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Combining Artificial Tears

Sep 08, 2020

Why would you need more than one type of artificial tear?  My patients often ask me this after I prescribed them two different artificial tears. I believe that the best treatment plan for your eyes is one that's customized to your lifestyle.  And, there are six different types of artificial tears on the market. If you don't know about the six different types, you can check out this blog and learn the pros and cons of the different types of tears.

Why More than One Tear?

I like to recommend one type of tear for my patients to use during the day and then a second one for them to use at bedtime.  During the day, you're going to need to refresh the front surface of your eye and keep it hydrated with an artificial tear that won't blur your vision.  This is just to hydrate and moisturize the eyes. 

At night you'll want something that's thicker. This second type may be thick enough to blur your vision.  But, it's going to last while you're sleeping to keep your eyes hydrated.  And, it will protect you from the air blowing into your eyes from ceiling fans or the CPAP machine you're using while you're sleeping.

Which Artificial Tears are My Favorites?

Well, I have two favorites, of course.  During the day, I like an oil-based, preservative-free artificial tear that would come in the vial.  The one that I like best right now is called Refresh Mega-3.  This one has flaxseed oil in it.  So, it is safe for vegetarians.  And, it's an oil-based tear, which will last on your eye, a little bit longer. 

It's also preservative-free. Already, it seems like a win-win to me.  Because it is preservative-free, you can use it all day long as many times as you'd like.  There won't be any toxic preservatives building up in your eye.

Of course,  if you wear contact lenses, you definitely don't want to use an oil-based artificial tear.  Go ahead and stick with a preservative-free tear or one that is labeled for contact lenses.

But Wait, There's More...

The second tear product  I recommend is an ointment or a gel to use at bedtime.  Personally, my eyes are quite dry.  And, I prefer using an ointment at bedtime. Refresh PM is a great ointment to use for these purposes.  

Ointments are easy to use.  Make sure your hands are clean.  Squeeze a little bit of the ointment onto your fingertip.  Look up and roll the ointment in your eye.  Your vision will be quite blurred.  Only use the ointment right before you're ready to go to sleep. 

Some of my patients find ointment to be messy.  It does make your lids and lashes a big greasy.  It is definitely hard to see through.  So, if you don't want something quite so thick, you can use a gel instead.  

A gel drop is thicker than a regular artificial tear, but not as thick as an ointment.  Gels are easily dispensed in dropper bottles.  There is only one brand on the market that is a gel drop and is preservative-free though.  If you are looking to stay away from preservatives, opt for Celluvisc by Refresh.  


Artificial tears are an important part of the 4-Simple Steps of your dry eye treatment plan.  But, the best way to have a successful dry eye treatment plan is to customize the products you use to your personal preferences and lifestyle. 

The Ultimate Guide to Artificial Tears will walk you through choosing which types you like the best.  Download it here for free.


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