How Can Prescription Eye Drops Treat Dry Eye

Barrett Eubanks, M.D. | August 11, 2020

How Can Prescription Eye Drops Treat Dry Eye

Treatments for dry eye span a huge spectrum. In addition to over the counter remedies for dry eye such as artificial tears and fish oil pills, prescription eyedrops work fantastically to treat dry eye.

There are two main prescription medications used to treat dry eye disease. Restasis, which has been around for a while and a new, more difficult to pronounce, medication on the scene called Xiidra. To understand how these medications work, first we have to go back to learn about dry eye. Basically there aren’t enough tears hanging around on the surface of the eye. With no protective tear coat, the cornea becomes exposed and starts to get damaged. As a result, inflammation builds up on the surface of the eye. In addition to making the eye feel uncomfortable, inflammation negatively affects the gland which produces tears, the lacrimal gland. Inflammation causes the lacrimal gland to produce less tears. And by producing less tears, dryness gets worse. Worse dryness causes more inflammation, which affects the lacrimal gland even more… 😣 As you can see, dryness causes a negative repeating cycle. Dryness begots dryness.

Enter prescription eye drops. Restasis and Xiidra work to treat the inflammation on the surface of the eye. Reducing inflammation allows the lacrimal gland to start producing more tears and also makes the eyes feel comfortable again! These medications work quite well too! After a month or two of treatment, many people find their eyes are feeling much more comfortable. It’s a wonderful addition to the dry eye toolbox.

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