2nd Generation Lubricants

Forming the mainstay of dry eye treatments, 2nd generation lubricants are slowly taking over as the first line treatment for dry eyes. These newer lubricants not only bulk up the tear film but also add staying power to eye drops meaning that the effects last much longer.

Two common ones are:

  • Sodium hyaluronate or hyaluronic acid (HA)
  • HP guar or hydroxypropyl guar

Sodium hyaluronate and HP guar have similar properties but whereas HP guar is plant based, sodium hyaluronate occurs naturally in the body already e.g. the vitreous and in our joints.

The reason they work better than 1st generation lubricants are:

  • They are non-Newtonian (like the tears). This means that when no force is being applied (i.e. the eye is open) they seem thicker and stay on the eye. When a force is applied (i.e. blinking) the liquid gets thinner so that it can be washed away.
  • They are moisturising and hold moisture well
  • They 'stick' well to the eyes

All this means that 2nd generation eye drops add moisture and stay in the eyes longer so they can be used less often to provide relief.

As these tend to be newer products they are usually presented in bottles with a 'soft' preservative or in preservative-free bottles and vials. You may be able to obtain on prescription from your doctor but usually they have to be bought over the counter.

The good news it that these effective 2nd generation products are being further refined or combined with other ingredients that form our range of 3rd generation lubricants.


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