closeup of brown human eye looking up

What to Do If Eye Drops Don’t Work for You?

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Eye drops are often the go-to treatment for dry eyes and other mild eye diseases. They may provide quick relief from dryness and other symptoms. But they don’t work for everyone. What’s more, overusing them may have adverse effects.

Each time you apply eye drops, you disrupt the natural tear film balance. Put another way, overusing artificial tears can make dry eyes worse. Looking beyond eye drops to systemic and local treatments is the way forward.

If eye drops don’t work or are simply not convenient for you, functional foods like goji berries and turmeric may help. They provide a natural and holistic way to improve your eye health, and with it, your overall wellbeing.

Let’s start by understanding why eye drops, despite their usefulness, are not always ideal for treating dry eye disease and other eye ailments.

The Drawbacks of Eye Drops

Eye drops for dry eyes are available with a prescription or over-the-counter. They can come in the form of artificial tears that mimic natural tears and provide lubrication for your eyes.

Dry eye disease occurs because of insufficient tear production or tear film imbalances that make tears evaporate too quickly.

Eye drops for dry eyes can also come as antibacterial eye drops. These are used to treat dry eyes resulting from meibomian gland inflammation and other eye diseases. They may seem a quick and easy solution to dry eyes. But that’s not necessarily the case.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the drawbacks of using eye drops.

Eye Drops Often Contain Preservatives

Benzalkonium chloride (BAK) is commonly added to eye drops to extend their shelf life. Research has associated BAK with eye cell damage and other adverse effects.

Studies show that long-term use of BAK eye drops for dry eyes can cause discomfort in the eye and burning and stinging sensations. It can also make dry eye symptoms worse.

Eye drops for dry eye disease usually have to be applied several times a day. Without preservatives, the solution may not remain sterile long enough for you to reuse it.

bottle of eye drops with blurry round spectacles in the background

Preservative-free eye drops come as single-dose units. These can be more difficult to handle. They are also up to 10 times more expensive than eye drops with preservatives. Because of their cost, there’s the temptation that you may want to use a single dose multiple times.

Multidose preservative-free eye drops are also available, integrating special filters built within the bottle.

But these also tend to be more expensive than BAK eye drops. They may not always be readily available.

Eye Drops Don’t Cure the Underlying Causes of Dry Eyes

Antibacterial eye drops can help treat dry eyes that are the result of meibomian gland inflammation caused by a viral or bacterial infection. More often, however, dry eyes have other causes ranging from hormonal changes to environmental factors.

In most cases, eye drops can at best provide relief from dry eye symptoms by lubricating the surface of your eyes. Treating dry eyes only with eye drops is not the best approach.

Nor is it tenable as a long-term strategy for managing symptoms. Managing dry eyes effectively may call for adjusting treatments as needed, a BMJ review article concluded.

Eye Drops Aren’t Always Convenient to Use

Putting eye drops into your eyes while at work or traveling can be a hassle. Especially since you have to do it several times a day.

Following proper hygiene measures such as washing your hands before applying the drops may also be inconvenient. Skipping this isn’t an option, either, since it increases the risk of an eye infection.

Applying eye drops can also be difficult if you have arthritis, hand tremors, or other conditions that affect your hands.

What’s more, eye drops may cause temporary blurriness and other side effects that interfere with your activities.

Healthy Alternatives to Eye Drops

You can help your body produce more better-quality tears by eating functional foods. These foods have nutrients and active compounds that help your tear glands and eyes to function properly.

They can replace or at least complement eye drops so that you don’t have to be so dependent on them.

So, what foods should you eat more of?

Goji Berries

Goji berries can increase tear volume, according to a 2017 study published in Molecular Medicine Reports. What’s more, the study found that these berries can repair ocular surface cells that become damaged because of dry eye disease.

Goji berries have polysaccharides and betaine, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The study concluded that goji berries extracts may be an excellent dietary supplement for relieving dry eyes.

What’s more, the antioxidants in goji berries protect your eyes from free radicals that can damage eye cells over time.

dried goji berries in a plate

Meanwhile, a more recent study in the journal Nutrients found that a small daily serving of dried goji berries helps protect against age-related macular degeneration, a common cause of vision loss worldwide.

It does this by increasing the concentration of the pigments lutein and zeaxanthin in the eye. These pigments occur naturally in the macula, the part of the eye within the retina responsible for the sharpest vision.

Tip: Blueberries are another great fruit for the eyes. They have antioxidants and anthocyanins. The latter may reduce eye fatigue. We’ve devoted an entire post to the health benefits of blueberries.

Turmeric

Turmeric is made by boiling, drying, and grinding the rhizomes of the Curcuma longa, an herbaceous perennial plant.

A 2019 study found that the polyphenol curcumin in turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that can help in the treatment of dry eye disease and other eye conditions.

Turmeric helps by inhibiting proinflammatory cytokines seen in the corneal cells of patients with dry eyes.

More research is needed to further investigate the effects of turmeric on dry eyes, but the results so far are promising. Turmeric may also help in the treatment of uveitis and other inflammatory eye conditions.

Cherokee Rose

The fruits that the Cherokee rose shrub produces are rich in vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins support the healthy functioning of the eyes and tear glands.

Not getting enough of these vitamins every day could increase the risk for dry eye disease. It may also make existing dry eyes worse and cause other eye symptoms.

Increasing your daily intake of these vitamins can help soothe dry eyes. One way to do this is by eating Cherokee rose fruits or taking a supplement that has extracts from them. The fruits may not be readily available, so a supplement is a more convenient choice.

Raw Dandelion Greens

Raw dandelion greens are another rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin. Studies show that these carotenoids could prove beneficial in treating dry eyes.

Dandelion greens and two yellow flower heads

They also have anti-inflammatory properties and are a source of vitamins A, C, and E. So, think twice before dismissing dandelion as a common weed that encroaches on your grass.

Tip: Alongside dandelion, eat more leafy greens for lutein and zeaxanthin and a healthy dose of vitamins.

Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A meta-analysis found that omega-3 fatty acids help manage dry eye disease. It can improve symptoms in some patients.

The best omega-3 fatty foods include fatty fish (such as mackerel, salmon, and sardines), oysters, chia seeds, flaxseed, walnuts, and soybeans.

Fish, fish oil, and algal oil have the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA which are better for dry eyes than plant-based omega-3s.

Tip: Fatty fish also have vitamin D, which may reduce inflammation and improve tear quality while reducing dry eye symptoms. Other sources of this vitamin include egg yolks and fortified foods like cereals, plant milk, and tofu.

Have You Tried an Eye Health Supplement?

Living with dry eye disease doesn’t have to be unpleasant, even if eye drops and other treatments don’t work all that well for you. Fruits, plants, and other natural ingredients can come to your rescue.

SightC from Sightsage is a safe and natural vegan eye health supplement that can soothe dry eyes. It’s a holistic alternative to eye drops and other treatments for people who have dry eye disease and cannot find relief from their symptoms.

So, what’s in SightC? Ingredients include goji berries, turmeric, Cherokee rose, dandelion, and other plants and fruits that have been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat eye ailments.

SightC is packed into vegan capsules that you can easily take at home, at work, or on the go with water or another non-alcoholic beverage. They are so much more convenient than eye drops. Plus, they’re all natural—no preservatives and no artificial flavors or colors.

More than helping treat dry eye, SightC sustains overall eye health through its combination of antioxidants and phytonutrients, including lutein and zeaxanthin.

Its proprietary blend of ingredients has been tested and trialed at the Wellspring TCM Technology Institute.

Happy Eyes, Happy Life

Many of our customers have seen excellent results after taking SightC. Here is what some of them have to say about our eye health supplement.

Changed my life! I was in a state of constant agony with the irritation of dry, red, itchy, sore eyes. I was advised by doctors to take a variety of drops, none of which really helped to elevate the problem… I ordered SightC with the Blueberry Gummies. Within a day or two of taking these products my eyes cleared up! Truly! I was amazed by the immediacy of the treatment. These are now supplements that I take daily without fail. First thing in the morning, before anything else, I take my SightC and Gummies! I don't ever write reviews for products but Sightsage really changed my life for the better! Highly recommend!!” – Michael C. from New York, USA

Bright eyes. I definitely noticed an improvement in my eyes. No more itching and I can read better at night.” – Tarsha from Florida, USA

It works!!!!... I used to walk around with three different eye drops, because my vision would get so bad and since I started the SightC [treatment] I’ve definitely seen the improvement. Thanks for this excellent product!" – A.G. from New Jersey, USA

SightC comes with a 30-day moneyback guarantee, so you have nothing to lose trying it. If eye drops don’t work for you, or if you’re tired of them, it’s about time you checked it.

SightC will make your eyes happy. And with happy eyes, living a happy life becomes so much easier.

Try SightC.

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