There is no known "cure" for dry eye. However, in most cases, dry eye can be treated with an artificial tear solution or, in more severe cases, by blocking the puncta. Whatever the treatment mode chosen, effective treatment of dry eye must either replace or enhance natural tears.
To replace natural tears, an artificial tear solution can be effective. Artificial tears are available with and without preservatives. Preservative-free artificial tears are recommended for people who can't tolerate preservatives or who must use these solutions many times per day.
If artificial tears are needed on more than an occasional basis, the type of preservative used is an important consideration. Many artificial tear solutions contain benzalkonium chloride (BAC), a preservative that with frequent use can actually damage the epithelium and lead to further problems. A better choice is a solution with Polyquad® preservative, so gentle that even people with the most sensitive eyes can use it.
To enhance natural tears, a more advanced artificial tear is required. Such solutions would include artificial tears with formulations containing zinc and bicarbonate, substances that can actually contribute to the growth and maintenance of healthy mucin, tear film, and epithelium. Often, overnight protection is needed. In these cases a more viscous preparation should be used, one that is designed to provide long-lasting protection and lubrication.