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10 Best Eye Drops for Aging Eyes

Written by Andrew Le, MD

UpdatedFebruary 29, 2024

Experiencing vision changes is a natural part of aging. One of the most common conditions that affect the eyes as we age is dry eye disease (DED), affecting 5-87% of people globally. As we age, tear production declines, often leading to irritating dry eye symptoms like stinging, blurry vision, and discomfort.

Finding the best eye drops for aging eyes can relieve age-related dryness. However, managing this condition can be challenging due to the over-the-counter drops, gels, and ointments available.

In this article, we have compiled a list of the top 10 best eye drops for aging eyes to provide relief. We’ll also discuss the relationship between aging and dry eyes and their signs and symptoms.

Understanding Dry Eyes and Aging

While dry eyes can affect anyone, they are notably more common in older adults, often as one of the signs of aging eyes.

The primary connection between aging and dry eyes lies in the natural decline of tear production as we age. With advancing years, the lacrimal glands, responsible for producing tears, become less efficient.

This leads to a condition called Dry Eye Disease, often referred to as dry eye syndrome or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). This happens when the eyes don't stay properly lubricated due to issues with tears. The condition can be classified into two types: aqueous deficient and evaporative, with many patients presenting with a combination of both.

This can lead to various eye problems, such as unstable tears, overly concentrated tears (hyperosmolarity), and damage to the eye's surface.

Below are some of its other common signs and symptoms.

  • Stinging or burning sensation in the eyes
  • Gritty or sandy feeling, as if something is in the eye
  • Excessive tearing or epiphora, often due to irritation
  • Pain, which can range from sharp to dull, around or in the eye
  • Redness, sometimes worsened by over-the-counter eye drops
  • Blurry vision, glare, or halos around lights
  • Fluctuating vision and reading difficulties
  • Heavy eyelid sensation or trouble opening the eyes
  • Excessive blinking and eyelid twitching
  • Dryness and discomfort with contact lens wear
  • General eye fatigue
  • In severe DED, an inability to produce tears

🩺 Health Note:

DED is more prevalent in women than men, largely due to hormonal effects, such as menopause and the use of oral contraceptives. Its frequency increases with age and varies across populations, with a higher incidence reported in Asian groups.

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The 10 Best Eye Drops for Aging Eyes

Managing dry eyes in the aging population involves various approaches. Artificial tears or lubricating eye drops are commonly used to alleviate symptoms.

In more severe cases, treatments may include medications to increase tear production or procedures to conserve tears.

We recognize the significance of eye health, particularly in dealing with dry eyes often associated with aging. That’s why we have meticulously researched and compiled a comprehensive list of the 10 best eye drops for aging eyes.

Our selection is based on their proven effectiveness, user-friendliness, and positive customer feedback. Whether you're seeking a solution to prevent the onset of dry eye symptoms or to alleviate existing discomfort, our carefully curated list caters to your needs.

Explore our top choices below to find the eye drops that best suit your optimal eye health and comfort requirements.

See prices for Biotrue Hydration Boost Eye Drops on Amazon

Biotrue Hydration Boost Eye Drops offer a natural and effective solution for dry, irritated eyes, especially caused by digital eye strain and environmental stressors. These drops are uniquely formulated with naturally inspired ingredients, providing instant moisture and relief.

These eye drops help retain moisture and protect against further dryness and irritation. It’s formulated with hyaluronan, an element naturally found in tears and known for its exceptional moisturizing properties. Glycerin, another key ingredient, adds to its hydration and soothing effect.

Biotrue Hydration Boost stands out for being preservative-free and pH-balanced, making it particularly gentle and compatible with the natural biology of the eyes.

Additionally, these drops are safe to use while wearing soft contact lenses, offering versatile and convenient relief. Individuals can get a 10 ml bottle of this for around $13.

Pros

  • Instantly moisturizes and soothes dry, irritated eyes
  • Contains Hyaluronan and glycerin for enhanced hydration
  • Preservative-free and pH-balanced for safety and comfort
  • Suitable for use with soft contact lenses

Cons

  • May require frequent application for sustained relief
  • Might be less effective for severe dry eye conditions
See prices for Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops on Amazon

Systane Lubricant Eye Drops are specially formulated to soothe and provide a lasting shield against dry eye discomfort. It offers a clinically proven solution to reduce both signs and symptoms of dry eyes quickly.

This solution provides immediate and long-lasting moisture, ensuring the eyes feel moist and refreshed throughout the day. It’s particularly effective in alleviating burning and irritation caused by dry eyes.

Its active ingredients combine polyethylene glycol 400 (0.4%) and propylene glycol (0.3%), which act as dual lubricants to enhance the tear film and provide prolonged relief.

To use and achieve optimal results, instill 1 or 2 drops in the affected eyes as needed. A 30 ml bottle of Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops is available for $16.

Pros

  • Offers immediate and long-lasting relief
  • Clinically proven to alleviate signs and symptoms of dry eyes
  • Formulated with dual lubricants for enhanced moisture protection
  • Available in multiple bottle sizes for convenience

Cons

  • Potential sensitivity to some ingredients for certain users
  • Requires caution to avoid contamination and proper storage
See prices for Oasis Medical Tears Plus Preservative-Free Eye Drops on Amazon

The Oasis Tears Plus are expertly crafted lubricant eye drops for individuals experiencing moderate to severe dry eye symptoms. These drops are ideal for both daytime and nighttime use. It provides instant and lasting relief from discomfort.

It’s preservative-free and effectively lubricates, moistens, and alleviates symptoms of dry eye disease. It may also help treat irritation, dryness, and burning to a gritty eye sensation.

Oasis Tears Plus comes in a convenient packaging of 30 sterile single-use vials per box, ensuring each application is fresh and uncontaminated. The individual vials are easy to use, making them a preferred choice over traditional squeeze bottles.

Its portable nature allows easy carrying in a purse or pocket for on-the-go relief. Two packs of 30 ml sterile bottles cost around $41.

It's recommended to use it daily as needed or follow the specific directions provided by an eye care professional.

Pros

  • Ideal for moderate to severe dry eye symptoms
  • Convenient and hygienic single-use vials
  • Preservative-free, minimizing the risk of irritation
  • Portable for on-the-go relief
  • Provides quick and effective symptom relief

Cons

  • May be more expensive compared to other options
  • Single-use vials might generate more waste
See prices for Bausch + Lomb Soothe XP Emollient (Lubricant) Eye Drops on Amazon

The Soothe XP offers a refreshing burst of moisture, ensuring comfort throughout the day. It’s suitable for all silicone hydrogel and soft contact lenses; they provide an ideal solution for aging eyes that rely on contacts.

These eye drops help remove particles that can irritate. It prevents protein deposits and build-up, common issues with prolonged contact lens use. The formula is thimerosal-free and sorbic acid-free. It can also be used multiple times daily, promoting extended lens use and comfort.

Instilling two drops directly into each eye is recommended, blinking 2-3 times to spread the moisture evenly. Following this routine four times a day is advised for optimal results and to prevent protein buildup. A pack of 30 3-ml Soothe XP vials costs around $11.

Pros

  • Provides instant and refreshing moisture for contact lens wearers
  • Helps in removing irritants and preventing deposit build-up
  • Portable and easy to use throughout the day
  • Thimerosal-free and sorbic acid-free, suitable for sensitive eyes

Cons

  • Primarily beneficial for contact lens wearers, not for general dry eye relief
  • Frequent application (four times a day) may be inconvenient for some users
See prices for Refresh Tears Lubricant Eye Drops on Amazon

Refresh Tears Lubricant Eye Drops offer a soothing solution for those experiencing mild symptoms of eye dryness. The critical ingredient, carboxymethylcellulose sodium (0.5%), is designed to mimic natural tears, providing instant moisture and lubrication.

Refresh Tears are ideal for temporary relief from burning, irritation, and discomfort caused by dry eyes or environmental factors like wind and sun. Its gentle formula is well-tolerated and offers hours of comfort upon application. It can also be used as often as needed for immediate relief.

It’s compatible with contact lenses and is convenient to use, coming in a 15 ml bottle for around $9.

Pros

  • Mimics natural tears, offering instant and effective lubrication
  • Suitable for use with contact lenses
  • Provides prolonged relief from mild dry eye symptoms
  • Convenient multi-dose bottle for easy application
  • Cost-effective compared to other brands

Cons

  • Primarily targets mild symptoms of dry eyes, may not be sufficient for severe cases
  • Frequent application may be necessary for sustained relief
See prices for Systane Lubricant Night Gel Comforting Dye Eye Relief on Amazon

This gel from Systane offers a robust solution, with its key ingredient, Hypromellose (0.3%), a potent lubricant. Its thick gel formulation creates a strong protective layer over the eye, providing long-lasting relief and comfort while sleeping.

Systane Night Gel targets severe dry eye symptoms by offering a heavy-duty layer of lubrication. It’s ideal for those suffering from severe dry eye symptoms and is especially beneficial for nighttime use.

Applying it ensures dry eye discomfort doesn't disrupt anyone’s sleep, and aids in better rest and eye health, which anyone can get for around $8.

Pros

  • Thick gel formula for substantial protection
  • Ideal for nighttime use, working while sleeping
  • Offers relief from even the severest symptoms of dry eye
  • Comes in a convenient 10g tube

Cons

  • May be too thick for daytime use or for those preferring lighter drops
  • Limited to temporary relief; doesn’t address underlying causes of dry eye
See prices for Genteal Tears Lubricant Gel Eye Drops on Amazon

GenTeal Tears is an artificial tear solution that contains polyquad, a gentle and safe preservative. This eyedrop solution effectively addresses the discomfort and irritation associated with dry eye syndrome. It’s specially formulated to temporarily relieve moderate dry eye symptoms and protect against further irritation.

GenTeal has a dual lubricating system that works at different layers of the eye, ensuring long-lasting relief and comfort. At night, it is best to use 1-2 drops on each eye as needed. An 8 ml bottle is available for around $10.

Pros

  • Dual lubricating system for long-lasting relief
  • Contains a safe and gentle preservative, suitable for sensitive eyes
  • Offers protection against environmental factors like wind and sun
  • Alleviates discomfort during sleep
  • Available in multiple formulations for tailored dry eye relief

Cons

  • Primarily provides temporary relief, may not address underlying chronic conditions
  • May require reapplication for sustained comfort
See prices for Ivizia Sterile Lubricant Eye Drops for Dry Eyes on Amazon

iVIZIA Dry Eye Drops offer long-lasting relief from dry eyes for up to 8 hours. This unique formulation includes hydrating polymers, moisturizing hyaluronic acid, and trehalose, a synthetic ingredient inspired by desert plants. Together, these components form a protective matrix over the eyes, significantly decreasing dry eye discomfort.

These drops are designed to moisturize, lubricate, and alleviate discomfort and eye strain due to dryness, which suits aging eyes. It’s sterile, free of preservatives, and packaged in a patented ABAK bottle.

To use, instill 1 or 2 drops in the affected eye(s) as needed. It can be used with contact lenses, but to limit blurriness, remove contacts before applying the drops and reinsert them afterward. A 5ml solution of iVIZIA is available for around $9.

Pros

  • Safe and suitable for use with contact lenses
  • Sterile and free from irritating preservatives
  • Easy-to-use ergonomic bottle design
  • Effective in relieving burning, irritation, and discomfort due to dryness.

Cons

  • May require the removal of contact lenses before application to avoid blurriness
  • Might need frequent application for sustained relief
See prices for Optase Hylonight Eye Ointment on Amazon

OPTASE Hylo Night Ointment is a highly effective solution for those suffering from nighttime dry eye symptoms, including issues related to blepharitis and other eye problems. This preservative-free ointment offers soothing and comfortable lubrication, ensuring long-lasting overnight protection.

The ointment's formula is designed to provide over six hours of physical retention to relieve dry eye symptoms. It doesn’t lead to crusty or impaired vision in the morning. Its balanced composition makes it gentle on the sensitive skin around the eyes, avoiding the irritation or gritty sensation often found in other nighttime ointments.

Apply once onto the eyelids before bed for overnight ocular lubrication. The ointment is safe for continuous night-time use and has a 6-month stability. A 5g OPTASE Hylo Night Ointment costs approximately $16.

Pros

  • Provides long-lasting protection against nighttime dry eye symptoms
  • Gentle and comfortable, without causing morning crustiness
  • Suitable for continuous and everyday use
  • Preservative-free and phosphate-free, ensuring safety and tolerance
  • Convenient application process, with clear instructions for use

Cons

  • May be too heavy for those who prefer lighter formulations
  • The application process requires care to avoid contamination
See prices for OCuSOFT Retaine MGC Complete Dry Eye Relief on Amazon

This preservative-free ophthalmic emulsion is formulated to moisturize, lubricate, and protect the eyes, making it a vital solution for severe dry eye symptoms. Its lipid-replenishing formula is tailored to stabilize the tear film and provide sustained protection against dryness.

This solution contains Nova orb, a proprietary cationic oil emulsion technology. This technology harnesses electrostatic attraction, allowing positively charged droplets to effectively adhere to the negatively charged ocular surface, ensuring efficient delivery of its ingredients and long-lasting relief.

A pack that contains 30 sterile single-dose containers, each with 0.4 ml of the product. It costs around $21.

Pros

  • Innovative emulsion technology for targeted relief
  • Effective in treating severe dry eye symptoms
  • Long-lasting, providing sustained comfort
  • Preservative-free, suitable for sensitive eyes
  • Enhances the tear film stability and prevents moisture loss

Cons

  • May be more suitable for severe conditions, less so for mild dry eye symptom
  • The unique application method may require a learning curve for some users

The Bottom Line

The Biotrue Hydration Boost Eye Drops stand out as an exceptional choice. Their formulation contains hydrating ingredients like hyaluronan and glycerin, providing a burst of moisture and a lasting barrier against irritation.

The drops are pH-balanced and free of potentially irritating preservatives as well. This natural-inspired solution is safe for contact lens wearers and offers relief from digital eye strain too.

However, those with severe symptoms or complications should consider specially formulated nighttime ointments and gels. As always, consulting an eye care professional helps determine the most suitable drops and regimens based on an individual’s symptoms and health history.

FAQs on the Best Eye Drops for Aging Eyes

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How do I properly administer eye drops?

Tilt the head back, gently pull the lower lid down, aim for the inside corner of the eye, and squeeze the bottle to release one drop without touching the tip.

How can I reverse aging eyes?

Aging eyes can’t be reversed, but one can maintain eye health. To maintain aging eyes, regularly visit an eye care professional for early detection and treatment of eye issues. Individuals must also maintain their overall health with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and managing conditions like diabetes and hypertension.

How often should I have my eyes examined as I age?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology advises seniors to have a complete eye exam at least every two years after age 65, increasing to annually as they age, to ensure early detection and treatment of eye issues.

What should I look for when choosing eye drops for aging, dry eyes?

When choosing eye drops for aging and dry eyes, opt for eye drops that mimic natural tears. Also, choose eye drops that will address your particular symptoms.

Can using the best eye drops for aging eyes improve my vision?

The best eye drops for aging eyes can't reverse age-related vision loss. However, they can alleviate symptoms like dryness and discomfort, improving overall eye comfort. It can only be treated by medicine or surgery.

References