In the United States, dry eye disease affects 6.8% of the adult population. It depends on how severe your dry eyes are. Over-the-counter eye drops may be a great option for people who have milder cases of dry eyes and are looking for something to help alleviate their symptoms.
After our eye doctor conducts a thorough dry eye evaluation, they will be able to determine what brand of artificial tears are best for you. The two main types of artificial tears are preservative artificial tears and preservative free artificial tears.
There are instances where patients may have more moderate to severe dry eyes, and standard over-the-counter artificial tears may not be sufficient to relieve their symptoms. In that case, your doctor may prescribe you prescription eye drops as well. Cequa, Xiidra, and Restasis are some of the prescription eye drops that are available. It's important to note that dry eye disease has an inflammatory component, and these drops contain cyclosporine or lifitegrast, which are medications that act against the inflammatory process that is impacting your tear film and tear ducts. By combating the inflammation Cequa, Xiidra, and Restasis are able to naturally increase tear production and reduce irritation caused by inflammation. Therefore, these medications that your eye doctor prescribed will help alleviate the symptoms of dry eyes by addressing the inflammatory component.
Dry eye disease is a multifactorial disease, which means that it is really important for the eye doctor to understand the cause of your symptoms in order to properly treat it. In most cases eye drops are only a temporary symptom relief but do not address the reasons why you have inflammation, poor tear quality, poor tear volume, or excessive tears. To determine the best course of treatment for you, be sure to get a thorough dry eye examination from our eye doctors today.