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Eye Drops vs Eye Gel For The Treatment of Dry Eyes

Eye gels and eye drops for dry eyes are just two of the many treatment options for Dry Eye Disease. It’s easy to get confused about which product to go for, or even worse, not be able to find the right product that effectively eases your symptoms. 

It can sometimes be hard to get adequate information about Dry Eye treatments; that’s why we want to offer expert tips about the difference between drops and gels for the treatment of Dry Eye.


dry eyes and vision


What is Dry Eye Disease?
Dry Eye Disease is a chronic condition where patients suffer from gritty, sore, itchy, or blurry eyes.[1] It affects 1 in 4 people in the UK and can range from moderate to severe.[2] One of the main causes of Dry Eye is not having enough tears, making the surface of your eye very dry.[3] You might need different treatments depending on the nature of your condition, but many people turn to eye gels or eye drops for effective symptom relief.

Although Dry Eye can affect anyone of any age, it is more common in people over the age of 50, predominantly women, and can also be aggravated by other factors such as allergies, lifestyle and environmental factors.[4]

For more information about Dry Eye, visit our blog which reveals everything you need to know about Dry Eye:


What are eye drops and eye gels?
Eye drops are traditionally the go-to treatment for Dry Eye and other related conditions. There are many different types, including preservative or preservative-free, contact lens-friendly and standard or cross-linked Hyaluronic Acid (HA) drops.[5]

Eye gels, however, are becoming increasingly more popular, especially with long-term sufferers of Dry Eye conditions. They can come in drop form and ointment form, with drop form being the easiest to apply for most patients.[6]


eye drops for dry eye


What’s the difference between regular eye drops and gel eye drops?
Eye gels are usually more viscous, and will stay on the surface of your eyes for a longer period of time. Due to this, they can provide long-lasting protection against dry, sore or itchy eyes. This makes them the perfect option for severe Dry Eye.
However, some more viscous eye gels can cause blurry vision for a while after you put them in. For this reason, many people choose to use these types of eye gels and ointments before they go to sleep at night.

Eye drops are usually used for quicker short-term relief. These are most effective when used before or after any Dry Eye triggers, like being outside in windy conditions or spending a prolonged time staring at a screen.[7]
Some eye drops contain preservatives, which can aggravate the symptoms of Dry Eye Disease and cause even more damage to your eyes in the long term. Therefore, it is sometimes best to opt for preservative-free eye drops. Other drops might also need at least four applications which can interfere with daily life and may affect compliance.[8]


eye drops for dry eye


Effective eye drops for Dry Eyes

VisuXL ® Eye Dropseye drops for dry eye

Our VisuXL® Eye Drops could be your preferred eye drop option, as they can use artificial tears, replacing the lubrication lost by the poor quality of tears. As with our eye gels, VisuXL® can be applied just twice a day to relieve your Dry Eye symptoms.
These preservative-free eye drops can also be used while wearing contact lenses, making them even more accessible for sufferers of Dry Eye Disease. The 10ml bottle also makes this eye drop a portable solution, which can be easily carried around.[8]




These eye drops should be used for:
– Dry eyes;
– Alterations in the continuity of the corneal and conjunctival surfaces after refractive surgery, trauma from a foreign body and surgery;
– Alterations in the ocular surface related to metabolic disorders (diabetes);
– Environmental stress (smog, chlorinated water, altered micro-climates, smoke, air conditioning);
– Intense and prolonged exposure to UV and ionizing radiation;
– Prolonged use of computers, monitors, or the television.


“I was recommended these drops by my Ophthalmologist and using them each morning and evening keeps my eyes lubricated.” – Sue from Cranleigh, Surrey [8]


Buy our VisuXL® Eye Drops here:



eye drops for dry eyeVisuEVO® Eye Drops

Another effective eye drop for Dry Eyes is our VisuEVO® Eye Drops, applied three times daily for symptomatic relief from Dry Eye Disease and inflammation.
VisuEVO® eye drops are specifically designed for Evaporative Dry Eye as they help stop the tear film from evaporating, due to its unique combination of ingredients: liposomes (phospholipids), Omega-3 and Vitamins A and D.





These eye drops should be used for:
– All forms of Evaporative Dry Eye.
– As a pre-treatment for eye surgery.
– Forms of Dry Eye caused by reduced secretion of lipids from the Meibomian glands.
– For cases of Dry Eye caused by a mucin deficiency.
– Cases in which dry eye has worsened as a result of the use of preserved eye drops.

Available in a preservative-free 10ml bottle, these eye drops can also be used while wearing contact lenses.[9]
Shop for our VisuEVO® eye drops here:


“These drops were recommended by my eye specialist. They are very cooling on the eye, I would highly recommend” – Karen, United Kingdom [10]


Effective eye gels for Dry Eyes

eye gel for dry eyeVisuXL® Gel

Eye gels provide longer-lasting relief from Dry Eye symptoms and are often used in more moderate to severe cases.[7] The type of treatment you opt for will mainly depend on your symptoms and specific conditions.

If you are looking for lasting relief, it may be more effective to try a lubricating gel drop like VisuXL® Gel. The gel mimics natural tears, lubricating your eyes.[11] It transforms from a liquid in the bottle to a gel when it reaches the surface of the eye, and remains in place for a full 12 hours. Therefore, patients only need 1 drop, morning and night, for a full 12 hours of comfort and protection.[12] [13]



“This was suggested to me by an ophthalmologist – it worked immediately!” – Mary from Cumbria [12]


This eye gel is highly effective in treating:
– Moderate to severe Dry Eye
– Foreign body trauma
– Alterations in the continuity of the corneal surgery and conjunctival surfaces after refractive corneal surgery and corneal transplant. In order to alleviate the typical post-surgical symptoms, VisuXL® Gel acts as a cushion between the eyelid and the corneal and conjunctival epithelia;
– Alterations of ocular surface related to metabolic disorders like diabetes.


As with our eye drops for Dry Eyes, these gels are preservative-free and can be used with contact lenses. It also comes in a 10ml bottle, making it easy to carry around with you.[12]


Buy our Eye Gel drops here:


dry eye and eye drops


eye gel for dry eyeXailin® Gel
When it comes to eye gel for Dry Eyes, ‘soft’ preservative eye gels are also an option. An example of this is our Xailin® Gel, which uses a soothing and cooling action to provide relief from Dry Eye symptoms like redness, soreness, irritation and a feeling of grittiness. The gel can be used night and day and comes in a 10g tube.

The gel uses a ‘soft’ preservative called sodium perborate, which converts into water and oxygen upon contact with the eye. This means that the eye drop becomes preservative free when placed in the eye.[14]

“Love the product!” – Vivienne Norton



You can buy this product here:


eye ointment for dry eye


Best eye ointment for Dry Eye
Another treatment for Dry Eye relief is eye ointment. An alternative to eye lubricant drops, these can help to create a night time barrier to protect your eyes whilst you sleep.


eye ointment for dry eyeXailin ® Night
An example of an eye ointment is our Xailin® Night ointment. Xailin® Night creates a barrier to prevent the loss of moisture in the eye, as well as provide lubrication and protection to the tissues of the cornea. This protects the eye from Dry Eye sensations that can occur overnight.
The preservative-free eye drop alternative uses long-lasting emollients. Emollients cover the eye with a protective film that can trap moisture, helping to soothe and hydrate the eyes.[15]




A study shared by Jack V. Greiner at the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that emollients can help with Dry Eye with 92% of all people within the study feeling that it reduced their Dry Eye symptoms.[16]


“I put it in my eyes just before switching out the light and it instantly soothes and calms my itchy eyes. I found I woke up in the morning with rested eyes and the soreness gone!” – Vivienne Norton [17]


Xailin® Night combines white soft paraffin and white mineral oil for soothing nighttime relief of Dry Eye sensations as it acts as a barrier against moisture loss.[18]

You can buy Xailin® Night ointment here:


Alongside this medication, you can ease Dry Eye at night by staying hydrated and using a humidifier.[19]
Visit our blog to read more tips about how to ease Dry Eye at night:

dry eye at night


Best treatment for Dry Eye
Before choosing a treatment, you might want to speak to your Optician or Ophthalmologist to check that you don’t have a condition associated with Dry Eye, like MGD or Blepharitis, that might need slightly different treatment.


Three-step treatment for Dry Eye
For anyone suffering from severely dry eyes, it’s a good idea to follow a three-step treatment plan.

Step 1: Apply a heated compress, such as MeiboPatch®, to unblock your meibomian glands and relieve your eyes.[20]

Step 2: Cleanse and wipe away the melted oil blocking your glands, as well as any built-up debris with a cleanser like Naviblef®. It is specially designed to reduce discomfort and remove build-up around the lashes caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.[21]

Step 3: Incorporate an effective eye drop like VisuXL® Gel into your daily routine. With 12 hour protection from just one drop, you can enjoy lasting comfort without the need to reapply throughout the day. Just one drop each time you brush your teeth on a morning and an evening is all you’ll need for lasting lubrication.[12] [13]


Lifestyle tips and treatment for Dry Eye
Alongside medical treatments, there are many lifestyle choices you can make to help with your Dry Eye.
Everything from the food you eat and drink, to sleep and screen time, can impact your Dry Eye symptoms and management. Making small decisions such as drinking between 8 to 10 glasses of water a day can really make a difference![22]

For more information on lifestyle tips to help with Dry Eye, visit our blog:


dry eye and lifestyle


Hopefully, this guide has helped you identify the difference between eye gels and eye drops for Dry Eyes, for you to think about a personalised treatment plan that would work for your condition. It’s important to remember that any medication can be combined with lifestyle changes to minimise Dry Eye symptoms even further.

In summary, eye drops are great for short-term relief, used to help prevent triggers from impacting your Dry Eye. On the other hand, eye gels are thicker, staying on the surface of your eye for longer for lasting comfort.[7]

Both eye drops and eye gels can be used with contact lenses, with preservative-free options being the most effective choice.[8] Whichever Dry Eye treatment you choose to use, ensure that you speak to an optician or ophthalmologist before you decide whether to use eye drops or eye gels.

Follow us on socials @dryeyeandme for tips on symptoms, lifestyle and care!

In most cases, the best way to treat dry eyes, Also known as dry eye syndrome, is to use eye gel or eye drops.

VisuXL Gel® is a preservative-free smart gel lubricant for dry eye syndrome. It provides comfort in a bottle with it’s long-lasting lubrication properties giving 12-hour dosing with just one drop and is suitable for both day and night use.

VisuXL® is a preservative-free eye drop lubricant for dry eye syndrome. Due to its unique ingredients, VisuXL® will help you recover from eye surgery, an injury or persistent damaging dry eye.

VisuEvo® is a preservative-free eye drop that prevents excessive evaporation of the tear film. Its unique formula contains omega-3 essential fatty acids, Vitamins A and D and ultra-filtered phospholipids that facilitate tear film presentation and control evaporation.

All three products are contact lens-friendly and can be used for 180 days after opening.

Shop now


  1. NHS England, ‘Dry Eyes’, Accessed January 2022
  2. Wimpole Eye Clinic. ‘Why Are My Eyes So Scratchy and Dry’, Accessed January 2022.
  3. Dry Eye and Me, ‘Dry Eye Syndrome’, Accessed October 2022
  4. Valencia Higuera and Erika Klein, ‘Chronic Dry Eye Causes and How to Treat Them’, Healthline, 07/06/20. Accessed February 2022
  5. Godman, Heibi, ‘Eye Drops For Dry Eyes’, Healthline, 29/07/22. Accessed October 2022
  6. Veazey, Karen. ’What to know about dry eye gel drops and what conditions they treat’, Medical News Today, 22/12/21, Accessed October 2022
  7. Ranieri, Miranda. ‘Eye Drops vs. Gel vs. Ointment: What’s the Difference?’ 11/08/21, Queensway Optometric Centre, Accessed October 2022
  8. VisuXL Eye Drops Instructions For Use (IFU)
  9. VisuEVO Eye Drops Instructions For Use (IFU)
  10. Amazon, ‘VisuEVO Eye Drops Reviews’, Accessed October 2022
  11. Robertson, Danielle, ‘Severe dry eye: Advanced solutions to a common, chronic condition’, UT Southwestern Medical Centre, 15/07/2020, Accessed October 2022
  12. VisuXL Gel Instructions For Use (IFU)
  13. Brancato R, Fiore T, Papucci L, et al. Concomitant Effect of Topical Ubiquinone Q10 and Vitamin E to Prevent Keratocyte Apoptosis After Excimer Laser Photoablation in Rabbits. J Refract Surg 2002; 18: 135-9, Accessed Ocotber 2022
  14. Xailin Gel Instructions For Use (IFU)
  15. NHS England, ‘Emollients’, Accessed October 2022
  16. Healio, ‘Emollient drops effective in dry eye study’, 29/10/2004, Accessed October 2022
  17. Xailin Night Instructions For Use (IFU)
  18. Amazon, ‘Xailin Night Lubricating Eye Ointment Reviews’, Accessed October 2022
  19. Dry Eye and Me, ‘10 Tips to Ease Dry Eye at Night’, Accessed October 2022
  20. Mebiopatch Instructions For Use (IFU)
  21. Naviblef Instructions For Use (IFU)
  22. Dry Eye and Me, ‘6 Lifestyle Tips to Help Dry Eye’, Accessed October 2022


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