Dry eyes can be quite a burden and therefore always require effective treatment. The basis for this is usually the administration of lubricating eye drops which stabilise the tear film. Read here to learn how these eye drops actually work, what you should look for when making a purchase and which other tips you should consider.
Short and sweet: a description of dry eyes
Dry eyes are often irritated and reddened, and they can also water and burn. The reason for this may lie in a dysfunctional tear film, which ruptures because of dry air from the heating, for example, and so is no longer able to lubricate the surface of the eye adequately. This is, of course, unpleasant, but can also mean that the surface of the eye is no longer supplied with enough oxygen and nutrients, which in turn might potentially lead to mild inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva.
Which eye drops help against dry eyes?
Eye drops for treating dry eyes supplement lacrimal fluid and thereby hydrate the cornea and the conjunctiva. There are many pharmaceutical forms – the preparations are most frequently offered in the form of eye drops, less often as ointments or gels for use at nighttime. There are different types of lubricating eye drops. Normally they consist of water, salts and other ingredients. There are five different substances or substance classes:
- Polyvinyl alcohols
- Cellulose derivatives
Polyvinyl alcohols, polyvidone or cellulose derivatives are usually sufficient for mild symptoms. Moderately afflicted eyes can be treated with carbomers. Hyaluronan is extremely versatile: depending on the degree of concentration, it can be used for mild, non-permanent symptoms just as well as for moderate to severe forms of dry eyes.
Alongside preparations with just one active ingredient, nowadays there are eye drops which comprise several active ingredients. These are referred to as combination preparations. Please clarify with your eye doctor which ingredients are right for you and your eyes. Wearers of contact lenses, in particular, should not shy away from asking their doctor which eye drops are suitable for avoiding irritation of the eyes.
Which eye ointment can I use for dry eyes?
Quite often, the symptoms of dry eyes are so intense that lubricating drops alone are not enough. Eyes dry out particularly at nighttime, when it is not possible to replenish the lubrication, causing uncomfortable or even painful scratching in the eyes.
Eye ointments can provide relief here thanks to their oily consistency forming a protective film, which covers the surface of the eye for several hours during sleep. The ingredient heparin, contained in PARIN POS® , has similar properties to the natural mucous layer of tears, which ensures that the tears adhere to the surface of the eye. Vitamin A, e.g. in VitA POS® is a natural component of the tear film, which supports the good tolerability of the ointment and ensures that the ointment blends well with the existing tears. The surface of the eye is kept constantly moist and the feeling of having burning, dry or tired eyes is relieved.
The ointment can also be used during the daytime should the symptoms also be unbearable during the day. The oily consistency of the ointment can temporarily impair vision.
What you should look for when purchasing lubricating eye drops
You should inform the pharmacist advising you of the following so that they can recommend to you the products which are suitable for you:
- How long you have had the symptoms
- Intensity of the symptoms
- Potential intolerances
- Preferred method of administering
- Contact lenses: yes/no
In addition, you can rate the recommended products with regard to their properties and then decide accordingly. You should get answers to the following questions:
- Good tolerability?
- Restriction of visual capability?
- Remains on the surface of the eye for a long time?
- Addition of preservatives, emulsifiers or phosphates?
- High water-binding capacity?
On the one hand, the capacity to bind water is particularly important in order to supply the eye with moisture for as long as possible, and on the other, to make use of the remaining small amount of lacrimal fluid still available. They play an important role in the health of your eyes: the long dwell time also plays a large role: the longer the substitute tears work on the eye, the less often you will have to take more drops – the preparation goes further.
General information and tips on the topic of eye drops for dry eyes
- Preservative-free eye drops are preferable, because any possible irritation of the eyes or the surface of the eyes by preservatives can be excluded from the outset. In particular, hay fever sufferers or people who have to make frequent use of eye lubricants should definitely choose a preservative-free preparation.
- You should also make sure that the drops have not had phosphate buffer or emulsifiers added. These can potentially attack the cornea and lead to a decline in vision.
- The thicker (more viscous) an artificial tear products is, the better and more long-lasting the effect is. However, very viscous preparations can impair vision.
- The effectiveness of eye drops on dry eyes is an individual perception. Sometimes it is necessary to try out several products until you find the right one.
- Eye drops should be used punctually and regularly as required. If the symptoms are already very severe, it can be that the eye drops will only have a limited effect. In this case, you should consult a doctor immediately.
- Wearers of soft contact lenses should always use preservative-free products, as the additives can accumulate on the contact lens and in so doing, can permanently damage the cornea.
- Have your eye doctor check regularly the condition and development of your disease.
Not sure which lubricating eye drops are right for you? You can get an overview of the HYLO EYE CARE® range of products here.