Dry eyes are frequently treated with over-the-counter remedies including artificial tears and warm compresses. However, these at-home remedies may not be sufficient for more advanced cases of dry eye syndrome. In these cases, there are prescription medications which can assist in the treatment and management of dry eyes.
OTC Dry Eye Treatment
Before prescription medications are initiated for the treatment of dry eyes, there are many over-the-counter options available.
The primary treatment is often the use of artificial tears or lubricating eye drops multiple times a day to replenish the tears on the front of the eye.
Other common treatments can include using warm compresses over the eyes, using eyelid cleaning wipes or sprays, and increasing the number and quality of blinks.
When to Consider Prescription Dry Eye Treatment
If the over-the-counter treatments are no longer able to manage the symptoms or signs that accompany dry eye syndrome.
If symptoms of dryness continue to persist even with use of artificial tears it may be less than the symptoms without any intervention.
However, if comfort is not achieved, these symptoms may still need to be addressed.
Discuss with your eye doctor how over-the-counter treatments are working and whether considering a prescription medication is appropriate.
Prescription Medications for Dry Eyes
There are lots of new medications available which treat dry eyes in different ways. Among the most successful and abundant dry eye medications are cyclosporine (Restasis and Cequa), lifitegrast (Xiidra), and varenicline (Tyrvya).
Of these medications, Restasis, Cequa, and Xiidra all have a similar mechanism of working. These medications prevent the inflammation of the front of the eyes and then are able to reduce the signs and symptoms of dryness as a result.
Tyrvya works differently; it is designed to stimulate the production of tears from the lacrimal gland.
Another common medication type that is used for dry eyes is steroid eye drops. These eye drops are not specific to dry eyes but can be used for a short period of time to resolve severe symptoms.
Restasis or Cequa for Dry Eyes
Restasis is a brand of medication eye drops that contain the medication cyclosporine. Cequa is another brand which contains the same medication.
These drops are anti-inflammatory eye drops which can take up to six weeks to become fully effective.
Since these drops are not effective quickly, they are often prescribed alongside another eye drop, such as a steroid, which has a quicker action.
Restasis or Cequa can be used full time and will not lose effect over time if used appropriately. Many patients are able to have great success with these drops long term.
Xiidra Eye Drops
Xiidra is a brand of medication eye drops which function similar to Restasis and Cequa.
The biggest difference between the two eye drops is that Xiidra acts quicker than Restasis and may have results within two weeks.
Since the function of the two medications is very similar, it is uncommon for both Restasis and Xiidra to be prescribed at the same time.
If Restasis has been tried and was unsuccessful, Xiidra may still be an option in the future.
Tyrvya Nasal Spray
While other dry eye treatments are eye drops, Tyrvya is actually a nasal spray. This nasal spray is used daily to stimulate the lacrimal gland to produce more tears.
As Tyrvya is a very new medication on the market, there are limited cases of using Tyrvya along with another prescription medication for dry eyes, but the option is available.