These consist of a huge range of lubricating drops, gels and ointments that supplement your own natural tear film. They come in preserved and unpreserved formulas. Unpreserved eye drops are always recommended (rather than preserved ones) as the perservatives are designed to kill live cells and can be very toxic to the eye’s delicate tissues. Choose unit dose eye drops in small plastic tubes or measured dose eye drops in a valved delivery system (such as Hylo Forte). This avoids adding any additional irritants into your eyes.
Artificial tears have a role in supplementing your natural tear film, particularly in dry environments such as offices and airplanes. They replace moisture stripped by the dry air. In this way they act much like a moisturiser on your skin. We would caution, however, against the overuse of these drops. Even though they are not medicated, they can do more harm than good when overused. If you find you are using them more than 4-6 times a day, and not just in dry environments, then there is likely to be an underlying cause of dryness that is not being addressed. A proper diagnosis of your tear film, blink rate and quality and tear gland function, can help to identify what the underlying problem is.