Using artificial tears is the mainstay of managing the symptoms of dry eyes although we aim to reduce or eliminate the need for them with good treatments. We recommend using preservative free drops as many people with dry eyes become sensitive to the preservatives especially if used over a long period of time. Most of the individual unit dose drops are good but we generally recommend Hylofresh for day time use. Another drop we recommend is Hyloforte which is thicker than Hylofresh, this means it is good for night time or for use during the day in more severe dry eye. Both these drops are not only preservative free but also phosphate free.
If there is a lack of oil in the tear film due to poor functioning meibomian glands then we get people to add more oil. This can be done using an oil-based spray such as Tears Again or Actimist. There are also drops such as Systane Balance which contains oil but they are only recommended where the use of preservatives isn’t an issue.
For some people, we need to add more volume to the tears with Hylofresh and others need more volume and more oil. We get them to alternate between drops and sprays throughout the day.
Some people find it more comfortable to use an ointment or gel at night. There are ointments such as VitA-POS, a preservative free, paraffin based ointment, that also contains vitamin A. I have some clients who love it and some whose eyes feel worse!
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to predict what drop or gel will work best for each individual which means you should be prepared for a bit of trial and error before finding the combination that works best for you.