Best Eye Drops for Dry Eyes



by Lydia


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The eyes are by far one of the most sensitive organs in our bodies. Dry eyes, in particular, make you feel as though there's a foreign body in your eye. As such, your eyes look red and irritated, not to mention how itchy they feel. Spending countless hours staring at screens, wearing masks, and allergies are some of the factors that cause dry eyes. 

Dry eye syndrome comes about when the tears in your eyes are not enough for lubrication. For this reason, eye drops are used to relieve the symptoms of dry eyes. Eye drops are formulated with chemicals that help provide artificial tears to the eyes. In this article, we have a list of the best eye drops for dry eyes based on our research and things you should look out for before buying.

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 Best Eye Drops For Dry Eyes


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Best Eye Drops For Dry Eyes - Reviews

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The Refresh Optive eye drops have a dual-action formula that lubricates and hydrates the ocular surface of the eye. These over-the-counter drops relieve mild symptoms of eye dryness by adding soothing moisture to the eyes fast.

Refresh Optive natural tears are preservative-free. For this reason, you can use the eye drops for sensitive dry eyes. In addition, this pack of drops contains 60 on-the-go single-use vials. This type of packaging ensures the longevity of the eye drops by reducing the risk of contamination.

ThE Optive lubricant eye drops are formulated for use after LASIK or other eye surgeries to relieve dryness and itchiness. This is because Refresh eye drops have two active ingredients, glycerin and carboxymethylcellulose. However, it is best to do this with the help of your eye care professional.


  • The eye drops are preservative-free


  • They are expensive

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Retained MGD is a preservative-free ophthalmic emulsion. It moisturizes, lubricates and protects from moderate to severe dryness.

These eye drops provide long-lasting relief. In addition, these drops are made using a cationic oil emulsion technology that uses charges to deliver ingredients. This technology is based on the fact that positive charges on the eye droplets attract negative charges on the ocular surface.

The emulsion is hypotonic and adds moisture to the eye by reducing the salt concentration of the tears. The lipid component of the artificial tears lubricates and protects the surface of the eye. Mineral oil makes up part of the lipid component to achieve a soothing and long-lasting effect.


  • You can use the drops for eye dryness caused by fewer lipids in the eye
  • Does not contain any preservatives


  • The mineral oil in the eye drops can cause an allergic reaction to some people

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Refresh artificial tears are made from an original formula aimed at relieving mild symptoms of eye dryness. They work by instantly moisturizing and lubricating the eyes. In addition, the main active ingredient is Carboxymethylcellulose sodium. This ingredient does not cause allergies.


  • They do not sting
  • They are affordable


  • They contain preservatives
  • Frequent use can alleviate symptoms of dry eyes

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There Tears Dry Eye Therapy Drops are lubricating to provide immediate, long-lasting relief of dry eye symptoms. In addition, the formula used to make these drops not only moisturizes the eye surface but also corrects the salt imbalance that causes the symptoms.

The Thera Tears formula utilizes a specific hypotonic and electrolyte balanced method that replicates healthy natural tears.

These lubricating eye drops offer the benefits of a preservative-free solution in a bottle. This is because Thera uses a unique preserving ingredient that turns into pure oxygen and water on eye contact.

Thera Tears was created by an Ophthalmologist after 18 years of research and is a common prescription eye drop.


  • They are preservative-free in the eye
  • They are affordable


  • It cannot be used when you are wearing contact lenses

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Systane over-the-counter lubricant drops offer fast, long-lasting relief from dry eye symptoms such as itching, redness of the eye, fatigue and blurred vision. In addition, these drops give extended protection to the eyes and reduce the signs and symptoms instantly.


  • Provides extended relief
  • Comes as a twin pack


  • Do not offer nighttime protection
  • It cannot be used when you're wearing contact lenses
  • Do not restore the lipid layer
  • Not preservative-free

What to Look Out For Before Buying Eye Drops

1. Preservatives

Preservatives are added to eye drops to increase their longevity. The reason for this is that preservatives kill germs and prevent the growth of bacteria in the bottle. Some eye drops have preservatives, while others do not.

The downside of with-preservatives eye drops is that they cause irritation and can worsen the symptoms of dryness. In addition, prolonged use of eye drops with preservatives can damage your eyes.

Preservative-free eye drops are recommended for dry eyes, especially if the dryness is severe. They are labeled on the bottle as preservative-free tears to differentiate these eye drops from those with preservatives. However, these artificial tear drops are more expensive.

2. Lipids

The eye tear film is made of three components, namely water(aqua), oil(lipids) and mucous(mucin). Each component serves an important function. For example, lipids prevent the tear film from evaporating quickly and hence increase lubrication.

As such, a dry eye can be caused by a reduced amount of lipids in the eyes. For this reason, the best eye drops for dry eyes would be ones that are lipid-based such as mineral-oil-based and Perfluorohexyloctane drops.

3. Allergy

Often than not, allergies can be the root cause of a dry eye. However, it might be hard to diagnose the root cause for your eyes being dry without the help of an eye doctor. In addition, it is recommended not to use allergy drops to relieve the symptoms of a dry eye. As much as these allergy drops will reduce itchiness, the long-term effect is that the oil layer in your eyes will be tampered with and should not be used to treat dry eyes.

4. Active Ingredients

Common ingredients to make lubricating eye drops include glycerin, polyethylene glycol and carboxymethylcellulose, among others. It is possible to be allergic to any of these constituents. As such, you can suffer from the side effects instead of getting relief. Therefore, it is important to be familiar with the constituents of the drops you are using to monitor their performance. Sometimes, you will have to go through several trial-and-error eye drops to find which ones work best for you.

5. Formula

The best drops for a dry eye should be the ones that are specifically formulated for dry eyes. There are plenty of artificial tear drops on the market; hence it is important to match the drops to your specific eye needs. For example, if you suffer from dry eye syndrome, using redness relieving eye drops will not alleviate your symptoms.

Causes and Symptoms of Dry Eyes

It is important to understand the causes and symptoms of dry eyes, having looked at key factors to consider before purchasing eye drops. Some of the causes are:

1. Prolonged Screen Time

We tend to spend most hours staring at computer screens during work and smartphones when relaxing and connecting with friends and family. During this time, we blink our eyes less. As a result, there is more tear evaporation and an increase in dry eye symptoms.

2. Underlying Diseases

Certain pre-existing health conditions and diseases such as Sjogren's syndrome, thyroid-related conditions, lupus and diabetes can lead to dry eyes. If you have symptoms of dry eyes and suffer from any of these conditions, it is best to seek the opinion of an eye doctor before self-medicating.

3. Contact Lenses

Contact lens wearers are at a higher risk of developing dry eye symptoms because the lenses prevent lacrimal fluids necessary for the eye from being distributed over the eye's surface. As a result, ruptures appear on the lubricating film. A dry eye makes up the number one reason why most contact lens wearers stop wearing them.

To reduce the chances of developing a dry eye, contact lens wearers should only wear the lenses for the prescribed time. In addition, it is recommended to use rewetting drops to moisten the eyes. You can do this before putting on the contacts and throughout the day.

4. Age

Aging is a normal part of life. Dry eye symptoms can occur at any age, depending on other underlying factors. However, these symptoms become more paramount, especially after reaching age 50.

5. Medications

Certain medications, prescribed or otherwise, can increase the chances of developing a dry eye. Such medications include antidepressants, antihistamines and birth control. In addition, blood pressure medications such as diuretics and beta-blockers can alleviate symptoms of dry eyes.


Eye procedures such as LASIK can occasionally cause dry eyes. This, however, depends on whether or not you had symptoms before the procedure. In such a case, eye doctors recommend getting treatment for dry eyes first.

7. The Environment

Levels of humidity in the atmosphere can affect the moisture in your eyes. For example, air conditioning and heating systems can decrease the humidity in a room. The result of this is an increase in dry eye symptoms since the rate of evaporation is high. In addition, windy atmosphere and dry conditions can have similar effects.

8. Masks

Wearing masks is common in recent times, especially for protection against Covid-19. Masks push out air from the mouth and nose upwards to the eyes. This causes the natural tear film to evaporate quickly and cause dry eyes as a result.

Symptoms of Dry Eyes

Symptoms of dry eyes include:

1.Irritation and Itchiness

Dry eyes can cause eye irritation. The irritation causes general discomfort and feels like there is a foreign object in your eyes.

2. Mild Burning

A mild burning sensation is also a common symptom of dry eyes. Sometimes, sharp pain that feels like a needle sticking the eye can be felt.

3. Redness of the Eye

Symptoms of dry eyes include red and sometimes sore eyes. The eyes redden when the normal tear film breaks. The surface of the eye becomes irritated causing the eye to dry. As a result, the body reacts by increasing the blood circulation in the eyes hence causing them to redden.

4. Fatigue

Dry eyes try to close on their own as a way of protecting whatever moisture is left. Because of this reaction, the eyes feel heavy and fatigued.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) on The Best Eye Drops for Dry Eyes.

1. What are the Best Eye Drops for Severe Dry Eyes?

The best artificial tear drops for severe drys should be preservative-free drops that moisten and alleviate dry eyes symptoms. You may have to use several types of drops to get the ones that work best for your eyes. Alternatively, seeking the counsel of an eye doctor to get the root cause of your dry eyes can help you figure the best artificial tears to use.

2. Are Eye Drops Good for Dry Eyes?

Eye drops are artificial tears used to lubricate dry eyes. In addition, lubricating drops add moisture to the outer surface of the eyes and prevent dryness. That said, if you have dry eyes, you can use eye drops to alleviate the symptoms.

3. How Often Should You Use Lubricating Eye Drops for Dry Eyes?

Usually, lubricating drops are used as often as needed to moisten the eyes. However, eye drops with preservatives should not be used more than four times a day. Therefore, it is important to look at any specific directions given for use in the box.


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