10 Best Eye Drops for Dry Eyes

best eye drops for dry eyes
Image: iStock (SelectStock)

Written by Dr Leigh Plowman, Optometrist & Dry Eye Clinician

Why are my eyes irritated? You’re sure that there’s nothing in your eyes. But they’re still not right. So you look for an eye drop to give relief.

Eye drops are more than just salt water. They are made specifically to mimic the normal lubrication in your eyes.

Did you know that not all drops are created equal?

No single eye drop can work for all types of dry eyes. It is common to try several types to find one that suits you best.

So what drops can give you lasting relief? Here are my picks to hydrate and lubricate your eyes:

Refresh-Optive-Mega-3

Refresh Optive Mega-3

Why I love it:

  • Flaxseed and castor oil to support oil layer of tears
  • Supports all three layers of tears
  • Non-preserved vials

Currently, this eye drop is the number one best seller on Amazon for moisturising eye drops. Check price and buy now online

theratears-dry-eye-therapy

Theratears Dry Eye Therapy Drops

Why I love it:

  • Unique drop that helps reduce the saltiness of tears (hypotonic) and restores electrolyte balance
  • Boost moisture in mid-tear film
  • Preservative-free when the drop hits the eye
Optimel-Manuka-Dry-Eye-Drops

Optimel Manuka Honey Drops

Why I love it:

  • Naturally derived drop from Manuka Honey
  • Reduces inflammation and irritation in the eyes
  • Helps reduce symptoms of blepharitis

Check price and buy now online

retaine-MGD

Retaine MGD (or Cationorm)

Why I love it:

  • Boosts the normal oil layer thickness
  • Positively charged nano-particles help the drop to stay longer in the eye
  • Has mild anti-inflammatory effects without being a prescription drop
  • Preservative-free drop
Systane-Complete-PF

Systane Complete PF

Why I love it:

  • Helps support the oil layer of tears
  • Nano-droplet size for better coverage and less wastage
  • Preservative-free drop

Oculocin-propo

Oculocin Propo

Why I love it:

  • Contains natural ingredients (aloe vera and propolis)
  • Natural discomfort relief (analgesic effects)
  • Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects
  • Preservative-free drop
s-l500__92444.1527739329

Xailin Night Ointment

Why I love it:

  • Gives significant relief for people who wake up with irritated, watery eyes
  • Does not contain retinoids (e.g. vitamin A) which can affect Meibomian Glands
  • Preservative-free ointment
lumify

Lumify Eye Drops

Why I love it:

  • Reduces red eyes without the rebound redness from visine or murine
  • Fits with Nanodropper attachment (sold separately which reduces drop size and preservative amount
  • Available without a prescription
Thealoz-duo

Thealoz Duo Drops

Why I love it:

  • Has anti-inflammatory effects due to polysaccharide complexes
  • Hyalauronic acid forms a gel-like cushion for the eyes
  • Preservative Free Drop
hylo-forte

Hylo-Forte Eye Drops

Why I love it:

  • Great for boosting moisture in the eyes
  • Hyalauronic acid forms a gel-like cushion for the eyes
  • Preservative Free Drop and lasts up to six months

Need a hand finding these drops? Purchase products through our Online Store

Can I get Prescription Eye Drops for Dry Eyes?

We have several anti-inflammatory drops available now, including:

  • Xiidra (Lifitegrast) drops- these are anti-inflammatory drops
  • Cequa (cyclosporin) drops- also anti-inflammatory drops
  • Eyesuvis (loteprednol) drops- short term anti-inflammatory drops to reduce dry eye flare ups
  • Restasis (cyclosporin) drops- anti-inflammatory drops=

Learn more in this guide for Xiidra vs Restasis vs Cequa vs Ikervis

Video on Best Eye Drops for Dry Eyes

Dr Joseph Allen, known as Doctor Eye Health on Youtube, shares his best eye drops for dry eyes:

Top Three Eye Drops for Dry Eyes (Doctor Eye Health)

Five things to Avoid in Artificial Tears:

  • ‘Clear’ or ‘Red Eye’ drops – Drops with Naphazoline or Tetrahydrozoline can make your red eyes worse with regular use. This is because the blood vessels become dependent on the ingredients. If you stop them, your red eyes can actually look worse. These ingredients are often seen in Visine or Murine drops.
  • Preservatives – Drops with preservatives are designed to make them last longer. They’re designed to kill germs that get inside the bottle. However, preservatives can be toxic to the eye with frequent use. There are several drops in a bottle that don’t have preservatives, or become preservative free when the drop is exposed to air. Look for preservative free where possible.
  • Non-lipid drops – The normal tear film has an oily layer on the top. This is like a roof on a house. It protects everything underneath from evaporation. Over 86% of people with dry eyes have less of the oily layer. Look for eye drops with lipids, such as Perfluorohexyloctane or mineral-oil based drops. These give longer relief from dry eyes.
  • Allergy drops – If you have dry eyes, avoid putting allergy drops in. They may help itchiness. However, they may wash away some of the normal oily layer in your tears, and make dry eyes worse.
  • Conjunctivitis drops – Conjunctivitis drops are made to fight eye infections. However, they don’t help dry eyes or inflammation. Preservatives in these drops can also make dry eyes worse

What should you look for in eye drops?

Look for drops that are:

  • Preservative-free
  • Lipid based
  • Hypotonic (less salty)

Natural eye drops can also be very effective. You may have heard of manuka honey drops.

Blepharitis

Sore eyes often come from a buildup that sits along your eyelashes.

Without a microscope, it can look like dust or sleep. Bacteria produce this buildup which falls into the eyes and irritates them.

Look for an eyelid cleanser to clean your eyelids. This may be more important than putting drops into your eyes.
The best eyelid cleansers have hypochlorous acid or tea tree to reduce the buildup of bacteria.

Regularly cleaning your eyelids can help to reduce some of the upstream causes of dry eye.

Shop now for products that help get your eyelids in better shape

What if you can’t put drops in?

Tired of drops? Or too busy to remember to put them in?
Dry eye treatments are available that don’t rely on you putting drops in.

Learn more about Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) for Dry Eye.

When should you see an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist?

If you’re using eye drops regularly for more than ten days days, see a dry eye specialist. They can look closer at your dry eye causes.

The more causes are identified, the better relief you can feel.

Browse our online store and buy now

Dry Eyes shouldn’t disrupt your day.

I hope this article helps you to learn more about the best drops and get lasting relief for dry eyes.