For some, lubricating eye drops are a must-have daily regimen. For others, lubricating eye drops should be avoided, particularly for those who have allergies or sensitivities to the components in the drops. Most doctors will suggest lubricating drops to combat the symptoms of both evaporative dry eye and aqueous deficiency. Lubricating drops can help computer users alleviate symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome. But most doctors will not always tell you which drop is best for your specific set of conditions. Only the rare doctor will tell you exactly which drop to use for your specific set of conditions.
If you ask doctors which drop to use, some will say, “Whatever you like best.” Unfortunately, “whatever you like best” may not be good for you, particularly if you pick a lubricating eye drop that contains preservatives, such as benzalkonium chloride (BAK), or if you have allergies, or sensitivities, to the other active, or inactive, ingredients in the drops.
Most preservative-free lubricating drops should be used no more than four to six times a day, although the instructions may say that they can be used as often as you like. If you are using lubricating drops more than four to six times per day, you should tell your eye doctor. Overuse of lubricating drops can wash away the mucin layer of the tear film as well as other proteins and compounds that are necessary for eye health. Overuse of eye drops can also be a sign of severe aqueous deficiency, evaporative dry eye, or even conjunctivochalasis.
If you aren’t told which drop to use and go to the drugstore looking for one, you will find a dizzying array of lubricating eye drops that can be confounding.
View our list of commonly available Lubricating Drops and Ointments.