Are Over-the-Counter Eye Drops Enough?

Are Over-the-Counter Eye Drops Enough?

When dealing with dry or red eyes, many people resort to utilizing over-the-counter eye drops to relieve their symptoms. Dry eyes can come about due to weather conditions, they can come about from long bouts of sitting in front of the computer, or even from taking certain types of medication that don’t agree with you.

There are a host of additional biological and environmental conditions which can lead to dry eyes, including:

More on Over-the-Counter Eye Drops

Most over-the-counter (OTC) eye drop options will contain humectants, which are substances that help your eyes retain moisture. Additional ingredients include lubricants and electrolytes (including potassium).

OTC eye drop options come in many varieties, including drops, gels, and ointments.

When OTC Eye Drops Aren’t Enough

Prescription eye drops are often used to treat more chronic eye problems. For example, Cyclosporine (Restasis) is a prescription eye drop that can help treat inflammation (which is a primary cause of eye dryness). Inflammation of this kind usually stems from keratoconjunctivitis sicca -- which is also referred to as Dry Eye Syndrome. Prescription drops are usually used twice daily in order to boost tear production. Cyclosporine is only available via prescription and is generally recommended for use on the long-term.

Treating the Underlying Causes of Eye Dryness

OTC eye drops will generally take the red out of your eyes and will help moisturize, but they don’t actually treat the underlying causes of eye dryness. If what you need is to treat dry eyes, it’s a good rule of thumb to choose drops that moisturize, instead of just get the red out. Homeopathic tear stimulation drops are better than artificial tears since they do in fact, stimulate.

However, even if you are making enough tears, your oily tear glands tend to become plugged as get get older, the same way that the plumbing in your kitchen and Bathroom sinks get plugged with grease and fat. When the tear glands are plugged, tears are not able to be released to moisturize and lubricate your eyes to keep them bright and shiny.

The tear glands also get clogged with heavy computer use because you don’t blink enough to spread the tears when you’re staring at a computer. Eventually if your oil eat your glands are plugged, Battery is trapped in there, and the tear glands eventually atrophy and you lose the ability to make healthy tears. 

This is why Dr. Brisco evaluates to your quality into release on all of her patients to make sure that your eyes stay healthy and beautiful.

Though it is true that, in general, many causes of mild eye dryness can be alleviated with OTC eye drops, gels, and ointments, however, if your dry eyes are the result of more serious health problems, you will need to have your eye health checked immediately. If you’re experiencing dry eyes, that’s something you should talk to your doctor about. Getting down to the actual cause of your eye dryness will better help you and your doctor when it comes to making the best choice for you.

If you have any questions about OTC eye drops and what you stand to benefit from them, contact Hollywood Vision Center today. We have a long track record of helping our patients see clearly and vividly.


Dr. Elise Brisco

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