FDA Approved Dry Eye Treatments

Several eye drop medications have been FDA approved for treatment of dry eye. These include topical cyclosporin (Restasis, Allergan) and lifitegrast (Xiidra, Shire). A prescription is required for these medications. These medications work by reducing inflammation on the surface of the eye to encourage healthy tear production.

These medications are used one drop twice per day, every day. If not used regularly, they will not work well. Some are in single use vials with others are in a bottle. All sting slightly when instilled in the eye, but will sting less as the treatment continues. They may be covered by your insurance, and we have outlets to obtain assistance with paying for these medications when they are not covered. There are no generic formulations currently available for these medications.

Omega-3 Supplements

Omega -3 supplements reduce inflammation and improve dry eye and lid disease. They also reduce triglycerides and help the joints. Taking fish or krill oil can be extremely helpful. Common side effects of fish oil include fishy taste, burping of the oil/taste, and mild gastrointestinal upset. More expensive formations cause less side effects. Formulations may be purchased from the grocery, pharmacy, or health food store, as well as ordered online. We offer a service to discuss this option in more detail and learn the benefits from nutritional counselors

Krill oil is another form of omega-3. The capsules are smaller, and patient rarely report a bad taste with Krill oil.

Over the Counter Artificial Tears

If you have purchased over the counter tears, you are aware of the overwhelming options available. Depending on the severity and circumstances, some are better than others to relieve symptoms.

  • Lubricating tears: “watery” drops with various ingredients to wet the eye. These are clear tears. They may be in a bottle or a single use vial.
  • Lipid containing tears: Since the majority of dry eye is due to evaporation, using tears with lipids reduces evaporation and reduces symptoms, including blurred vision. These cannot be used with contact lenses.
  • Rewetting drops: “watery” drops which can be safely used with contacts. Using these periodically while wearing contact lenses wets the lenses and improved comfort and vision.
  • Gel: Gel eye drops are thicker, and last longer. They do blur vision however, and cannot be used with contact lenses. They are often suggested for use at night.
  • Ointments: Thicker preparations can be used at night.