oily, lipid layer.
Mineral oil and light mineral oil are the main ingredients, and these help prevent tear evaporation. The formula contains positively charged nano-droplets as well, and this is beneficial because the cornea is a negatively charged structure. The positively charged droplets will better adhere to the negatively charged cornea.
You can use this medication as many times per day as you need to, but you should know that this drop does have a milky color. This is normal for this type of artificial tear, and it’s nothing to be alarmed about.
All of these eye drops are fantastic. Make sure to talk with your eye doctor about what type of dry eye disease you have and what treatment they recommend for you. There are many potential treatments for this condition, and treatment may not always include eye drops. There are many other natural ways to find relief for this condition, and you can learn more about natural treatments here.