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The Best Eye Drops for Dry Eye
In an earlier article we discussed what all makes up Dry Eye Syndrome, or chronic dry eye, that is, when the eye is unable to produce tears or at least tears of good quality to properly lubricate the eye. Since we have that initial article to first diagram chronic dry eye and its various components, it's time to break down the stigma of eye drops for dry eye.
It's simple: you hear the term "dry eye" and the solution would obviously have to be "put something wet on your eye for lubrication with just any ol' eye drop!" Simple, right? It's actually this mode of thinking that may make your condition worse if you can believe it, as there are actually different types of dry eye. And with different types of dry eye, there's more than one type of solution that fits best for each particular issue. When we don't take the time to learn about our particular dry eye problem, we may be purchasing the wrong dry eye solution that doesn't relieve our pain, rather it grows more agitated.
Types of Chronic Dry Eye
There are two main types of chronic dry eye to first understand when sectioning diagramming what's the best dry eye care for you:
1. Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye: The problem originates with the lacrimal gland, where there is little to no secretion of the watery part that makes up the tear, eventually disrupting the tear film's stability. When this secretion is too low it becomes difficult to keep the eye lubricated properly on a regular basis.
2. Evaporative Dry Eye: The problem originates in the Meibomian gland (MGD) where lipid levels are imbalanced, leading to rapid evaporation. These glands are located in the eyelids and produce lipid/oil in the tears, preventing them from evaporating so they can keep your eyes lubricated.
While this seems discernible enough in definitions and origins, the fact that these types of dry eye syndrome share similar symptoms, including eye/eyelid inflammation, makes it more difficult to differentiate them, thus stoking the stigma fire for dry eye care that just any ol' solution will solve your dry eye problem as they all seem the same. So if your dry eye is aqueous deficient, then you need an eye drop that supplements the aqueous layer, just as if the dry eye is evaporative, it needs more oil in the tear film, so you need an eye drop that supplements the lipid layer.
Types of Eye Drops for Dry Eye
There are many types of lubricating eye drops to choose from (check resources down at the bottom of this article to find a list) but it's helpful to see a breakdown of some solutions in a dry eye condition tree we made especially to help you:
Be Safe, Visit NVISION Eyecare®!
The main thing to take away from this article is that you shouldn't just assume things about your condition as you may cause more problems than relief, so if you're in doubt, give us a shout! Make an appointment at NVISION Eyecare in Albany, Auckland to speak with one of our optometrists today here. In general, we normally prefer non-preserved eye drops as preservatives can cause irritation. Aside from the Systane products, all of the other eye care solutions listed in the previous chart are preserved. And that's probably another factor you never would have thought to consider when purchasing chronic dry eye solutions, which is why it's always best to speak with a doctor and gain a clinical perspective on what you perceive to be a simple problem.
Boyd, Kierstan. “Lubricating Eye Drops.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 19 June 2019, www.aao.org/eye-health/treatments/lubricating-eye-drops.
“Eye Drops for Dry Eyes: Find the Right Type of Eye Drops for You.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/eye-health/right-eye-drops-dry-eyes#1.
“Ophthalmic Lubricants.” Ophthalmic Lubricants | Drug, OTCs & Herbals | Medscape Reference, reference.medscape.com/drugs/ophthalmic-lubricants.
“Artificial Tears: How to Select Eyedrops for Dry Eyes.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 12 Feb. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/expert-answers/artificial-tears/faq-20058422.
Fletcher, Jenna. “Eye Drops for Dry Eyes: Types, How to Choose, and Other Remedies.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315843.php.
“What Is Dry Eye? Symptoms, Treatment, Causes of Dry Eyes: Everyday Health.” EverydayHealth.com, 16 Jan. 2019, www.everydayhealth.com/dry-eyes/guide/.
Dry Eye Syndrome, www.nvision.nz/services/dry-eye-syndrome.
Adler, Richard. “10 Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome + Possible Causes.” All About Vision, www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/dryeye-syndrome.htm.
McMahon, David. “Relieve Dry Itchy Eyes Quick!” WhatisDryEye.com, www.whatisdryeye.com/evaporative-vs-aqueous-tear-deficient-dry-eye/.