Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Shopping Report: Eye drops

What do you buy when your eyes are recovering from Lasik PRK? Well, you don't shop online, because focusing on a computer screen is damn near impossible. (At one week post-laser, it is much better, but since I still need to look away from the computer every few minutes to rest my eyes, I'm not tempted to cruise the online sales listings on my lunch break.)

Instead, you try and buy eye drops. A lot of eye drops. Here's my take on the OTC varieties I've tested in the last 7 days.

Tears Naturale Free I went through a big box of these pretty quickly post-surgery. They are individual one-use vials, but I found that each vial is actually more like 3-5 uses. They feel like tears. Walgreens makes a knock-off version that lists for about a dollar less.

Systane Ultra Preservative Free Eye Drops are very similar to Tears Naturale Free: individual vials that feel like soft tears. At least at Walgreens, they cost a bit more than Tears Naturale Free, but since I had a coupon that came with the starter kit from Dr. Kraff, the cost difference was negligible.

Refresh Optive Sensitive Lubricant Eye Drops I got a few of these as samples from Dr. Kraff, and they're also similar to the Tears Naturale Free individual vials, but they are slightly more moisturizing and the moisture does seem to last a bit longer. This helps make up for the fact that there's less solution in each individual vial (more like 1-2 uses), but the product performance isn't so much better that these are worth their premium price.

By far the most interesting eye product I've tested is GenTeal Eye Gel. Now that my eyes have healed, I'm supposed to apply it just inside my lower lash line and blink until it's coated my whole eyeball in soothing squishiness. I do this before bed so that my eyes can stay tucked under a sheet of moisture all night, but the box indicates for daytime use as well. It does feel good. I purchased the GenTeal brand on my doctor's recommendation, but I saw a lot of similar eye drop gels and eye gel products, and given how similar the tears are, I doubt I'll remain brand-loyal in the future.

Immediately after getting PRK, I couldn't wear any eye makeup. But since I've now been giving the go-ahead to do so, I picked up a waterproof mascara, Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof. It's a pretty basic mascara (and was on sale for under $4 at Walgreens), but it is doing a decent job of staying on even under a near-constant shower of artificial tears.