Artificial tears are a useful tool for treating dry eye symptoms. But along with the product itself, the way in which it is used can be important.
Generally speaking, artificial tears are designed to take the place of natural tears if your body either doesn’t create enough of them, or if the tear composition is deficient. They do not correct the problem, but can relieve the symptoms for a period of time.
Many types of artificial tears contain preservatives, which can lead to eye irritation if used too often. For that reason, most doctors are likely to recommend only using artificial tears with preservatives up to 4 times daily, while those without preservatives can be used as often as needed. However, as with any medical treatment, it is important to consult with a doctor before you start using artificial tears or eye drops.
A big question regarding artificial tears is when to use them. This applies both to when to start using them after you notice symptoms, and at what times it is ideal to use them.
The irritation you experience will only grow if you don’t do anything, or just rub at your eyes. So it is best to use your eye drops when you first start to notice symptoms.
If you expect to be in a particularly dry environment, or somewhere else that you know may aggravate your dry eye, you can use artificial tears beforehand, to provide your eyes with some protection in advance.
Additionally, if you frequently experience dry eye upon waking up in the morning, you can apply artificial tears just before going to bed at night.
Artificial tears can be a very effective way at treating dry eye symptoms, though they will work better if used as soon as symptoms manifest, and it can also help to use them preventatively if you know something is likely to irritate your eyes. However, especially if you are using artificial tears which contain preservatives, be careful not to overuse them, as it can lead to eye irritation. If you are experiencing dry eye or have any questions, you can reach out to your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice either via a call or in-person visit. Our team of eye care professionals is ready and equipped to provide you with the care you need.