One of the treats I gave myself after becoming a parent to two is to go under the knife to correct my myopic vision of 20 years.
Due to the nature of my job (computer based) and having naturally dry eyes, I occasionally require artificial tears eye lubricants to refresh my eyes.
Eye lubricants can be categorized into 2 main groups – preserved and preservative free. Preservative free ones are obviously the best and warrants a higher price tag. Post-LASIK, these are the only ones recommended by opticians for usage. When I did my LASIK, I unknowingly bathed my eyes with eye bath solution, hoping to further relieve the dryness but I was chided by my doctor when she found out. Anyway, the truth is the eye bath didn’t really helped and actually had a mild stinging sensation.
The least preferred are the preserved ones. The solution is usually packaged in a bottle form instead of the single usage vial form of the preservative free types. These need to be discarded within a month of opening. They are cheaper, costing about half the price of the preservative free ones.
The composition of the eye drops differ from manufacturer to manufacturer and it may be worthwhile trying a few to get the one that suit you best. Here’s a rundown of the eye drops I have tried over the past year.
Refresh Lubricant Eye Drops– Preservative Free
Composition: Each ml contains 14mg polyvinyl alcohol, povidone 6mg with sodium chloride and purified water.
A box of these contain 30 single usage vials of 0.4ml each. Price ranges from $9 – $12. The small quantity of solution in the vial leaves you wanting for more, especially on occasions where you didn’t manage to aim the lubricant into the eye accurately.
Rohto C Cube– Preserved
Composition: 0.07% Hydroxyethylcellulose, 0.1% Potassium Sorbate as preservative.
Despite many rave reviews on this, the Rohto C Cube fared the worst for me. It’s the only one that left a uncomfortable sensation, making me feel like my eyeballs are exposed to the harsh elements after applying. It was quite a disappointment for me as I thought highly of Japanese products. Moreover, I adored the kawaii design right from the box to the cubic bottle itself. Among the preserved eye drops, the dispenser for the C cube has the best design. It allows precisely one drop to be dispensed at any one time. Quantity is well controlled, making the size of the drops consistent each time. Thus, you don’t get a sudden shock when the droplet becomes bigger than usual. The Rohto C cube retails at $7.80 for a 8ml bottle.
This is by far my favourite eye drop. My eyes instantly felt refreshed, clear and soothed. The formulation consists of chinese medicine herbs which clears the liver. The liver in TCM terminology is linked to the eyes. You may read more about it here. In simpler terms, any liver deficiency or overdrive can be reflected in the health condition of our eyes.
This eye drop does more than lubricating my eyes for me. There are times when my eyes are overworked and I can feel tension building up behind my eyeballs. This eye drop is able to alleviate the stress unlike others, making this eye drop indispensable in my daily life. However, this eye drop is not available here in Singapore. My MIL brought this over with her from China. I am definitely getting more.
Celluvisc Lubricant Eye Drops– Preservative Free
Composition: Each ml contains 10mg carboxymethylcellulose sodium with calcium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, sodium lactate and purified water.
Due to its thicker formula, Celluvisc is an ideal eye drop for persistent dry eye conditions. The lubricating formula restores moisture to the eyes with a formula that has some of the same healthy qualities as natural tears.
Amongst all that I’ve tried, this is the most viscous. When applied, it momentarily blurs your vision for a few seconds as it forms a protective layer over your eyes. Thereafter, I will notice an improved clarity – the only eye drop that did it for me. Despite this, I really dislike the initial loss of vision. It gave me a sense of insecurity and I needed more than a few blinks before I regained my sight again. I guess the loss of sight is quite a fearful thought for those of us who had been through the LASIK procedure.
Celluvisc consists of 30 single use vials of 0.4ml each. It’s the most expensive, costing $22 per box.
Tears Naturale Free Lubricant Eye Drops-Preservative Free
Composition: 0.3% Hydroxypropyl Methylellulose 2910(HPMC), 0.1% Dextran 70.
This comes in 32 re-closable 0.8ml vials, which claims that you can reuse the solution within a 12 hour time frame upon opening. The other preservative free eye drops brands have to be discarded once opened.
This was the eye drop prescribed to me post LASIK. I have used this brand before, from my contact lens wearing days and I must say I love it! My eyes felt refreshed almost every time I used it. The consistency is just right, not overly viscous or fluid. The generous quantity in each vial meant that there are times when I can “bathe” my eyes in more solution if needed instead of reaching for another vial. Tears Naturale retails for $14.70 per box making it more value for money.
Composition: 0.13% Potassium Chloride, 0.64% Sodium Chloride. 0.02% Calcium Chloride. 0.005% Benzalkonium Chloride is added as a preservative.
The simple formulation of another well known Japanese pharmaceutical brand makes this a winner as well. From my biology class days, the contents of the Dorama-neo are the closest to the electrolytes in our human body. So I believe this will be easily metabolized by our body if absorbed.
Texture wise, there wasn’t any hint of discomfort. When I first instilled it in my eyes, this felt the most natural as if it was my own tears. It also has the lowest concentration of preservative out of all the preserved eye drops.
The Dorama-neo retails for around $7 for a 15ml bottle, giving more buck for your money.