Are Artificial Tears Eye Drops Completely Safe?

Michael Rosenberg
Michael Rosenberg

Specializes in translating complex information into readable, engaging content.

Artificial Tears

Dry eyes can be very uncomfortable if left untreated and unmanaged. Many people resort to different treatment options for their dry eye feeling. One of the widely sought treatments options is dry eye drops, including artificial tears. These dry eye best drops usually help dry eye-watering and retaining moisture content in the eyes for extended periods. However, many users can be concerned about the safety of such products. Here, we will consider whether dry eye drops are safe to use, including:

  • Are Artificial Tears Safe?
  • How to Use Artificial Tears for Dry Eyes?
  • How to Apply Eye Drops?
  • Health Risks Associated with Artificial Tear Drops
  • When Should You Leave Using Artificial Tear Drops?

Fill the form below if you are interested in learning more about Dry Eyes prescription treatment options

Are Artificial Tears Safe?

In most cases, artificial tears are considered completely safe. However, there are two specific categories where you may have an issue with artificial tears: preservatives and allergic reactions.

Many artificial tears have preservatives included in them to ensure that they have a long shelf life. However, these preservatives can cause allergies in some patients. Additionally, the inflamed eyes can get damaged further and may face complications due to the preservatives. In other cases, they may increase the irritation of dry eyes. Therefore, the best option is to buy artificial tears that do not have any preservatives included.

Secondly, ingredients in artificial tears dry eye drops may not sit well with some patients. These patients may be allergic to some of the ingredients in dry eye drops prescription products. Therefore, it is important to check the eye drop ingredients before using them.

How to Use Artificial Tears for Dry Eyes?

Artificial tears usually have usage instructions mentioned on their packaging. For further help, you may consult your doctor for detailed information. However, some general things apply to all artificial tears solutions. First, avoid using a solution that has become cloudy. The glycerin in polysorbates is one of the common ingredients in many artificial tears. This ingredient may give the tears a milky appearance. The usage of glycerin itself is not harmful. The problematic part is where the appearances changes to milky. Try shaking the eye drops to check if the color goes back to normal.

Similarly, drop usage can be as frequent as needed. However, artificial tear ointments are recommended to be used twice daily. If you wish to use it once, try using it before bedtime for increased benefits throughout your sleep.

How to Apply Eye Drops?

First, clean your hands. This way, any bacteria or irritants present on your hand will be removed. Then, avoid touching the dropper to remove the chances of contamination. Ensure that the cap is replaced properly after each use.

Tilt your head backward or lie down. Then, pull your lower eyelid to make a pouchy space. Insert the drops in this space. If you end up pouring many drops, you can squeeze them out gently. Once the drops have been applied, apply gentle pressure to ensure that the drops are evenly spread throughout the eye.

This pressure ensures that the medication is spread throughout and does not drain away. Ensure that you wait at least five minutes after applying the drops before applying any other eye medication.

Some people wear contact lenses due to weak eyesight. It is important to remove the lenses before applying any eye lubricants. Ensure that your doctor or pharmacist is aware that you are using such lubricants. They may suggest changing your lenses for glasses instead.

Health Risks Associated with Artificial Tear Drops

Artificial tear drops may have to be used for an extended period to treat bacterial infections. As such, if you stop using them once started, the bacterial infection may return immediately. Another issue is their connection to glaucoma. Glaucoma is connected to increased fluid in your eyes which is drained using different drops. If a patient starts using dry eye artificial tears, they may end up causing prostaglandins, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, and alpha-blockers to spiral out of control. In the long run, such action may damage your vision permanently.

Eye-dilating drops may offer relief in the short run from vision blur caused by Mydriatic eyes. However, constant use of these drops can cause fuzzy vision, eye-watering and serious light tolerance issues. Redness reduction drops can have similar effects as well. They may constrict your blood vessels and cause the eyes to look whiter than normal. Excessive usage may lead to a rebound hyperemia effect.

Similarly, if you prefer using eye drops with a longer shelf-life, the thickening agents in them can increase dry eye-related irritation. Similarly, frequent dosing can result in the PH value of your natural tears being affected as well. In case you contaminate your eye while applying the solution, the contamination can spread throughout the eye.  It may cloud your vision and lead to the development of serious long-term illnesses.

When Should You Leave Using Artificial Tear Drops?

First, if you feel your eyes are moist again and the symptoms of dry eyes are no longer frequent, try to reduce the usage of artificial tears or eye drops. Similarly, if you feel that your artificial tears are irritating, it can be due to the electrolytes present in these drops. Try using them after consultation with your eye doctor. Similarly, you may have to replace them with medicated eye drops based on your conditions. Such eye drops focus on vasoconstriction and removing the impact of allergies. The rebounding effect has to be prevented as well. Get your eyes checked regularly for any serious blood vessel constriction effects. If any such impacts are spotted, change your drops after consulting your doctor. Such drops also wash away natural tears. Thus, you no longer have the same tear protection as before. Therefore, the eye can get scratched more often and even get infected by flesh-eating bacteria. A related issue is that regular drops may hide the emerging symptoms of more serious eye disease. Such ignored symptoms can be a warning sign of a disease that can be controlled in its initial stages.

Fill the form below if you are interested in learning more about Dry Eyes prescription treatment options


While artificial drops themselves are harmless in most situations, their way of use determines their impact. Let us know in the comments section if our article was useful.

Related Article:

How one can diagnose dry eye syndrome?

Is dry eye syndrome dangerous for your eyes?


Sign up our newsletter to get article update about health mental and psychologist therapy.