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What Makes a Good Eye Drop?

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Posted in Drops

Many patients feel as if there is an overwhelming amount of eye drops and it’s difficult to know which ones are safe to use. You may try one eye drop and feel nothing. Then you try another one and it makes your symptoms worse! Fortunately, this blog will go over the different types of drops that are best suited for the dry eye patient. So, what makes a good eye drop? What are key things to identify?


Always look for eye drops that do not contain any preservatives. Look for the preservative-free label. Preservatives in eye drops should be avoided in dry eye patients because the surface of the eye is extremely sensitive to harsh chemicals. Below is a non-exhausting list of preservatives to avoid in an eye drop: 

  • Benzalkonium chloride (BAK)
  • Chlorobutanol
  • Methyl paraben
  • Sodium perborate


Another component in eye drops that could add toxicity to the delicate eye are buffering agents. With these agents, there is an increased risk of cell damage to the eye tissues. The following buffer agents should be avoided: 

  • Disodium-ethylene diamine tetra-acetate (EDTA)
  • Phosphate-buffered saline 

Key Ingredients

Now that you know what to avoid in an eye drop, what do you want to look for in an eye drop? There are quality ingredients that will help retain as much water in your tears as possible. As you look for your next eye drop, look for the following ingredients: 

  • Hyaluronic acid 
  • Trehalose
  • Carbomer 

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is used in skin care because it helps retain moisture on the skin for a youthful appearance. In eye drops, it has a similar effect by binding to the tears, stabilizing them and bringing them back into balance


Trehalose is a naturally occurring sugar that protects the epithelial cells on the cornea from death. It is also found in plants and its unique properties allow for survival in unfavorable environmental conditions. Its ability can also withstand prolonged periods of dryness.


Carbomer is a mucoadhesive polymer that provides the gel to stay on the surface of the eye for a longer period of time for prolonged dry eye relief. 

We Can Help Reduce Your Dry Eyes!

If you still feel like eye drops aren’t doing enough for your dry eyes and you wish to seek professional help from your local optometrist, contact your nearest MyDryEye clinic

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