How Long Does It Take for Eye Drops to Work for Dry Eyes?

Jul 1, 2024 | Dry Eye Syndrome

Woman putting eye drops in for dry eye

How Long Does It Take for Eye Drops to Work for Dry Eyes?

Jul 1, 2024 | Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eyes can be incredibly frustrating, making everyday tasks uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. If you’ve been dealing with that gritty, burning feeling, you’re not alone. At Quality Eye Care Clinic in Kildeer and Elgin, Illinois, we see many patients with dry eyes, and we know how much it can affect your life. Eye drops are supposed to relieve dry eye symptoms such as dryness and irritation, but how long do you have to wait before you start feeling better? Keep reading to learn how long it takes for eye drops to start working and how you can get the best results.  

How quickly do eye drops work? 

The time it takes for eye drops to work depends on the type of drops and the severity of your dry eyes: 

  • Artificial tears: These are the most common type of eye drops and are available over the counter. They help lubricate the eyes and provide immediate relief. However, the effects might only last for a few hours, so you may need to use them several times a day. While artificial tears provide temporary relief in many cases, they don’t treat the underlying causes. If you have moderate to severe dry eye, you may need to explore other treatment options. 
  • Prescription eye drops: For more severe cases of dry eyes, your eye doctor may prescribe medicated eye drops that help increase tear production or reduce inflammation. These may take longer to show noticeable results. Some patients might start seeing improvements within a few days, while others might need a few weeks of consistent use to experience significant relief. 
  • Gel drops and ointments: These are thicker than regular eye drops and are typically used for overnight relief. These can provide extended relief, especially when used at night. You may notice a difference in the morning, with less dryness and irritation. 

Tips for using eye drops effectively 

It’s important to follow the instructions provided by your eye doctor or on the packaging of the eye drops. This will ensure you’re using them correctly and giving them the best chance to work effectively. Always make sure your hands are clean when using eye drops to avoid contamination. Additionally, don’t overuse the drops as this can sometimes make dry eyes worse. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel immediate relief; give it some time and stick with your treatment plan. 

When to see an eye doctor 

If you’ve been using eye drops consistently for several weeks and haven’t noticed any improvement in your dry eye symptoms, it’s time to check back in with your eye doctor. They may need to adjust your treatment plan or recommend different types of drops that are better suited to your specific needs. At Quality Eye Care Clinic, our dry eye specialists in Elgin and Kildeer, Illinois can help diagnose the cause of your dry eyes and recommend the best treatment plan for you. We offer a range of dry eye products as well as advanced in-office dry eye treatments such as: 

  • LipiFlow® uses thermal pulsation to clear blocked oil glands and improve tear quality. 
  • BlephEx® removes debris and bacteria from your eyelids to reduce inflammation and improve tear production. 
  • TempSure Envi stimulates collagen production using radiofrequency treatment to enhance eyelid health and tear film stability. Along with relieving dry eye, TempSure Envi also offers anti-aging benefits such as tightening loose skin and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.   
  • PROKERA amniotic membrane treatment provides a natural and effective way to heal the surface of your eyes and reduce inflammation. PROKERA is a medical device that consists of a small ring made of amniotic membrane tissue. Patients can wear PROKERA just like they would a contact lens. When placed onto your eye, PROKERA acts like a bandage that promotes healing and relieves irritation.    

Schedule an appointment with us today to explore the best solutions for your dry eyes and improve your eye comfort and health. We look forward to seeing you!