Options to soothe and relieve symptoms of dry eye


A besetting problem in a screen-obsessed age, dry eye can be distractingly painful. Several companies offers products that promise relief.

Dry eye, a condition that results from aqueous tear deficiency or evaporative loss, affects roughly 10% to 30% of the U.S. population, especially persons older than 40 years of age. According to a report published in The Ocular Surface in 2007, approximately 3.2 million women and nearly 1.7 million men age 50 and older have dry-eye syndrome, which can be mild, moderate, or severe.

Common symptoms of dry-eye syndrome include burning, stinging, itching, and a scratchy sensation. Eyes may also feel fatigued or sensitive to light and irritated by wind or smoke. They may appear red. An optometrist or ophthalmologist can determine the cause of dry-eye syndrome and suggest appropriate over-the-counter mediations for patients.


Mild-to-moderate symptom relief

Image courtesy of AlconFor mild-to-moderate symptoms of dry eye, Alcon offers Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops to help to relieve irritation and provide long-lasting relief. Active ingredients include polyethylene glycol 400 0.4% and propylene glycol 0.3%. The eyedrops are available in 10 mL bottles and a combination pack of one 10 mL bottle for home use and one 5 mL bottle for on-the-go use. For sensitive eyes, a preservative-free formula is available in single-use vials.

For moderate symptoms of dry eye, Systane Gel Drops, with the same active ingredients found in Systane Ultra eyedrops, are formulated to provide a thicker coverage that protects the eye by day or night.  For night use, patients may choose Systane Nighttime Ointment, with active ingredients of mineral oil 3% and white petrolatum 94%, to help eyes remain lubricated and comfortable. To prevent further irritation, the preservative-free ointment is also an option.

Bausch+Lomb Soothe Hydration Lubricant Eye Drops help to relieve dryness and combat irritation. The product contains the demulcent povidone 1.25%; according to the company, this protects the cornea and supplements the aqueous layer of the tear film. Soothe Long Lasting Preservative Free Formula is also available to treat sensitive eyes and post-LASIK dry eye. Its active ingredients - glycerin 0.6% and lubricant propylene glycol 0.6% - along with a hydrophilic polymer, alginate, help repair the damaged mucin layer of the tear film. Bausch+Lomb Soothe Night Time Lubricant Eye Ointment has two lubricants - mineral oil 20% and white petrolatum 80% - that relieve dryness and prevent further irritation. It should be applied to the inside of the lower eyelid and can be used one or more times daily.

Allergan offers Refresh Optive Advanced Lubricant Eye Drops, formulated to relieve dryness, burning, and irritation. The active ingredients - carboxymethylcellulose sodium 0.5%, glycerin 1%, and polysorbate 80 (0.5%) - work on all three layers of the tear film (lipid, aqueous, and mucin layers) to offer long-lasting dry-eye relief. Other products in this product line include Refresh Optive, Refresh Plus, Refresh Tears, and Refresh Classic Preservative-Free Lubricant Eye Drops.


Moderate-to-severe symptom relief

OCuSOFT has introduced Retaine MGD, a preservative-free ophthalmic emulsion for the relief of moderate-to-severe symptoms of dry eye. It’s available in 30 sterile single-dose vials (0.4 mL each) and contains light mineral oil 0.5% and mineral oil 0.5%. The ingredients combine with tears to act on the three layers of the tear film to provide immediate dry-eye relief. Other dry-eye products from OCuSOFT include Retaine HPMC Lubricant Eye Drops, Retaine CMC Lubricant Eye Drops, and Retain PM Ointment 5GM.

Alcon’s BION TEARS Lubricant Eye Drops help to temporarily relieve irritation and burning associated with dry-eye syndrome. Its ingredients of zinc and bicarbonate mimic the components of natural tears. The preservative-free product is recommended for patients with Sjogren’s syndrome, a severe form of dry eye.

For contact lens wearers

Individuals who need help keeping their contact lenses moist can consider Alcon’s OPTI-FREE PureMoist Contact Lens Solution with HydraGlyde. Used throughout the day, the product offers a barrier to deposits and dirt. It can be used to disinfect all types of soft contact lenses. OPTI-FREE PureMoist Rewetting Drops can be used to moisten lenses - including silicone hydrogel lenses - and prevent deposit build-up.

Bausch+Lomb is introducing its PeroxiClear 3% hydrogen perioxide cleaning and disinfecting solution. which is said to provide up to 20 hours of moisture. According to the company, the hydrogen peroxide solution neutralizes in about four hours, more quickly than most other peroxides. It can be used with soft and gas-permeable contact lenses.

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