Choosing and using Eye Drops

How to choose an eye drop

When you are experiencing a flare up of your dry eyes, you may need to apply lubricating eye drops every half an hour then reduce gradually as they improve. To avoid sensitivity to eye drops developing, we recommend preservative-free products during heavy use.

Our website is designed with filters and categories to enable you to search easily between lubricants and preservative-free products.

For fast relief, James our optician recommends trying the following preservative-free eye drops in this step-wise order;

  • Cellusan – carmellose drops or vials for mild to moderate dry eyes

  • Hyabak – sodium hyaluronate 0.1% for moderate symptoms

  • Clinitas Soothe - sodium hyaluronate 0.4% in reclosable vials or bottle for moderate to severe eyes

  • Hydramed - has sodium hyaluronate 0.2% with the novel lubricant TSP (tamarind seed polysaccharide) which makes the tears stickier on the eye.

  • VisuXL – cross linked sodium hyaluronate 0.1% stays longer on the eye with vitamin E

  • Thealoz Duo - sodium hyaluronate 0.15% with the unique rehydrating lubricant trehalose


Using gels instead of drops can give more relief during the day and applying more drops, a gel or even an ointment in the evening can help at night.


If there is underlying blepharitis, the oily component of tears can be reduced so an oilier eye drop is worth trying.

  • Emustil – individual vials with soybean oil and natural phospholipids

  • Blink Triple Action – with liposomes, sodium hyaluronate and vitamin E


Also useful for blepharitis are Optimel Manuka Honey Eye Drops for their natural, anti-bacterial activity and Cliradex tea tree wipes.

Research has shown that a diet rich in oily fish and omega oils can reduce the incidence of dry eyes. We recommend Viteyes Omega Blend as it has omega 3 fish oils, omega 6 borage seed oil, flaxseed and lactoferrin providing the ultimate capsule for improving dry feeling eyes.

You can use eye drops as often as necessary through the days, for example every hour, although every few hours is usually sufficient with newer products. If you need to apply them more frequently than four times a day and over the long term, choose a preservative free version. This is because our eyes can react to preservatives and aggravate dry eye symptoms.

As a general rule, if eyes are dry in the morning after the eyes have been closed overnight, blepharitis is the problem. If eyes become dry throughout the day, then evaporation of tears from the eye's surface is the cause.

Finally, if an eye drop doesn't seem to be helping, choose another with a different lubricant. It can take trial and error to find the drop that is right for you.


How to insert eye drops

To insert eye drops, gently pull down the lower eyelid and squeeze the drop into the pocket formed. To stop the drop flowing away, close the lid for ten seconds and gently apply pressure to the inner corner of the eye for at least a minute. This stops it draining into the nose. You only need to insert one drop, any more than this and it will be diluted or overflow. Wait about thirty minutes before inserting another type of drop.

Eye ointments are applied in the same way, by squeezing a small amount into the pocket formed when the eyelid is gently lowered. It should melt rapidly and blinking helps to spread it.