When is the best time to use artificial tears for dry eyes?

Artificial tears are a useful tool for treating dry eye symptoms. But along with the product itself, the way in which it is used can be important.

When is the best time to use artificial tears for dry eyes? in Olympia

What Do Artificial Tears Do?

Generally speaking, artificial tears are designed to take the place of natural tears if your body either doesn’t create enough of them, or if the tear composition is deficient. They do not correct the problem, but can relieve the symptoms for a period of time.


American Family Vision Clinic

How Often Should Artificial Tears be Used?

Many types of artificial tears contain preservatives, which can lead to eye irritation if used too often. For that reason, most doctors are likely to recommend only using artificial tears with preservatives up to 4 times daily, while those without preservatives can be used as often as needed. However, as with any medical treatment, it is important to consult with a doctor before you start using artificial tears or eye drops.

When Should Artificial Tears Be Used?

A big question regarding artificial tears is when to use them. This applies both to when to start using them after you notice symptoms, and at what times it is ideal to use them.

The irritation you experience will only grow if you don’t do anything, or just rub at your eyes. So it is best to use your eye drops when you first start to notice symptoms.

If you expect to be in a particularly dry environment, or somewhere else that you know may aggravate your dry eye, you can use artificial tears beforehand, to provide your eyes with some protection in advance.

Additionally, if you frequently experience dry eye upon waking up in the morning, you can apply artificial tears just before going to bed at night.

When Should Artificial Tears Be Used?

Common Questions

Yes, children can use artificial tears. There can be a lot of discomfort involved with dry eyes. Dryness can cause children's eyes to feel hot or dry. They may also experience a lot of watering in their eyes. The sensation of dry eyes can sometimes mimic the feeling of sand or dirt in the eyes. Using artificial tears at least four times a day can help your child with dry eyes, however this should only be done for a short period of time. If the symptoms do not go away please schedule a dry eye evaluation to get to the bottom of what is causing your child's symptoms. One of the main culprits of dry eye in children is excessive screen time. When a child is looking at a screen they blink less often and less fully, which causes the eyes' natural tear film layer to evaporate more quickly. This in turn can lead to other complications. Using artificial tears without preservatives is usually recommended, especially if using the artificial tears for more than a short period of time.
When is the best time to use artificial tears for dry eyes?
Dr. Zurcher cartoon


Artificial tears can be a very effective way at treating dry eye symptoms, though they will work better if used as soon as symptoms manifest, and it can also help to use them preventatively if you know something is likely to irritate your eyes. However, especially if you are using artificial tears which contain preservatives, be careful not to overuse them, as it can lead to eye irritation. If you are experiencing dry eye or have any questions, you can contact American Family Vision Clinic at (360) 491-2121 to schedule a consultation.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
1 2 3



How Does Vision Therapy Improve Reading Ability?

According to the American Optometric Association, approximately 80% of what a child learns in school is acquired through vision, and […]

Read More

What Causes Bloodshot Eyes? Understanding the Causes and Treatments

Bloodshot eyes can be alarming, but they are not always a cause for concern. In this blog, we will discuss […]

Read More

Ocular Rosacea: Understanding the Symptoms and Best Treatment Options

Rosacea is a skin condition that affects many people. While it is commonly found on the face, rosacea can also […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

American Family Vision Clinic Logo

Working Hours




400 Yauger Way SW. Bldg 1, Ste A Olympia, WA 98502
(360) 459-1097
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
For Patients
Call Us
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram