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A Brief Guide to Dry Eye Medication

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Written by- Julian Carter

Dry eye is an eye disorder that affects the layers of tears that cover your cornea.

It occurs when tears evaporate too rapidly or when there are insufficient tears in your eyes. 

People with dry eyes may feel as though something is trapped in their eyes or experience a stinging or burning sensation. 

The affected eye may release stingy discharge or turn red and painful. 

But fortunately, there are several treatments available that can lessen dry eye symptoms and help avoid the disease.

These mostly include over-the-counter and prescription dry eye medication, herbal remedies, and surgical procedures.

This article will discuss over-the-counter and prescription medications for dry eyes.

Prescription medication for dry eye

Several prescription and over-the-counter medications are available to relieve dry eye symptoms.

Your doctor may prescribe topical Cyclosporine A eye drops, Lifitegrast eye drops, Varenicline nasal spray, autologous serum drops, or steroid eye drops to treat dry eye.

Topical Cyclosporine A eye drops

If your dry eyes are caused by aqueous insufficiency (a shortage of tears), your doctor may recommend Cyclosporine A eye drops, like Restasis.

The medication will help relieve inflammation in your tear glands and enable them to produce more higher-quality tears. 

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Cyclosporine A eye drops not only reduce inflammation but also stimulate the production of natural tears by the body. 

For most patients, the combination of the two modes of action results in a significant improvement in the symptoms of dry eyes.

Dry eyes could be the result of several physical and psychological factors. Read our article: Common Dry Eye Causes and Effects to discover the potential causes of dry eye.

Lifitegrast eye drops

The medication Lifitegrast inhibits the immune system.

By reducing inflammation, it promotes the generation of tear fluid, which leaves your eyes feeling more hydrated. 

Because Lifitegrast influences your immune system, you might not feel its effects for a few weeks.

However, you may start experiencing some benefits as early as within two weeks, even though complete efficacy takes about 90 days to attain.

Want to know more about the various Dry Eye medicines? Read our article: A Brief Guide to Dry Eye Medication

It is recommended to take Restasis twice daily or every 12 hours, or as directed by your doctor for better results.

Varenicline nasal spray

Varenicline nasal spray is a prescription medication used to treat symptoms of dry eye disease.

Varenicline stimulates your trigeminal nerve directly, which leads to an increase in basal tear production.

Trigeminal nerves help your face to feel touch, pain, and temperature sensations. These nerves aid in chewing as well.

Autologous serum drops

 dry eye medication Autologous serum drops
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closeup of eye and dropper with autologous serum

Your healthcare professional could suggest autologous serum drops if you have severely dry eyes.

When alternative treatments are unsuccessful, these artificial tears specially created from your blood serum and plasma are widely recognized dry eye treatments.

To produce autologous serum drops, the blood is combined with sterile saline after processing.

This eye drop is a great remedy for dry eyes since it contains ingredients found in natural tears.  

Although this therapy is frequently successful, it is costly.

Discover more about various vitamins for for Dry Eyes with our article: Enhancing Eye Comfort: The Ultimate Guide to Vitamins for Dry Eyes

Steroid eye drops

One of the most prevalent causes of dry eye syndrome is Blepharitis, a disease in which the oil glands along the eyelid become clogged.

This prevents adequate oil from reaching the tear film, leading to dry eyes. 

Treating and managing Blepharitis is an effective way to overcome symptoms of dry eye. 

Your doctor can recommend an antibiotic or steroid eye drop to treat Blepharitis in order to lessen inflammation and discomfort.

Although steroid eye drops offer quick relief, their possible adverse effects make them unsuitable for long-term usage.

In cases with severe Blepharitis symptoms, your doctor may suggest a small daily dosage of the oral antibiotic Doxycycline.

This can also help reduce inflammation and enhance the function of the oil glands.

Explore the various supplements that can help treat Dry Eyes with our article: The Ultimate Guide to Supplements for Dry Eyes

Over-the-counter medications for dry eye

Besides prescription medications, various over-the-counter medications are also available that can aid in reducing the symptoms of dry eye.

Artificial tears and Manuka honey eye drops are some over-the-counter medications that you can buy without any prescription to treat dry eye.

Artificial tears

Artificial tears is an over-the-counter treatment available as an eye drop for mild cases of dry eye. 

It restores or boosts the tear film—a naturally occurring coating of water, oil, and mucus, within the eye.

By keeping the eyes moist, artificial tears relieve inflammation, dryness, and irritation of the eyes.

Although artificial tears can help with certain common symptoms, they don’t address the underlying cause of dry eye illness.

The drops come in various strengths and concentrations and are usually used twice or four times a day on both eyes.

However, consulting a doctor before using artificial tears is essential because dry eyes can have underlying causes that need to be addressed.

Manuka honey eye drops

Manuka honey eye drops are another over-the-counter medicine for dry eye.

It not only aids in lubricating your eyes, but it also functions as a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent. 

Within minutes of inserting the drops, they start to make you feel relaxed. 

Many individuals use this organically derived solution to relieve their dry eyes. 

Manuka Honey drops are currently sold in Australia and the United Kingdom. 

Dry eyes can be cured naturally. Read our article: Know the Best Home Remedies for Dry Eyes to discover effective home treatments for dry eyes.

The FDA does not approve over-the-counter medicines as a prescribed treatment for dry eyes. Consult your doctor before considering them to reduce the risk of potential side effects.


Dry eye is a severe and prevalent eye condition affecting many people around the globe.

Early diagnosis and treatment are needed for proper management of dry eyes.

A dry eye can hinder your daily activities.

It can affect your ability to work, interact with people, and enjoy life.

Although it can not be cured completely, there are treatments that can help control your symptoms.

Several over-the-counter and prescription dry eye medications are available that can help you manage dry eye.

To determine which therapy is most effective for you, you might need to try a few different ones. 

Make sure to contact your healthcare provider if your existing therapies aren’t working. 

Inform them of your present condition of health and inquire about additional therapies that will help you manage your condition and improve your quality of life.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Vaseline good for dry skin under the eyes?

Yes, applying Vaseline jelly is good for dry skin under the eyes

It helps retain moisture beneath the eyes, maintain soft, elastic skin around them, and restore dry, tired-looking skin.

How much omega-3 should I take for dry eyes?

The recommended therapeutic dosage of fish-derived oral omega-3 (EPA/DHA) is around 1,000mg to 3,000mg EPA/DHA per day.

Which oil is best for dry eyes?

Coconut oil is considered good for dry eyes. 

It contains a high amount of lipids and is known to have anti-inflammatory qualities, which makes it a safe and effective treatment for dry eyes.

What is the best allergy medicine for dry eyes?

Antihistamines like Alcaftadine, Azelastine Hydrochloride, and Bepotastine are found to be the best allergy medicine for dry eyes.

What is the best over-the-counter medicine for dry eyes?

Effective over-the-counter treatments for dry eyes include artificial tears, gel-based drops, and preservative-free eye drops.

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