Eye Care

What Exactly are Artificial Tears?

Often we hear about the usage of artificial tears when treating dry eye syndrome. But, what exactly are artificial tears? Artificial tears are nothing but a kind of lubricant eye drops. These eye drops are mostly used for treating keratoconjunctivitis sicca, more commonly known as dry eyes.

What Exactly are Artificial Tears?

Artificial tears are a substitute to our natural tears. Unlike natural tears the former lack in protein, but are enriched with water, polymers and salt. That’s the reason for using them in dry eye syndrome treatment, because they can mimic natural tears to an extent.

As far as their chemistry is concerned, they contain carboxymethyl cellulose, hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose and hydroxypropyl cellulose. The compound hydroxypropyl cellulose helps in thickening and stabilizing the tear film in the cornea, thus prolonging the tear film break-up time in dry eye patients.

Benefits of Artificial Tears

: Artificial tears act as a close cousin to natural tears with a couple of added advantages. So what are these advantages?

  • Artificial tears are lubricants, as mentioned already. So they act as a soothing agent to the eye and also are ocularly clear. Usually, patients suffering from dry eye are known to damage their ocular tissue due to the irritation and friction caused in the eye. Artificial tears shield these tissues from getting damaged.
  • Also, they perfectly blend in with the ocular secretions of the eye, thus not causing any burning or stinging sensation to the eye. Instead, they increase comfort and reduce irritation.


: Artificial tears form the basic medication for people suffering from dry eyes. They are also used by people who tend to produce a lesser percentage of natural tears than required.

  • In most cases, on an average they need to be used about 4 times a day, while if there is an increase in severity they can also be used up to 10-12 times a day. There are thicker than usual artificial tears available in the market for extreme cases of dryness.
  • Lacrisert and Hypromellose are two widely used artificial tears lubricants available over the counter.


Artificial tears generally do not produce any after use reactions.

  • But, lubricants containing carboxymethyl cellulose may cause irritation, eye pain, redness and vision problems. Those with hydroxypropyl cellulose cause eye stickiness, photophobia and irritation. If you experience any discomfort with the lubricants you are using, it is suggested not to continue with them and see an eye doctor.
  • Long-term use of artificial tears may damage eyes.

So by now, you should be clear with what exactly are artificial tears.

1 response to What Exactly are Artificial Tears?

  1. I use prosthesis eye last 10 years and last 7 month my prosthesis eye hole produce yeallowish discharge and i feel pain itthing and irriting probably my eye lacrimal gland off so what will i do please suggest me

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