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What are artificial tears?

ANSWER

Artificial tears are your go-to drops for dry eyes. Their main job is to keep the surface of your eyes nice and moist.

They try to mimic real tears, but it turns out, that's pretty complicated. So various brands use different mixes of ingredients, such as:

  • Lubricants to keep your eyes moist
  • Electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, which can help heal the surface of your eye
  • Guar gum, which can be a big help if you get dry eyes.
  • Preservatives to keep bacteria from growing in the bottle.

SOURCES:

Cleveland Clinic: "Which Drops Are Best for Your Itchy, Red or Dry Eyes?"

American Academy of Ophthalmology: "Eye Allergy Treatment," "Dry Eye Treatment."

Mayo Clinic: "Dry Eyes," "Important Things to Know About Contact Lenses."

University of Iowa Health Care: "Artificial Tears: A Primer."

NHS: "Dry Eye Syndrome."

FamilyDoctor.org: "Antihistamines: Understanding Your OTC Options."

Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky on June 06, 2019

SOURCES:

Cleveland Clinic: "Which Drops Are Best for Your Itchy, Red or Dry Eyes?"

American Academy of Ophthalmology: "Eye Allergy Treatment," "Dry Eye Treatment."

Mayo Clinic: "Dry Eyes," "Important Things to Know About Contact Lenses."

University of Iowa Health Care: "Artificial Tears: A Primer."

NHS: "Dry Eye Syndrome."

FamilyDoctor.org: "Antihistamines: Understanding Your OTC Options."

Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky on June 06, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

Why should you watch out for preservatives in artificial tears relative to eye drops?

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