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Best Eye Drops for Chronic Dry Eye Syndrome

Do you frequently suffer from dry eyes or visual discomfort? A healthy eye depends on the flow of tears to provide consistent lubrication and moisture, maintaining good comfort and clear vision. Tears are made up of a combination of oils for lubrication, water for moisture, and mucus for spreading, and also come packed with special proteins and antibodies that help to protect the eye from infection. The various components that make up tears are secreted by glands located around the eye, and when the system stops working as it should, people suffer from dry eyes.

What Causes Dry Eye?

Dry eye occurs when the eye is unable to properly produce tears, or when the tears are not of the proper consistency, and therefore evaporate too quickly. Along with dry eye, it is common to experience inflammation around the surface of the eye, and if this is left untreated, the condition may lead to ulcers, pain, or scars across the cornea, as well as the potential for some vision loss. Thankfully, permanent vision loss associated with dry eye is not common. Dry eye often makes it difficult to perform certain activities, such as reading or using a computer, and it can make living in dry environments highly uncomfortable. Other names for dry eye syndrome include dysfunctional tear syndrome, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, lacrimal keratoconjunctivitis, aqueous tear deficiency, evaporative tear deficiency, and LASIK-induced neurotrophic epitheliopathy.

Dry eye can be associated with:

  • any disease process that may alter the components in tears
  • inflammation of the lacrimal gland, the conjunctiva, or the surface of the eye
  • cosmetic surgery, such as if the eyelids are opened too wide.
  • an increase in the surface area of the eye – such as in thyroid diseases when the eye protrudes

Symptoms of Dry Eye

The signs and symptoms of dry eye, which typically stretch to both eyes, regardless of the condition, may include:

  • string mucus around or inside the eye
  • a burning, stinging, or scratchy sensation in the eyes
  • redness within the eyes
  • the feeling of having something in your eye
  • light sensitivity
  • trouble wearing contact lenses
  • watery eyes
  • eye fatigue and blurred vision
  • trouble seeing at night

Treating Dry Eye with Eye Drops

The best way a person can help to relieve their own symptoms of dry eye is to utilize gels, artificial tears, ointments, and eye drops that are available either on a prescription basis, or as over-the-counter remedies. These solutions offer a way to replace tears in patients with a deficiency, and offer temporary relief. The eye drops available to people suffering from dry eye syndrome can frequently be categorized into two: the first category is for prescription eye drops, and the second is for over the counter (OTC) eye drops. OTC eye drops can be an appropriate solution in many cases, and are also far more convenient and cheaper for the patient involved. However, if symptoms persist or get worse, then it is crucial to visit an eye doctor.

Featured Eye Drop Products

Did you know the prevalence of dry eye syndrome increases with age. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, an estimated 3.2 million women age 50 and over and 1.68 million men age 50 and over are affected by dry eye syndrome. Eye industry experts estimate that 25 million Americans are already affected by symptoms of dry eye and don’t even know it!

Eye Drop Product Manufacturer More Info
✔ NanoTears MXP Forte (2 bottles, 10ml per bottle) – Preservative Free with NanoTechnology NanoTears Get Product Details on
✔ NanoTears TF (2 bottles, 15ml bottles) –  Preservative Free with NanoTechnology NanoTears Get Product Details on

Top 25 Best Rated Eye Drop Products on Amazon

The following products are considered Amazon’s best selling eye drops. The columns below highlight the product, manufacturer/brand, rating and number of reviews found.

Eye Drop Product Manufacturer Rating Reviews
Allergan Refresh Plus Lubricant Eye Drops Single-Use Vials – 100 ct Refresh Plus 4.6 out of 5 stars 266 customer reviews
Systane Lubricant Eye Drops, 1 Ounce Systane 4.7 out of 5 stars 286 customer reviews
Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops, 2-count .33 fl oz (10 ml) Bottle Systane 4.7 out of 5 stars 326 customer reviews
Alcon Zaditor Twin Pack Eye-Drops, 0.34 Ounce Alcon 4.7 out of 5 stars 185 customer reviews
Ocusoft Retaine MGD Ophthalmic Emulsion, Milky White Solution, 30 Single Use Containers OCuSOFT 4.6 out of 5 stars 585 customer reviews
Refresh Optive Advanced Preservative Free Lubricant Eye Drops 30ct. Refresh 4.5 out of 5 stars 146 customer reviews
Systane Gel Drops Lubricant Eye Gel, Anytime Protection, 0.33-FL OZ Systane 4.6 out of 5 stars 208 customer reviews
Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops, 0.34 Ounces, 2 Count Alaway 4.6 out of 5 stars 327 customer reviews
Systane Vials Eye Drops, 60 Count Systane 4.6 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews
Rohto Maximum Redness Relief, 0.4 fl oz Rohto 4.2 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews
Oasis TEARS PLUS Lubricant Eye Drops Relief For Dry Eyes, One 30 Count Box Sterile Disposable Containers Oasis 4.5 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews
Bausch & Lomb Soothe Lubricant Eye Ointment, Night Time,1/8 oz. Bausch & Lomb 4.4 out of 5 stars 302 customer reviews
Original Laiter Collyre Bleu Eye Drops 10 Ml LAITER 3.6 out of 5 stars 208 customer reviews
Refresh Preservative-Free Lubricant Eye Drop – 30 Single Use Containers Refresh 4.5 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews
Alcon Genteal Mild/Moderate Eye Drops, 0.84 Ounce Alcon 4.9 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews
Bausch & Lomb Sensitive Eyes Rewetting Drops, 1 Ounce Bottle Bausch & Lomb 4.6 out of 5 stars 307 customer reviews
Icaps Lutein and Omega-3 Eye Vitamin and Mineral Supplement, 30 softgels ICaps 4.5 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews
Bausch & Lomb Advanced Eye Relief Rejuvenation Lubricant Eye Drops, 1-Ounce Bausch & Lomb 4.5 out of 5 stars 165 customer reviews
Visine? Sterile Advanced Redness + Irritation Relief Eye Drops, 1fl oz (Pack of 3) Visine 4.5 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews
Sodium Chloride 5% Ophthalmic Ointment 0 .12 oz (3. 5 gm) (Compare to Muro 128.),Pack of 3 Akorn 4.7 out of 5 stars 209 customer reviews
Refresh Optive Lubricant Eye Drops, Box of 2 x 15 ml bottles Allergan 4.8 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews
Rohto Redness Relief Arctic (0.4 fl oz). Rohto 4.2 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews
Vision Clarity Carnosine (NAC) Eye Drops, 2 Vials per box each 5 ml, Dry Eye, more Vision Clarity Carnosine Eye Drops 3.7 out of 5 stars 240 customer reviews
Systane Balance Lubricant Eye Drops – 10 ml – Twin Pack Systane 4.4 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

Over the Counter Eye Drops

OTC drops, or lubricating artificial tears, can offer short-term relief for dry eyes when the cause of the problem is related to temporary issues such as strain from over-use of a computer, being outdoors in particularly dry or windy conditions, or dealing with excessive tiredness. Most OTC eye drops work by supplementing the tears with elements that should already been in your eyes already in order to make the eye more moist, and feel more comfortable.These eye drops are available in various viscosities and with different ingredients. Eye drops with a low viscosity are generally watery and light, and capable of providing quick or even immediate relief to individuals with dry eyes, while allowing them to avoid the side effect of blurred vision. Unfortunately, low-viscosity eye drops usually have a short-lived effect, and sometimes patients must use the drops frequently to get any relief.Alternatively, artificial tears with a higher viscosity offer a more gel-like consistency, and can provide lubrication that lasts for a much longer period. Typically, however, these drops cause a great deal of blurring in the vision for a number of minutes after being applied. For this reason, the drops may not be a good choice if you need to continue working throughout the day, or if you need clear vision immediately for tasks such as driving. High viscosity drops are generally recommended more for use at bedtime.When choosing the best over the counter eye drops, in some cases, the ingredients used can determine the kind of eye condition they are best suited for. For example, examination of the packaging may indicate that one brand works more effectively for people suffering with evaporative dry eye syndrome, while another is better suited to people with aqueous deficiency. It’s often a good idea to avoid eye drops that contain decongestants, and you can recognize these as they are often advertised as offering relief for red eyes. Although decongestants can help to reduce the appearance of redness around the eyes, they can also cause the dry eye symptoms to become worse for the long-term. If the problems you are suffering from in regards to dry eye are more severe, you may need to utilize an ointment or lubricating gel.

Eye Drops with Preservatives

Many eye drops come in two distinct formats: those without preservatives and those with preservatives. When a brand adds preservatives to their eye drops, they do so to help prevent the growth of bacteria, however some people can find that these particular eye drops are irritating to their eyes, or make their eyes more sensitive. These drops are not recommended for people with serious eye dryness, or those with significant eye conditions. Some common eye drops that contain preservatives include:

  • Computer Eye Drops
  • Moisture Eyes
  • HypoTears

Generally, eye drops that do not include preservatives may be recommended for people suffering from severe to moderate dry eyes. These drops are sometime sold in single-use containers, and are often more expensive. Examples of eye drops that do not contain preservatives include:

  • Refresh Optive Advanced
  • Sooth XP
  • Systane Balance

If the dryness that you are experiencing in your eyes is caused by a lower level of oil within your tears, chances are that your doctor will recommend eye drops that contain extra oil. Some of the most effective eye drops that include oil are:

  • Sooth XP
  • Refresh Optive Advanced
  • Systane Balance

Prescription Eye Drops (Restasis or Allergan)

Certain types of prescription medication can be helpful when it comes to treating or reducing the symptoms of dry eye syndrome. For example, many doctors prescribe eye lubricating medications such as Lacrisert, which is an artificial tear insert similar to a contact lens that can be placed on the eye one or two times a day. The insert includes cellulose, which helps to thicken and stabilize the film of tears that sit naturally over the eye, prolonging the soothing effect and reducing the feeling of soreness and discomfort.Some doctors may recommend the daily use of a prescription eye drop either alongside over the counter artificial tears, or instead of them. The most commonly used prescription eye drops are Restasis or Allergan, and they are beneficial because they are capable of doing far more than simply lubricating the eye surface. Instead, these prescription medications include agents that are responsible for reducing the inflammation that is commonly present in dry eye syndrome, and they can be used as a way of helping your body to produce more tears naturally. The more that Restasis can reduce inflammation within the surface of the eye, the more your eye should be able to maintain a naturally healthy tear film.However, it is important for patients to keep in mind that the therapeutic effects associated with the use of over-the-counter eye drops such as Restasis may not be immediate. In fact, many doctors suggest that patients must continue to use the drops on a daily basis for at least a period of ninety days in order to experience the true benefits of the treatment. What’s more, a large percentage of people who use Restasis to combat the effects of dry eye syndrome will suffer from side effects such as burning and discomfort during the first weeks of their treatment.

Steroid Eye Drops

Another option for individuals in search of eye drops that may help to treat or reduce the impact of dry eye is the steroid eye drops. Over the recent years, doctors have been able to discover the importance of inflammation as an issue associated with dry eye disease. However, in many cases, inflammation can be present without any visible symptoms or signs. Although artificial tears and eye drops can help to reduce the feeling of dryness, they will not address any inflammatory changes around the eye, and thus, your doctor may recommend a course of steroid eye drops as a way of managing the inflammation that can be associated with cases of dry eye.Usually, steroid drops will be used on a short-term basis in order to manage symptoms quickly, and they are frequently used in conjunction with solutions like Restasis or over the counter eye drops as a complement to other treatment strategies. Although a small amount of the steroid in steroid eye drops can be absorbed systematically, the effects of steroid eye drops in the right candidate are typically not noticed beyond the eye. However, you should take the time to discuss your medical history with your eye doctor in depth before you begin using these eye drops. Many different types of steroids are available, and most differ in regards to potency. Many doctors will prefer to start patients on milder steroids that are able to degrade quickly inside of the eye. However, if you are suffering from particularly intense symptoms, then far more potent eye drops may be recommended. Steroid eye drops can increase the risks associated with cataracts and high eye pressure when used for an extended period of time, which is one of the reasons why these solutions are only ever offered on a short-term basis.

Take Dry Eyes Seriously

While certain products can work to remove the redness from your eyes on a temporary basis, they will not treat the underlying causes of dry eyes. If your goal is to treat dry eyes, then you should typically avoid products that promise to reduce redness, such as Clear Eyes and Visine.In most cases, the causes of mild eye dryness can be treated with over the counter eye drops, but it’s important to remember that dry eyes can sometimes occur as a result of serious health problems, which is why you should have your eye health regularly evaluated.