So you have been told you have dry eye and you have decided to research what's available. You head to your local pharmacy and are dazzled by the array of different lubricating eye drops. How can there be five rows of choice? Where do you start? You ask the pharmacy assistant "which one is best?"
A better question would be "which one is the best for me?" We humans are complicated beings and the answer is also complicated, so let's break it down.
Many of the early eye drops were made from PVA (polyvinylalcohol) and Povidone (PVP or polyvinylpyrrolidone). PVA is a water soluble resin with hydrophilic properties allowing it to attach to the tears present in the eye. It has a half life of 7.2 minutes so it will last about 12 minutes on the eye. Povideone is a synthetic polymer used for the dispersion of the lubricant across the eye.
These are available preservative free in the individual, tear off, single use containers, or in a long lasting bottle with added preservatives. These are great for minor, short lived, dry eye irritations.