Tuesday, March 22, 2022

What Eye Drops should I avoid for Dry Eye Disease?

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In this piece of article, I'll show you three different over-the-counter eye drops that I would not use to treat dry eye disease. I will tell you about one lesser know eye drop you may also want to look out for.

4 Eye Drops Not Recommended

1. Soothe lubricant eye drops

soothe maximum hydration lubricant eye drops by Bausch & Lomb. The main reason I do not recommend this eye drop is the preservative they use in it. The preservative contained in this eye drop is benzalkonium chloride or BAK.


There are three different types of preservatives that are commonly used in drops. Detergent type, Oxidative type, and Ionic buffering systems.

The detergent type of preservative is the most toxic type to the surface of the eye, and BAK is the most toxic of the detergent type preservatives. BAK is also commonly used in many different types of medication eye drops such as antibiotic eye drops. Where its toxicity can actually be an advantage for short-term use.

BAK can interfere with the connections between the cells on the surface of the eye and reduce the number of cells on the outer layer of the eye called epithelial cells.

Therefore it can be quite harmful to the eye surface when used frequently or over a long period of time. If you really like the family of soothing eye drops, you would be better off using the soothe XP lubricant eye drops from the same company as they contain polyquad as the preservative.

Although polyquad is also a detergent type of preservative. It is less toxic than BAK. Because the cells on the surface of the eye tend to repel polyquad making it less toxic to the eye surface. Even better among the soothe family of the eye drops are the preservative-free eye drops.

2. Clear Eyes Drops

Clear eyes natural tears eye drops by prestige consumer healthcare. There are two reasons that I do not recommend using clear eyes natural tears for treating dry eyes.

The first is that this eye drop also uses benzalkonium chloride or BAK as its preservative and there is no preservative-free version of this eye drop.

The second reason is that this eye drop contains polyvinyl alcohol or PVA which is a demulcent that lowers the viscosity or thickness of the eye drop. PVA is found in many older types of artificial tear eye drops.

There are more effective newer compounds that are available as a demulcent in eye drops such as propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol which are used in some newer artificial tears eye drops.

3. Visine Eye Drops

Visine dry eye relief, Visine red-eye hydrating comfort, and Visine red-eye total comfort by Johnson & Johnson. Visine red-eye hydrating comfort and Visine red-eye total comfort contain tetrahydrozoline to reduce eye redness.

Tetrahydrozoline is a chemical that temporarily constricts the blood vessels on the eye surface to reduce the appearance of eye redness. Frequent and long-term use of tetrahydrozoline can cause rebound dilation of the blood vessels on the eye surface when the eye drop is discontinued.

This means the eye will appear red if the eye drop is discontinued. Now unlike Visine red-eye total comfort, some other Visine eye drops like Visine dry eye relief do not contain tetrahydrozoline.

However, all three Visine eye drops I mentioned use BAK as their preservative, and as always, I recommend avoiding long-term use of any over-the-counter eye drops that contain BAK due to its toxicity to the surface of the eye.

If you really would like to choose an eye drop from the Visine family to treat dry eyes. You would be better off choosing Visine dry relief tired eye lubricant eye drops or Visine dry eye relief all-day comfort, as the preservative used in those two drops is polyquad which is less toxic than BAK.

4. Rohto Cooling Eye Drops

It is less well known than the other over-the-counter eye drops. Rohto cooling Digi eye contains both tetrahydrozoline and BAK which as we already talked about can be toxic to your eyes.

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