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January 15, 2022

The Dry Eye Dilemma: What Eye Drops To Use?

Understanding Various Dry Eye Diseases

We understand going to the pharmacy for eye drops or any eye care products can be overwhelming with so many options out there. So how do you know which eye drops to choose?

There are mainly 3 types of dry eye diseases:

  1. Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye – not enough tears
  2. Evaporative Dry Eye – not enough oil
  3. Mixed Dry Eye – a combo of not enough tears and oil.

Selecting the Right Eye Drops for You

It’s important to know which one you have in order to select the correct eye drops & treatment options. By having a dry eye assessment done at our dry eye clinic in Calgary, our Optometrists will review your results, and together we will determine the ideal treatment options tailored to you.

As Optometrists, the most common artificial tear we hear patients use is Visine or a “get the red out” drop. These should be avoided as they are decongestants that cause the blood vessels to shrink. With constant use, these drops have a rebound effect causing the blood vessels to get larger giving you red eyes again. The chemicals found in preservatives worsen your dry eye as they irritate the surface of your eyes.

Artificial tears have different consistencies – regular tears, gels & ointments. Currently, there isn’t one drop that can enhance all 3 layers of the tear film (water, oil, protein) so a combination of drops is often required. Hyaluronic acid is a very popular ingredient in all of these drops as it helps to stabilize and restore the natural balance of the tear film. Gels and ointments are often recommended for use at night.

If you’ve tried all the over-the-counter eye drops & your eyes are still dry! We understand this can be frustrating using so many drops and only getting minimal relief. Depending on the type of dry eye, we can recommend medicated eye drops to help target the inflammation causing the dry eye with Restasis or Xiidra, or both. Each works on a different part of the inflammatory cycle to help reduce inflammatory markers from activating causing a reduction in your signs & symptoms thus improving your tear film. We are looking forward to Cequa, a new dry eye medication launching early this year in Canada to add to our toolkits to help our patients.

Consult to an Optometrist near You

Our Optometrist near you will help you determine if these medications are a good option for you in combination with artificial tears. Both of these medicated eye drops can be used long-term. To know your status, book an appointment for your dry eye assessment today with our Optometrist in Calgary. We would love to help you improve your quality of life.

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