Prescription Eye Drops For Dry Eyes

by Jun 21, 2023

Dry eyes is a condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears or the produced tears evaporate rapidly. This can cause discomfort, and irritation, and even lead to damage to the cornea.

Dry eye syndrome or keratoconjunctivitis sicca is a chronic condition that can impact people of all ages and genders. It is caused by various factors, including aging, medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome or lupus, taking certain medications like antihistamines, or even environmental factors such as exposure to dry or windy climates and excessive use of digital devices.

Over-the-Counter Dry Eye Treatment

For patients with mild to moderate dry eye, over-the-counter or OTC remedies are available. These include lubricating eye drops, artificial tear solutions, gels, and ointments. Additionally, hot compresses or eyelid scrubs can improve dry eye symptoms. However, if the OTC treatments do not improve symptoms, a doctor may prescribe prescription medications to manage the condition.


When is Prescription Medication for Dry Eyes Necessary?

If a person’s dry eye symptoms persist after using OTC remedies or become more severe, and they suffer long-term discomfort, prescription medication may be necessary. For example, chronic dry eye can result in damage to the cornea and potentially lead to vision loss.

Your healthcare professional will assess the severity of your dry eye symptoms, and if you need a prescription medication to manage your symptoms, they will suggest the appropriate medication considering your medical history, age, and other associated factors.


Prescription Medications for Chronic Dry Eye

There are several prescription medications that a doctor may prescribe to manage dry eye symptoms. They are discussed below:


Cyclosporine (Restasis/Cequa)

Cyclosporine is a common medication used to relieve dry eye symptoms. Restasis and Cequa are the commonly known brands. These eye drops are anti-inflammatory and work by suppressing the immune system’s response, which causes inflammation and leads to reduced tear production. Cyclosporine can take a few weeks to work and is often prescribed alongside steroids, which take effect earlier.

Fortunately, cyclosporine eye drops are effective with long-term use, so they can be prescribed full-time with no loss of their efficacy.


Lifitegrast (Xiidra)

Xiidra is another type of anti-inflammatory medication similar to Restasis/Cequa. It is used to target inflammation on the surface of the eye caused by dry eyes. What makes Xiidra different is, it has quicker action as Xiidra starts relieving symptoms in two weeks, while Restasis and Cequa can take longer.


Varenicline (Tyrvaya)

Varenicline or Tyrvaya is a relatively new medication. It comes in the form of a nasal spray, unlike other eye drops and ointments. It works by stimulating the lacrimal gland to increase tear production. Varenicline is usually prescribed for short-term use due to its side effects which include nausea, headache, bad taste in the mouth, and vivid dreams which may further impact sleep health.


Steroid Eye Drops

Steroid eye drops to control inflammation quickly, and in some cases, are used for short-term treatment of dry eye symptoms. The use of steroid eye drops should only be under medical supervision due to its side effects such as infection, cataracts, or changes in vision.

Note that there are other systemic medications and medical procedures that can assist with managing chronic dry eyes, which your eye doctor can recommend.


Eyelid Cleansers

Eyelid cleansers are non-medicated over-the-counter options that can also help manage dry eye symptoms. These include wipes, foams, and sprays that help manage inflammation on the eyelids and around the eye. Clean eyelids promote healthy tear production, leading to a visible reduction in dry eye symptoms.


Our eye doctor at Brooklyn Eye Care excels in the prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrist at (763) 999-6116 to schedule your appointment today if you would like to learn more about prescription medication options for dry eyes. Our eye doctor, Dr. Vivian Ekemezie provides the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in the Brooklyn Park, MN area.

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