Dry Eye Therapy

Letzte Aktualisierung:
23. April 2024

dry eye therapy

While eye drops are a common treatment for dry eyes, there are several other effective therapeutic options available. These alternatives can be used alone or in combination with eye drops, often requiring less frequent application and providing relief for even severe dry eye symptoms. In this article, we’ll explore a range of treatments that go beyond traditional eye drops.

Artificial Moisturizing Treatments

Artificial moisturizing treatments aim to reduce eye dryness and alleviate symptoms by supplementing or mimicking natural tear production. Here are some options:

1. Lipid-Containing Eye Drops

When dry eyes are caused by meibomian gland dysfunction, lipid-containing eye drops can be particularly effective. These drops stabilize the outer lipid layer of the tear film, preventing excessive evaporation.1 Experimenting with different formulations can help identify the most beneficial product for your specific needs.

Autologous Serum Eye Drops

For severe dry eyes that don’t respond to conventional eye drops, autologous serum eye drops may be a solution. These drops are derived from the patient’s own blood serum and contain vitamins and growth factors that promote corneal healing.2

2. Lipid-Based Eye Sprays

Lipid-based eye sprays offer a convenient alternative to eye drops, as they require less frequent application. These sprays coat the eyelid surface and are gradually released onto the eye with each blink, providing long-lasting relief.3

3. Overnight Eye Ointments

Eye ointments have a thicker consistency than drops, allowing them to remain on the eye surface for several hours. While they may temporarily blur vision, making them better suited for overnight use, they can provide extended relief for those with severe dry eyes.

Anti-Inflammatory Treatments

Inflammation and dry eyes often go hand in hand, creating a vicious cycle that can worsen symptoms over time. Anti-inflammatory agents like cyclosporine A and corticosteroids can help break this cycle and provide relief.4,5,6

Treating Underlying Infections

In some cases, dry eyes may be caused by bacterial or viral infections. Treating these underlying issues with antibiotics or antiviral agents can help alleviate dry eye symptoms.7,8,9

Eyelid Hygiene and Heat Therapy

Meibomian gland dysfunction is a common contributor to dry eyes.10 Blocked glands can be treated with a combination of heat and eyelid hygiene. Applying warm compresses or using a heated eye mask can help liquefy and release clogged secretions.11 Regular eyelid cleaning is also essential for removing debris and preventing inflammation.12

Punctal Plugs for Tear Retention

Punctal plugs are small devices inserted into the tear ducts to prevent tear drainage. By keeping tears on the eye surface for longer, these plugs can provide relief for severe dry eyes and reduce the need for frequent eye drop application.13

Lifestyle Modifications

In addition to medical treatments, addressing environmental factors can help manage dry eyes. Using humidifiers to combat dry air, taking breaks from contact lens wear, and being mindful of screen time can all make a difference.14,15 For those who spend long hours working at a computer, software that monitors blinking and provides reminders can help maintain a healthy blink rate and prevent dry eyes.16

A Multifaceted Approach to Dry Eye Relief

While eye drops remain a staple in dry eye treatment, exploring alternative and complementary therapies can provide more comprehensive relief, especially for those with severe symptoms. By working with an eye care professional to develop a personalized treatment plan that incorporates a combination of these approaches, you can effectively manage dry eyes and improve your overall quality of life.


1. Lee S-Y, Tong L. Lipid-Containing Lubricants for Dry Eye. Optometry and Vision Science. 2012;89(11):1654-1661. doi:10.1097/OPX.0b013e31826f32e0

2. Geerling G. Autologous serum eye drops for ocular surface disorders. British Journal of Ophthalmology. 2004;88(11):1467-1474. doi:10.1136/bjo.2004.044347

3. Understanding the benefits of liposomal eye sprays for dry eye patients | Advertising feature | Pharmaceutical Journal. https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/eye-care/understanding-the-benefits-of-liposomal-eye-sprays-for-dry-eye-patients/20201638.article?firstPass=false#fn_. Accessed November 25, 2019.

4. Turner K, Pflugfelder SC, Ji Z, Feuer WJ, Stern M, Reis BL. Interleukin-6 Levels in the Conjunctival Epithelium of Patients with Dry Eye Disease Treated with Cyclosporine Ophthalmic Emulsion. Cornea. 2000;19(4):492-496. doi:10.1097/00003226-200007000-00018

5. YOSHIDA A, FUJIHARA T, NAKATA K. Cyclosporin A Increases Tear Fluid Secretion via Release of Sensory Neurotransmitters and Muscarinic Pathway in Mice. Experimental Eye Research. 1999;68(5):541-546. doi:10.1006/exer.1998.0619

6. Pflugfelder SC, Maskin SL, Anderson B, et al. A randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled, multicenter comparison of loteprednol etabonate ophthalmic suspension, 0.5%, and placebo for treatment of keratoconjunctivitis sicca in patients with delayed tear clearance. American Journal of Ophthalmology. 2004;138(3):444-457. doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2004.04.052

7. Zhang Z, Yang W-Z, Zhu Z-Z, et al. Therapeutic Effects of Topical Doxycycline in a Benzalkonium Chloride–Induced Mouse Dry Eye Model. Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science. 2014;55(5):2963. doi:10.1167/iovs.13-13577

8. Magnuson RH. Gentamicin Sulfate in External Eye Infections. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. 1967;199(6):427. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120060125030

9. Spertus CB, Mohammed HO, Ledbetter EC. Effects of topical ocular application of 1% trifluridine ophthalmic solution in dogs with experimentally induced recurrent ocular canine herpesvirus-1 infection. American Journal of Veterinary Research. 2016;77(10):1140-1147. doi:10.2460/ajvr.77.10.1140

10. Tong L, Chaurasia SS, Mehta JS, Beuerman RW. Screening for Meibomian Gland Disease: Its Relation to Dry Eye Subtypes and Symptoms in a Tertiary Referral Clinic in Singapore. Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science. 2010;51(7):3449. doi:10.1167/iovs.09-4445

11. Olson MC, Korb DR, Greiner J v. Increase in Tear Film Lipid Layer Thickness Following Treatment with Warm Compresses in Patients with Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Eye & Contact Lens: Science & Clinical Practice. 2003;29(2):96-99. doi:10.1097/01.ICL.0000060998.20142.8D

12. Pflugfelder SC, de Paiva CS. The Pathophysiology of Dry Eye Disease. Ophthalmology. 2017;124(11):S4-S13. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2017.07.010

13. Baxter SA, Laibson PR. Punctal Plugs in the Management of Dry Eyes. The Ocular Surface. 2004;2(4):255-265. doi:10.1016/S1542-0124(12)70113-1

14. Dry Eye. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/dry-eye. Accessed October 25, 2019.

15. Kojima T. Contact Lens-Associated Dry Eye Disease: Recent Advances Worldwide and in Japan. Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science. 2018;59(14):DES102. doi:10.1167/iovs.17-23685

16. Freudenthaler N, Neuf H, Kadner G, Schlote T. Characteristics of spontaneous eyeblink activity during video display terminal use in healthy volunteers. Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology. 2003;241(11):914-920. doi:10.1007/s00417-003-0786-6

About the Author

Gerrit Sonnabend

With a background in qualitative research and data science, Gerrit has extensively researched the causes of dry eyes. With Blinkr, he has developed an effective solution for dry eyes caused by computer screen work,