The Benefits and Risks of Using Eye Drops for Dry Eye

Do you suffer from dry eye syndrome? It was found that almost 16 million Americans suffer from a dry eye condition. It is a common eye condition in which the eyes cannot produce natural tears for maintaining the front surface of the eyes, which are also greatly responsible for clear vision.

Tears are necessary for the natural lubrication of the eyes. They also wash away foreign matter and reduce the risk of eye infections. Dry eyes can happen either due to inadequate amounts or poor quality tears. If you or your loved one suffer from dry eyes, there are many over-the-counter eye drops that can instantly provide relief.

They can be used many times throughout the day to properly lubricate your eyes and relieve symptoms that are associated with dry eyes without the need for a prescription. However, sometimes certain unprescribed eye drops can come with their own set of risks. Wondering what can work for you? You can read more about it here to find the best eye drops for dry eyes. In this article, we are going to talk about certain benefits and risks associated with OTC eye drops for treating dry eyes.

Benefits of Over-the-counter Eye Drops:

  • Restoring eyes’ natural moisture: Eye drops are great for restoring your eye’s natural moisture when they are not capable of making enough or good quality tears on their own. It can instantly relieve any kind of irritation or a burning sensation and provide comfort.


  • Injury-related surface healing:Eye drop solutions can also promote healing of the eye’s surface in case of an injury by flushing out residual particles and injurious contaminants. It can reduce the feeling of a surface scratch and keep the eye lubricated for better healing.


  • Alleviate burning or stinging sensations:There are anti-allergic eye drops that are known to provide relief in case of stinging or burning sensations in the eyes. These sensations are caused mostly due to allergies and can happen mostly during the allergy season.


  • Prevent Blindness:There are eye drops available over the counter that are meant for treating glaucoma. It can even prevent blindness by reducing the pressure inside the eyes which might be responsible for harming the sensitive retina.

Risks Associated with Over-the-counter Eye Drops:

  • Harmful preservatives:There are certain preservatives that are responsible for the longer shelf lives of some over-the-counter eye drops. These preservatives can irritate the eyes if used more than the recommended dose in a single day. For instance, you should not use any eye drops more than four times in one day. However, in case of severe dry eye conditions, you might need more than four doses per day. This is when you should check the labels carefully and opt for preservative-free eye drops.


  • Possible contamination:The tip of the eye drop bottle is susceptible to contamination if it touches another surface or the exterior of your unclean eye. In such a case you should replace the lid after application and be very careful as to not let it touch the tip of your eye. Always read warning labels to avoid contamination and the best storage guidance.


  • Loose seals: Over-the-counter eye drops with loose rings or seals should be strictly avoided as these loose parts might land up in the eyes. Always check if the safety seals are attached to the bottles or not while purchasing and go for a firmly attached safety seal.


  • Side effects of artificial tears:They are certain side effects of artificial tears like a cloudy vision that can temporarily happen right after application. You should steer clear from operating any machinery or vehicle in such cases.


  • Allergy reactions: You might be allergic to certain drugs present in eye drops. These allergic reactions can cause dizziness, swelling, hives, wheezing, or vomiting. Get medical help immediately if you see any of these symptoms.

Dry eyes are one of the most common eye conditions across the globe. It occurs mostly due to ineffective or decreased tear production. You can experience common symptoms like blurred vision, red eyes, light sensitivity, foreign object sensation, fatigue, stinging sensations, or watery eyes in the case of dry eyes. It is always advisable to book an appointment with a reliable optometrist near you to find long-term solutions for your dry eye condition. Before using any over-the-counter eye drop solutions, always get it checked with your ophthalmologist or optometrist as the solution might contain certain chemicals that your eyes should not be exposed to. Moreover, always use the prescribed dose every day to keep your eyes moist. If you constantly find yourself reaching for your eye drops, you might also have something bigger than dry eyes. Get medical help immediately!