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When Lubricating Eye Drops Aren't Fixing Your Dry Eyes

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If your eyes feel dry every once in a while, your eye doctor may advise you to use lubricating eye drops. These eye drops are typically designed to stay on the surface of your eye for a while, which allows them to moisturize and soothe your eyes. But what if these lubricating eye drops alone aren't quite cutting it? Here are a few other, more intensive treatments you may want to discuss with your eye doctor.

Cholinergic Eye Drops

When lubricating eye drops don't work, the next thing an eye doctor will recommend trying is often medicated eye drops. These generally contain a cholinergic agent — a chemical that encourages your body to produce more tears. You will need to put the drops in your eyes once a day. You won't get immediate relief, as it takes your eyes a few minutes to respond to the cholinergic. But once your eyes ramp up tear production, you should feel relief from the dryness.


If your eyes are at all red in addition to being dry, you might have an eye infection. This can cause inflammation in your eye lids, which can interfere with the production of tears. If your eye doctor believes you may have an eye infection, they will generally recommend antibiotic eye drops. These drops will help your body fight off the infectious bacteria, which will bring down inflammation and ease your eye dryness.

Scleral Lenses

Some people do not react well to cholinergic eye drops and other medicated drops. If you fall into this camp, then something your eye doctor might recommend is scleral lenses. These are special contact lenses that you insert into your eyes each morning. They are meant to trap moisture against your eye so that your eyes do not become overly dry. These work well for patients whose eye dryness is related to allergies.

Punctal Plugs

Punctal plugs are tiny, silicone plugs that your eye doctor can insert into your tear ducts. They block the tear ducts, which prevents your tears from draining down the ducts. With nowhere else to go, the tears then remain on the surface of your eyes much longer, and your eyes no longer feel dry.

If eye drops alone are not alleviating your eye dryness, don't give up. Talk to your eye doctor about the other treatment options above; one of them might be perfect for your eyes.

For more information on dry eye treatment, contact a professional near you.