Many of us have faced the discomfort of dry eyes at some point. You might have wondered if over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops are an effective solution. Our recent video addressed this topic, and we're taking this opportunity to provide a comprehensive blog post to answer all your questions about using OTC eye drops for dry eye relief.

The Role of Artificial Tears in Dry Eye Relief

Artificial tears serve as lubricants that mimic the properties of natural tears. They are a popular go-to solution for people experiencing dry eyes, irritation, or redness. In fact, many patients have reported immediate relief after using over-the-counter artificial tears. These drops can help you manage symptoms until you can consult with an eye care specialist.

According to a study published in the Journal of Ophthalmology, about 60% of patients with mild dry eye symptoms find relief by using over-the-counter eye drops.

Why It's Important to See an Eye Care Provider

While over-the-counter drops provide quick relief, it's crucial to speak to an optometrist or ophthalmologist for a complete dry eye evaluation. This step helps determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and provides you with tailored treatment options, which could include prescription eye drops, warm compresses, or even minor surgical procedures.

What Goes into a Dry Eye Evaluation?

During a dry eye evaluation, your eye care provider may perform tests like tear film analysis, corneal staining, and meibomian gland expression to identify the source of your symptoms.

Choosing the Right Over-The-Counter Eye Drops

There are various types of over-the-counter eye drops available on the market, including:


Known for its preservative-free formula, Systane offers a variety of eye drops that can be used with or without contact lenses.


Another popular choice is Refresh, which provides preservative-free single vials and a thicker gel form designed for nighttime use.

Other Brands

Besides Systane and Refresh, other options like TheraTears and Blink Fresh are also worth considering. Each brand offers unique formulas that cater to different symptoms and preferences.

Side Effects to Watch For

While over-the-counter eye drops are generally safe, some people may experience side effects like blurred vision or increased redness. Always consult with an eye care provider if you experience any adverse effects.

Final Recommendations

Over-the-counter eye drops are a convenient and effective short-term solution for dry eye symptoms. However, to effectively manage your symptoms in the long term, it's crucial to consult with a qualified eye care provider for a thorough evaluation and targeted treatment plan.

Explore comprehensive care for dry eye by visiting our reputable optometry clinic in Valencia, conveniently serving patients from nearby Santa Clarita, Palmdale, and San Fernando Valley. Call (661) 775-1860 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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