Dry eye syndrome, or more accurately called dysfunctional tear syndrome, is a common condition impacting many Americans. It occurs as a result of your tear glands failing to produce either sufficient quality or quantity of tear film. Often, dry eye syndrome can cause you to experience painful symptoms, including:
- Burning sensation in your eyes
- Scratchy, gritty feeling in your eyes
- Blurry or double vision, especially early in the morning or late in the evening
- Excessive tearing
- Difficulty with contact lenses
- Irritation from smoke or allergens
- Light sensitivity
- Eye fatigue
- Feeling as if something is in your eye
- Soreness in the eyes
Fortunately, dry eye syndrome can be easily treated in order to relieve the symptoms you're experiencing. At Kirk Eye Center, we offer a variety of dry eye treatments and will recommend the right option for you based on your unique needs.
In mild cases, dry eyes can often be treated using artificial tears or other lubricating eye drops that can be purchased over-the-counter or in our office. These eye drops are often less expensive than prescription drops. However, in the event that these drops don't provide the relief you're seeking, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Kirk to have your eyes evaluated.
When Should I Consider Artificial Tears?
Artificial tears and other over-the-counter lubricating eye drops often provide effective short-term relief from dry eyes caused by issues such as:
- Excessive computer use
- Being outside in dry or windy conditions
- Eye strain caused by reading or school work
These eye drops come in varying viscosities (thickness):
- Low viscosity: These eye drops are light and watery. They provide quick relief and typically do not result in blurry vision. However, the effects of these drops typically don't last long, requiring frequent reapplication for continued relief.
- High viscosity: These eye drops have more of a gel-like consistency, resulting in longer lasting results. However, high viscosity eye drops can also cause blurry vision for a few minutes after they are used. As a result, they are typically recommended for use around bedtime or at other times when you don't need clear vision immediately after they are applied.
Preserved Eye Drops (Use Up to 4 Times Per Day)
Preserved eye drops contain chemical preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria after the bottle has been opened. As a result, these drops typically come in multi-dose bottles that can be reused many times after the bottle has been opened without fear of infection.
Dr. Kirk has found that the following preserved eye drops provide effective results:
- Refresh Tears
- Refresh Liquigel
- Tears Naturale II
- Tears Plus
- Systane (thick)
Unpreserved Eye Drops (Use as Often as Needed)
These eye drops contain fewer chemical preservatives and are commonly recommended in cases of moderate to severe dry eye syndrome that require the application of drops more than 4 times per day. Since these drops lack the preservatives necessary to prevent bacteria growth, they typically come in single-dose vials that get discarded after each usage.
Dr. Kirk has found that the following unpreserved eye drops provide effective results:
- Refresh Plus
- HypoTears PF
- Tears II Preservative Free
- Moisture Eyes PF
- Visine Tears PF
- Bion Tears (thick or viscous)
- Celuvisc (thick or viscous)
- Moisture Eyes Protect (thick or viscous)
- Bausch & Lomb Liquid Gel (thick)
Ointments/Gels (Use at Bedtime)
These ointments and gels have a higher viscosity and may cause blurry vision. As a result, they are primarily recommended for use at bedtime. Dr. Kirk recommends the following ointments and gels:
- Refresh PM Ointment
- GenTeal Gel
- Moisture Eyes PM Ointment
- Systane Gel
- Retaine Gel PM
Contact our Loveland Ophthalmologist
To find out which eye drops are right for you, please contact Kirk Eye Center using the form on this page or call 970-669-1107 today. We are proud to serve patients throughout the Loveland area, including nearby communities such as Windsor and Fort Collins.