When is the best time to use artificial tears for dry eyes?

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.

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What Do Artificial Tears Do?

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.


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How Often Should Artificial Tears be Used?

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.

When Should Artificial Tears Be Used?

When Should Artificial Tears Be Used?

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.

Common Questions

Yes, children can use artificial tears. There can be a lot of discomfort involved with dry eyes. Dryness can cause children's eyes to feel hot or dry. They may also experience a lot of watering in their eyes. The sensation of dry eyes can sometimes mimic the feeling of sand or dirt in the eyes. Using artificial tears at least four times a day can help your child with dry eyes, however this should only be done for a short period of time. If the symptoms do not go away please schedule a dry eye evaluation to get to the bottom of what is causing your child's symptoms. One of the main culprits of dry eye in children is excessive screen time. When a child is looking at a screen they blink less often and less fully, which causes the eyes' natural tear film layer to evaporate more quickly. This in turn can lead to other complications. Using artificial tears without preservatives is usually recommended, especially if using the artificial tears for more than a short period of time.
When is the best time to use artificial tears for dry eyes?
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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. 

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