What is the First Step to Treat Dry Eye?

Barrett Eubanks, M.D. | July 12, 2020

What is the First Step to Treat Dry Eye?

Many people suffer from dry eye. Many people suffer from dry eye and don’t even realize it! And for many of those people, these symptoms go away with a very simple and cheap treatment. This magical treatment is artificial tears.

What exactly are artificial tears? On the surface of the eye rests a tear film. In dry eye, this tear film just doesn’t hang around and the eye drys out. Now, if this tear film was very thick and viscous, things could be different. Artificial tears are basically a thickened liquid designed to coat the surface of the eye and protect the eye from desiccating environments.

There is actually quite a huge variety of artificial tears! Thin ones, thick ones, ones in bottles, ones in vials. A lot of it is personal preference although after surgeries, preservative-free artificial tears are often preferred.

The best first way to treat dry eye with artificial tears is to start taking artificial tears 4-6 times a day regardless of whether or not the eyes feel dry. When you have symptoms of dry eye, that means the eye has already dried out. By using artificial tears frequently, the goal is to prevent those symptoms altogether by preventing the eyes from drying out. And by preventing dryness, the eye is allowed to heal right up. All from cheap bottles found in every drugstore. No wonder eye doctors always love to talk about artificial tears!

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