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dry eye syndrome

What Eye Drops Are Best For My Eyes?

Are you suffering from red, irritated and scratchy eyes? Do you feel like you have something stuck in your eyes? These are hallmark symptoms of dry eye syndrome, a condition that occurs when your eyes are not properly lubricated due to insufficient tear production, blocked glands, or unbalanced tear composition.

The symptoms can be so unpleasant that many rush to the nearest pharmacy to find the perfect eye drops that will offer them the relief they need so that they can get back to focusing on other things.

However, seeking the ideal artificial tears to relieve dry eyes can be a daunting process. The eye drops shelf at the drug store offers so many options that it’s hard to know which ones are right for you. What’s more, some can actually make your symptoms worse.

Not all eye drops are created equal—currently, there are 6 main categories of artificial tears available over the counter. Choosing the artificial tears based on your specific needs can help narrow your options.

The 6 Types of Eye Drops / Artificial Tears

Preserved Artificial Tears

Preserved artificial tears contain added preservatives to maintain a very long shelf and keep bacteria at bay once the bottle is opened. Unfortunately, it also causes inflammatory dry eye disease, meibomian gland dysfunction and an allergic reaction in those who are sensitive, leading to redness, irritation and inflammation. While these drops may offer temporary relief, long term they can do more harm than good. Moreover, the preservatives may leave residue on contact lenses.

Preservative-Free Artificial Tears

Preservative-free artificial tears are great for contact lens wearers as they don’t cause any preservative build-up on the lenses. They are also suitable for those with sensitive eyes since they contain fewer ingredients that can cause irritation.

Preservative-free eye drops typically come in a box of 28 to 30 small vials that fit in a pocket or purse.

To use these drops, just pop the top off and insert the drops into your eyes. Some of these vials can be re-capped to allow you to continue to use the vial for up to 24 hours, but not longer. Refrigerate opened vials between uses to prevent any bacterial growth.

Oil-Based Artificial Tears

Oil-based tears come in preserved and preservative-free versions. These are thicker than traditional eye drops, as they contain an oil-based formulation. The oil helps prevent the watery portion of the tears from evaporating too quickly.

If you suffer from moderate or severe dry eye, oil-based artificial tears may be a great option. However, they’re not recommended for contact lens wearers, as the oils may stick to the surface of the lenses, making it difficult to keep them clean.

Eye Drop Spray or Mist

These sprays are preservative-free and are used to relieve dryness and irritation in both the eyes and eyelids. They’re easy to use, especially for those who struggle to insert drops into their eyes.

To use the spray, just close your eyes and spray onto your closed eyelids. Once you blink, the tears will slide into your eyes.

Don’t use the spray if you’re wearing makeup, lotions, or creams on your eyelids, as it can cause the makeup or lotion to enter your eye.

Artificial Tear Gel

Artificial tear gel adds a thick coating of tears and can be used at any time of the day or night. However, the thicker consistency of the gel drop may blur your vision for several minutes.

The gel is applied in the same way as eye drops. It effectively soothes the eyes and provides extended relief for both moderate to severe dry eye.

Most artificial tear gels contain preservatives, so they can only be used up to 4 times a day, and usually they are not safe for contact lens wearers.

Artificial Tear Ointment

Dry eye ointments are thick and coat the front of your eye. They’re usually used 1 to 2 times daily as needed. It may be best to use them at bedtime, as it will blur your vision.

Get Dry Eye Relief Today!

Artificial tears may be a good way to temporarily relieve eye dryness. However, using the wrong type of eye drops can be worse than not using any drops at all. So be sure to consult your eye doctor before you get eye drops.

Keep in mind that eye drops don’t address the root cause of dry eyes; they just provide temporary respite from the uncomfortable dry eye symptoms. Only an eye doctor can examine your eyes to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend the best treatment for your unique case of dry eye.

Schedule an appointment with Switalski Eye Care in Plano to learn more about dry eye syndrome and to find out which treatment is best for you.

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Brian Switalski

 

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

    • A: Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes either produce low-quality tears or don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes hydrated. This may be due to certain diseases (like diabetes or other autoimmune diseases), aging, allergies, hormonal changes, smoking, poor air quality, medications and the environment.

    Q: What are the symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

          • A: Dry eye syndrome can cause a wide range of symptoms including:Itchy eyes
            A feeling that there is grit or debris in the eye
            Blurred vision
            Burning sensation
            Dryness
            Irritation
            Sensitivity to light and glare

      Q: Artificial Tears

                • A: Artificial tears are drops used to lubricate dry eyes. These drops help maintain moisture on the surface of your eyes. Artificial tears are available without a prescription from your optometrist. There is no one brand works best for every form of dry eyes. Aside lubricating the surface of your eyes, artificial tears can also promote healing of the eyes. Additionally, some types of drops work to decrease the evaporation of tears from the surface of your eyes. Artificial tears may also contain thickening agents, which keep the solution on the surface of your eyes longer.

      Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In McKinney, Texas. Visit Switalski Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

      Is Your Face Mask Causing Dry Eye Syndrome?

      Dry Eye Syndrome Treatments At Switalski Eye Care

      Dry Eye Syndrome Treatments At Switalski Eye Care

      Social distancing and face masks have become the first line of defense in preventing COVID-19. These protective measures are essential to fighting the virus’ spread.

      While masks help protect you and others from COVID-19, eye doctors have seen an increase in dry eye cases among those who wear them.

      If you’re seeking effective relief, contact Switalski Eye Care in Plano as soon as possible. We’ll offer the best solutions for your mask-associated dry eye (also known as “MADE”).

      What is Mask-Associated Dry Eye?

      Eye doctors have been seeing an increase in dry eye cases at their practice. Patients with existing dry eye syndrome complained that their symptoms worsened when wearing a mask, while other patients complained of first-time symptoms.

      Dry eye symptoms result when fast movement of air caused by exhalation leads eye tears to evaporate. A face mask that doesn’t fit securely can push air from the mouth and nose upward onto the eyes.

      What is Dry Eye?

      Dry eye syndrome causes the eyes to feel gritty, sore, irritated, and dry, and can potentially damage the cornea, if left untreated.

      Dry eye syndrome is typically caused by a number of reasons, including health and eye conditions, gender, age, and taking certain medications. Dry weather conditions, indoor heating, air conditioning, and not blinking sufficiently — which is common when staring at a computer screen — can also contribute.

      How to Prevent Dry Eye

      Here are some easy measures you can take to reduce dry eye:

      Mask sure your mask fits correctly

      If your mask doesn’t fit properly, your breath will escape from the top of your mask, potentially causing dry eye symptoms. To prevent this, choose masks that fit snugly under your eyes and around the bridge of your nose.

      Limit your time in dry environments

      If your mask is causing your eyes to feel dry, try to limit your time in windy or dry-air environments, such as windy outdoor weather and air-conditioned rooms.

      Keep in mind that people tend to blink less frequently when staring at a screen or reading a book. Blinking provides your eyes with much-needed lubrication, so remember to blink!

      Use a warm compress

      If your eyes are irritated and sore, dampening a washcloth with warm water and placing it on your closed eyelids for a few minutes can help. The warmth of the water can help stimulate your tear glands to produce more liquid and oil to help keep your eyes lubricated throughout the day.

      Use eye drops

      Using eye drops can provide the extra lubrication your eyes need to prevent them from drying out. Your eye doctor can advise you on the best drops for your eyes.

      Speak to your eye doctor

      The best way to minimize your dry eye symptoms—whether caused by a face mask or something else—is to consult your eye doctor, who will examine your eyes and prescribe treatment.

      Frequently Asked Questions About Dry Eye Syndrome

      Q: Why do my eyes sting when I wear a mask?

      • A: When wearing a loose mask the exhaled air goes into your eyes, which can cause your eyes to sting. So make sure it fits snugly around the bridge of your nose.

      Q: What kind of face mask is best to prevent dry eye?

      • A: Ideally, you should wear a face mask with a pliable nose-wire so that it can curve to your cheeks and nose, which reduces air directed toward the eyes.For more information about keeping your eyes healthy while wearing a face mask, contact Switalski Eye Care in Plano. We can help determine the underlying cause of your dry eye and offer you the best solution.


      Try These 5 Home Remedies For Dry Eye Syndrome

      Quality Eye Care At Switalski Eye Care

      Quality Eye Care At Switalski Eye Care

      If your eyes sting, burn, or feel scratchy you may have dry eye syndrome (DES), a condition that is usually caused by low-quality or low production of tears.

      There are many factors that can cause dry eyes. Smoke and dry air can dry out the eyes, and so can wearing contact lenses, taking certain medications, and spending long periods of time reading a book or looking at a computer screen. In addition, our eyes tend to get drier as we age.

      No matter the cause, dry eye syndrome can be extremely uncomfortable, and in severe cases can damage the cornea.

      While only Dr. Switalski can diagnose and treat dry eye syndrome, these 5 home remedies may provide some relief.

      Warm Compresses

      A warm compress will improve oil flow through your eyelid glands and clean your eyelids. You can make them at home with a small face cloth and warm water or purchase compresses at your local pharmacy.

      Eyelid Wash

      A great form of preventative care is eye washing. Washing your eyes you can keep your tear ducts and eyelids from getting blocked.

      To help remove crust from your eyelids and eyelashes and to keep your eyes cleaner, try applying a sting-free shampoo. Some pharmacies sell over-the-counter eyelid and eyelash washes to clean these areas.

      Add Omega-3 to Your Diet

      Oils are a necessary component of tears, as they add lubrication and reduce evaporation. Dry eye syndrome can result from insufficient oil, so adding omega-3 to your diet can increase the oil in tears.

      To increase your omega-3 intake, either take supplements or eat foods that contain high levels of the fatty acid.

      Foods that contain Omega-3 include:

      • Chia seeds
      • Flaxseed
      • Palm oil
      • Soybean oil
      • Tuna
      • Salmon
      • Walnuts

      Take Frequent Breaks and Blink More

      When watching TV, reading, or using the computer many people forget to blink. It’s important to take breaks and blink more to inspire the flow of tears, which helps keep the moisture in your eyes intact. A well-known rule to follow is the 20-20-20 rule. It involves taking breaks at least every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds — especially when staring at a computer screen or digital device for long periods.

      Tweak Your Environment

      Environmental factors can cause or exacerbate dry eye symptoms. Heat, dust, smoke, pollution, high winds, and air conditioning all dry out our eyes. Using a cold-mist humidifier and not sitting directly in front of an air conditioner, heater, or fan can help reduce eye irritation.

      Stay Hydrated

      Last but not least: drink more water! Staying well-hydrated is good for your eyes and is critical for producing healthy tears, clearing out debris, blinking, and seeing comfortably. Be sure you drink lots of water to maintain your eye health, and of course, overall physical well-being.

      Home remedies can relieve mild dry eyes but are not a replacement for a comprehensive eye exam. If the symptoms persist or worsen, contact Switalski Eye Care in Plano. We are committed to keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear.

      Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Brian Switalski

      Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

      • A: Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

      Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

      • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

      Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Plano, Texas. Visit Switalski Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.