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I recently attended my optician complaining of very dry eyes. I work in an office environment and feel that over the course of the day, my eyes become increasingly irritated and itchy as the humidity increases.
The optician recommended that I try using Visco Tears in place of my normal artificial tears eye drops. Visco Tears come in a little tube and are as easy to put in as any other drops, simply tilt your head and place a drop under the bottom eyelid. The main difference between this product and other lubricating eye drops on the market is that Visco Tears is thicker and texture, more like a gel. It coats the eye and soothes any irritation however it does tend to cause blurry vision for a few minutes after using it. It is also not safe to use with contact lenses, so you must allow a period of time before putting your lenses back in.
I like this product and do find that it has made a difference to my dry eyes however it is a bit annoying that it can't be used with contact lenses.
I will start this review by telling you the story of why I needed this product in the first place.
A couple of months ago my eye lids began to turn red and itchy and they swelled up until I looked as though I had been in a fight. I initially went to the pharmacist in Boots who suggested that I used something called Simple Eye Ointment which I tried to no avail. I then went to see my GP who looked at my eyes but didn't actually examine them and told me that I had an allergy and, after telling me that it could be one of a thousand things I was allergic to, he gave a fortnight's antihistamines. These had no effect either. I knew it couldn't be an allergy as I hadn't put anything on my eyes other than water and Oil of Olay which I have used for 30 years or more without any problems.
I then began to do some research online and I discovered that my condition was probably blepharitis and I began to put Vaseline on my eye lids each night to try and help with the dryness and itching. Then someone suggested that I pay a visit to my optician since my GP wasn't interested.
I went to see my optician and he gave me a thorough examination and asked me lots of questions about what I had been doing to eliminate any chance of it being an allergy. He put drops in my eyes to check the moisture levels and eventually, having ruled out everything else, he suggested that it could be blepharitis. He explained that my eyes were too dry and that, in turn, was what was causing the problems with my eyelids. He then said that he would write to my GP to tell him and ask him to prescribe some artificial tears.
The product he prescribed was Viscotears. Since I get mine on prescription they are free but, having looked on the Internet, I have found that they can be purchased without prescription on Amazon for about £6 for 10g of gel.
Viscotears comes in a tube which is inside a small cardboard box which is sealed to prevent anyone tampering with it - that's the last thing you would need when you are going to put the product in your eyes isn't it? The outside of the box shows tears together with the name of the product - Viscotears Liquid Gel. What I assume is the name of the product also appears in Braille on the outside of the box - I have noticed this on a lot of medications recently and I think it is an excellent idea.
Inside the box there is a sheet of instructions which you are advised to read before using the gel and you are also advised to check and make sure that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients in the gel.
One thing which may be useful to some of you is the fact that this gel should not be used whilst you are wearing contact lenses (which to be honest sounds obvious to me, but then I am not a contact lens wearer) and you should not put your lenses back in for half an hour after using Viscotears.
The instructions also state that the tube together with any remaining contents should be thrown away after it has been open for 28 days. This isn't a problem for me as I find one of these tubes lasts about a month for me anyway but I can see that, for occasional use, this might not be very cost effective.
The gel itself is a sterile liquid contained in a plastic tube with a screw top. I removed the top to reveal a tapering nozzle with a tiny hole in the end of it. I leaned my head back and was able to easily dispense just one drop of gel into each eye. The first couple of times that I used it I noticed a slight irritation which the instructions had warned me about so I wasn't unduly worried. This stopped after the first few applications. Sometimes I do get a slight blurring of vision for a minute or two after application but, since I have just put a think liquid across the surface of my eyes I suppose this isn't unreasonable. You are, of course, advised not to drive whilst the blurred vision persists.
The gel is in the form of a thick liquid so it is easy to dispense just one drop at a time and after blinking my eyes a few times it covers the surface of my eyes. I just have to wipe away any excess after blinking and Bob's your uncle. I find that the cooling liquid gives my eyes instant relief from the dry itchy feeling and, after a couple of weeks, the problems with my eyelids had disappeared too as that was a direct result of the dry eyes.
I use this gel first thing in the morning and again in the evening and I find that is enough for me although I could use it again in the middle of the day if I needed it.
I cannot recommend this gel highly enough. I was feeling so uncomfortable and miserable with my eyelids puffed up like red golf balls and itching like mad. Using this gel gave me instant relief from the dry eyes and the eyelids returned to normal within a week or so.
I have been using this gel for a couple of months now and will continue to do so as it does the job of soothing my eyes with no side effects. My eyes really feel back to normal now and I am so grateful to my optician for his help.
An excellent product and I wish I could give it more than five stars!
I have been using Viscotears Liquid Gel for approximately a year, I have medication from my doctor which has the effect of giving me really red, sore, dry eyes, especially in the morning when I wake up, so I rely on Viscotears to help soothe my sore eyes. It can also be used as a substitute for people who have dry eyes due to not being able to produce their own tears.
Viscotears is different to most eye drops, generally you buy some eye drops for sore eyes at the pharmacy, and if you are like me you will find it very difficult to put the drops in your eyes, then they don't stay on your eyes long enough to lubricate them, usually eye drops end up running down my face, just like tears. But Viscotears is a thickish gel which contains carbomer, and it forms a transparent and lubricating film that stays put and is easy to put in your eyes, and the best thing is that it doesn't just dribble down your face unlike other eye drops, also it doesn't irritate your eyes if you use it for a long period.
Viscotears can be bought over the counter but also your doctor is able to prescribe them,and they are sold over the internet. It costs approximately £4, so unless you have a pre-paid prescription card or get free prescriptions it is cheaper to buy them yourselves, but they cannot be used for longer than one month, as you can easily get an infection, having done this myself I would definitely be aware and don't go past using for one month ONLY. Viscotears Gel is also sold in single use sachets (30) so if you used this you would have no problems of infection. At £8ish they are not cheap but really useful, and there is no rush to use before the one month is up. You could put some sachets in your bag and take them with you so that you always had them to hand.
I have suffered from dry eyes for many years now and as I wear contact lenses it becomes worse due to this. I therefore am advised by my optometrist to use refreshing eye drops. Most of the time I use TheraTears which can be used while wearing contact lenses.
This summer however I had not been wearing my contacts for a while because my eyes has become extremely sore, red and tired. I was told that I needed to stop wearing my contact lenses for a week and use this viscotears liquid gel by my optometrist. I then went for a check again and I had to use it for another week as the condition had got better but not enough to wear contacts. I then went back after a week and the condition improved. My eyes were no longer sore or red. I was allowed to wear contact lenses after 2 weeks of using the gel. I continue to use the blink eye drops when I wear my contacts and after taking them off at the end of the day I use this gel. The gel isn't compatible with contact lenses so it has to be used at least 30 minutes before inserting contact lenses.
The gel comes in a 10g tube and cost £4.50. It lasts for up to 28 days after opening and has to be thrown after this. I was told to apply 1 drop 3 times a day every day. It is important to make sure that the tip does not touch the eye or becomes contaminated as this will cause an infection. The tube lasted me 1 month. The gel is made from polyacrylic acid which has a longer retention time on the surface of the eye, so it acts longer on the eye. It also means that symptoms are relieved for a longer time than the eye drops I use which consist mainly of sterile water.
The gel makes vision blurry for about 10-15 minutes so driving or operating heavy machinery is not a good idea. This means that the drops need to be put in to give sufficient time for vision to be normal again. I found that the gel had a soothing and comforting effect on my tired eyes. My eyes were gritty and tired before and they felt hydrated and comfortable after using the gel. The gel also reduced the redness of my eyes which is an effect of the dry eyes.
This was recommended to be my optometrist and I now use it everyday after taking my contacts out. The health of my eyes have greatly improved and I find wearing contact lenses more comfortable. If you have dry eyes then ask your optometrist about this gel because it really works well.
The first time I became aware of Viscotears was when my dad started using it several years ago, as he suffers from very dry eyes and had been prescribed it by his doctor. Fast forward to an operation I had about a year ago on my jaw, and this saw me leave hospital with, amongst all my other medication, a small tube of Viscotears..
Why am I mentioning my jaw operation for an eye gel? Well to keep it brief this is why:
After having the nerves in the left side of my jaw cut and frozen (long story involving wisdom teeth removal ten years previously), I was told it may affect the muscles on the same side of my face for a while. I was relieved to find the only noticeable thing was the fact that on a night my eye lid wouldn't shut entirely so the morning after sleeping my eye felt incredibly dry and sore - this is where I was so relieved to have been given Viscotears.
So what is it?
Viscotears is basically a lubricant for the relief of dry eyes; otherwise known as artificial tears. Though I was aware that my dad used it I presumed it was a prescription only product for some reason, until the tube I had originally been given started running out and I found it to be widely available at most chemists over the counter.
What does it contain?
I'm no medical expert but according to the box this comes in it contains something called 'Carbomer' which is polyacrylic acid.
How and when to use?
As this comes in a small tube (10g) a tiny blob is applied to the eye area one to three times a day - depending on your particular requirements. As it is a gel and not a watery drop it is slightly more difficult to apply the correct amount but I find that a small squeeze of the tube near to the inner corner of my eyes and blinking several times seems to suffice for each application.
Availability and price?
As mentioned this is available from most leading chemists but it's worth having a chat with your optician or doctor/pharmacist before deciding to just try it. This seems to come in one small sized 10g tube and is in the price bracket of between £4 to £5 depending which store you go to.
My personal experience and opinion~
As I said in the first few paragraphs I was given this for side effects of my jaw operation over a year ago - and boy was I glad I was given it! The first few days after my operation when everything started to 'wear off' was when I started noticing the problem with my eye being sore. I was mainly given the Viscotears as a precaution for 'just in case' but had never thought I would need to use it. I have always suffered from slightly dry eyes in the past to the point I stopped wearing contact lenses, but always found the likes of Optrex eye washes and drops to sort them out to a degree of comfort. When I started experiencing the soreness in my eye through the lack of it closing I knew Optrex wouldn't suffice so started using Viscotears the full 3 times a day.
At first on applying to my eye I thought it felt very bizarre as it's quite a thick, sticky (transparent) gel. It felt very odd compared to using water based drops but I soon got used to the feeling. The relief it brings to sore eyes is instantaneous and soothes the eye whilst moisturising at the same time.
I used this (3 times per day) every day for a full 6 weeks consecutively as my eye was extremely dry and sore but as with most eye drops you must discard after 28 days of opening (I was onto my second tube by then anyway).
Though I have now fully recovered from the effects of my op I do still suffer from occasional dry eyes and find this sorts them out in half of the time that other similar products do.
Would I recommend them?
There is no doubt that these are the best form of artificial tears that I have used for when my eyes are feeling dry: the effects are immediately noticeable; the gel soothes; brings instant relief and leaves eyes feeling *normal* once again - I wouldn't be without a tube in my cupboard now I have tried them.
The size of the packaging means that is if you are using over a long time period as I was they are small enough to fit into your bag or pocket without taking up any room hardly.
Side effects and suitability~
I won't bore everyone with a long list of the do's and don'ts of using this as you can check yourself in the directions or by asking a pharmacist but basically this is:
*For adults only (it doesn't give a 'cut off' age limit)
*Do not wear contact lenses whilst applying and wait 30 minutes before reinserting.
*Not recommended for use during pregnancy
*Blurred vision for a very brief period after using is normal so take care not to drive or operate machinery at the same time.
Most of the information is similar to other 'medical' products and if unsure then exercising common sense is the best option (ask a professional).
This is a fantastic little product that works so efficiently and quickly bringing instant relief to not only dry but very sore eyes. Though it is a gel and not a water drop I find this actually works better as eye drops can too easily drop out of the eye before they actually do anything. This has quite a thick consistency so *sits* on the eyeball whilst blinking several times seems to spread the gel out which covers the entire area and works more effectively (in my opinion).
A super duper eye gel for dry eyes!
I wrote in a recent review, how on my last visit to Specsavers for a check up for my new contact lenses, the very efficient optician told me, as she had done on my last visit, that there was some dryness in my eyes. I'm obviously not an optician so I'm not entirely sure of the reasons for this dryness or the effect on my eyes, but like most patients I follow advice, and on this occasion the advice was to go the pharmacy and buy some viscotears liquid gel.
Viscotears liquid gel, which are sterile eye drops, cost me just over £4 in Boots for a 10g tube and are a behind the counter medicine. According to the information given, this viscotears product contains the 'active' ingredient 'carbomer' a.k.a. polyacrylic acid. It is used to make eyes 'more comfortable when they feel dry' and again, according to the information leaflet, it is part of a group of eyedrops called 'artificial tears'.
Both the box and tube are white in colour, with red and orange stripes going the entire way round the product and then the title surrounded with little water droplets. The manufaturer Novartis is also stated on the front of box and tube.
On the side of the box, the dosage of 1 drop 3 to 4 times daily for an adult is stated, also it also says that you should follow the advice of your physician. Children can use the product also, but only under medical supervision.
Like all medicines, this product should not be used if you are allergic to any of the ingredients which include sorbital, sodium hydroxide, cetrimide and water. For those wearing contact lenses, the product can only be applied when lenses are out, and lenses should not be put back in until at least 30 minutes after the drops have been applied to the eye.
The leaflet gives instructions for use which should be followed carefully. Although I am not squeamish in the slightest about putting anything in my eye, since I put in contact lenses everyday, I find that it is difficult to put these drops in yourself, without making a mess, as you are meant to look up, but at the same time, get it in the bottom of your eye - so it is best to try and get someone else to put them in for you.
The information does say that you may notice that the drops can burn or sting your eye - now my eyes can already be quite sensitive, but I have never noticed any stinging or burning when these drops have been applied. The leaflet also says that your vision my be blurred for a short time, and that it true, although this is literally for a second and if you have a tissue ready and wipe away any excess, this won't be a problem.
The only very slight negative I haev noticed about the drops is that sometimes, you really have to squeeze to get a drop out of them into your eye. Sometimes the droplet seems to hang on the end of the tube nozzle before dropping down, which sometimes then I blink just as it is about to go in, but this is realy nothing serious and would never put me off using these drops.
Now, I have not been back at the optician yet to see if they have made an effective on the dryness of my eyes, but I do notice that when my husband puts the drops in, my eyes do feel refreshed and very comfortable, and I do think that it would ease anyone who has eyes that are itchy or irritable, as it seems to have nearly a cooling effect on the eye. I am confident however, that because they do make my eyes feel so comortable and refreshed that they are having a positive effect on the dryness issue and I wil keep using them until I make a return visit to the optician in the next few weeks.
Viscotears / 10g