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Do you suffer from dryness, burning, itching or pain around your eyes? Do you get tired from working at a computer, the dry air in the room in winter or the breeze from the air conditioner in summer? A nourishing and moisturising eye ointment can help.

Welcome to our eye ointment test 2021. It's nice that you have landed on our page. In this article, we would like to answer important questions about eye ointment and help you find the right product for you. In addition, there are helpful videos on the correct application and interesting facts on the topic of eyes and eye care.




The most important

  • Our eyes are exposed to great stress every day. Artificial light and dry indoor air can cause discomfort in the eye area.
  • Eye ointments have a soothing and moisturising effect. Due to their lipid-containing base, they also remain in the eye longer than conventional drops. Eye ointments that are designed to moisturise and care for your eyes are available over the counter.
  • If you suffer from inflammation, which can be noticeable through redness and swelling, a visit to the doctor is essential. By taking a detailed medical history, the best eye ointment for treatment can be determined.

The Best Eye ointments: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an eye ointment

What is an eye ointment?

Eye ointments are semi-solid, creamy and sterile mixtures designed for use around the eye area, on the eyelid, cornea or conjunctiva. Eye ointments are used to care for and moisturise dry eyes, infections or inflammations.

Eye ointments contain one or more active ingredients. Wool wax, paraffin or vaseline serve as the basis of the ointment. Some eye ointments also contain preservatives or stabilisers.

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Our eyes are exposed to great strain every day. Eye ointments can help by caring for and moisturising them.
(Image source: pixabay / PublicDomainPictures)

How does eye ointment work?

Eye ointments contain one or more active ingredients that are supposed to help relieve or treat your symptoms.

Commonly used ingredients include vitamins, antiseptics, antibiotics, antivirals, herbal medicines and glucocorticoids. We have compiled a list of common active ingredients in eye ointments (1), as well as their category and other common names:

Active ingredient Category Effect Indication Synonym
Aciclovir Nucleoside analogues Antiviral Herpes infections Zovirax
Bibrocathol Antiseptics Antiseptic Treatment of irritation and chronic eyelid rim inflammation Noviform
Ciprofloxacin Antibiotics/quinolones Bactericide Inhibition of bacterial topoisomerase II and IV
Dexamethasone Glucocorticoids Acts as an anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive and anti-allergic Non-infectious inflammation
Dexpanthenol Vitamin Acts as a wound-healing and hydrating agent Relief for dry eyes or eye irritation Panthenol
Euphrasia Eyebright herb Acts as an anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory Relief for dry or irritated eyes Eyebright
Hydrocortisone Glucocorticoids Acts as an anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-pruritic and immunosuppressant Used for allergic and non-infectious inflammation
Neomycin Antibiotic Bactericidal Local treatment of bacterial infections
Prednisone Glucocorticoids Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic Internal use in allergic and inflammatory diseases
Tobramycin Antibiotic Bactericide Treatment of bacterial infections
Vitamin A Vitamin Regenerating and hydrolysing Treatment of dry eyes and regeneration of tissue Retinol

For the treatment of very dry eyes, the Deutsche Apothekerzeitung (DAZ) particularly recommends eye ointments with the active ingredients dexpanthenol or vitamin A/retinol (2).

The effect of dexpanthenol on wound healing has already been proven in clinical studies. Especially in the early phase of wound healing, positive effects could be achieved (3)

The postitive effect of vitamin A on wound healing in cases of irritation and injury to the eyes has also been proven in studies (4).

When and for whom is it useful to use eye ointment?

Our eyes are under a lot of stress every day and are constantly under a lot of strain during the day. Dry room air, VDU work and artificial light can take a toll on our eyes. Natural phenomena such as wind, strong sunlight or exposure to pollen also pose a challenge to our eyes.

Such irritation or reduced tear production can cause burning, itching or pain in the eyes. This is often referred to as dry eyes.

Working at a computer screen and under artificial light is particularly hard on our eyes. A study has shown that the high proportion of blue light, for example in LED lamps, causes the eyes to age more quickly (5).

Pain or problems in the eyes can also be associated with a bacterial infection. One of the most common eye diseases, usually caused by bacteria, is the so-called stye, a nodular swelling of a sebaceous gland.

Did you know that the tendency to suffer from dry eyes increases with age?

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, the symptom of dry eye, affects about 16% of the population. The symptoms increase with age. Women are also affected more often than men .

What side effects can eye ointments cause?

Eye ointments can cause temporary visual disturbances such as blurred vision. Local discomfort, such as burning or pain, may also occur. In rare cases, eye ointment can also cause an allergic reaction.

Eye ointments are best applied at night before going to bed, because this way they can work for a long time and impairments of vision can be avoided.

As long as visual disturbances persist, it is important to be careful not to drive or operate heavy machinery. It is therefore recommended to apply the eye ointment before going to bed.

To be aware of all possible side effects, always read the package leaflet of your eye ointment properly and ask your doctor or pharmacist if necessary.

What is an alternative to using an eye ointment?

Eye drops are a very common alternative to eye ointment. Eye drops have the advantage that they do not have to be applied, but can simply be dropped in. Eye ointment, on the other hand, is prepared on a lipid basis and thus stays longer on or in the eye.

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Eye ointments stay longer on the eye due to their lipid consistency and can thus help the successful therapy.
(Image source: unsplash / Patrick Brinksma)

Decision: What types of eye ointment are there and which is right for you?

What are the characteristics of an eye ointment for the treatment of dry eyes and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Eye ointments for the treatment of dry and irritated eyes are suitable for treatment when the symptoms are caused by external influences, such as VDU work, general fatigue or a low production of tear fluid.

Products for moisturising and caring for the eyes are often available without a prescription and contain active ingredients such as eyebright or dexpanthenol. The products can be used as needed. However, the use of an eye ointment is recommended before going to bed.

Advantages
  • Prescription-free
Disadvantages
  • Costs must be paid by the patient

What are the characteristics of an eye ointment for treating infections and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Eye ointments for the treatment of infections mostly depend on the type of infection. A visit to the doctor is essential here, because only a doctor can determine the type of disease and the trigger for the inflammation with certainty. In addition, most products for the treatment of inflammation of the eyes require a prescription.

Is it conjunctivitis, stye, eyelid rim inflammation or corneal inflammation?

Furthermore, it has to be classified whether it is a bacterial inflammation, a viral inflammation or whether there are allergic causes?

  1. Bacterial infection: Bacterial infections often disappear on their own. Healing can be promoted by administering an eye ointment with an antibiotic agent. A stye is also the result of a bacterial infection. Here, too, antiseptic eye ointments or products with antibiotic agents can provide relief.
  2. Viral infection: Viral infections often cannot be treated in a sufficiently targeted way due to the lack of suitable medication. Cold compresses can be helpful. If herpes pathogens are to blame, the active ingredient aciclovir can help.
  3. Allergy: If the infection is caused by allergies, the first step is to identify the allergen and treat it with a suitable antihistamine. For relief, decongestant products with cortisone are often administered.

The advantages of an eye ointment in the case of an infection clearly lie in the appropriate active ingredient. Through a precise anamnesis, the appropriate ointment can be prescribed. The disadvantage, if you can call it that, is the almost exclusive prescription requirement.

Advantages
  • Optimal product
Disadvantages
  • Prescription-only

Buying criteria: You can use these criteria to compare and evaluate eye ointments

Active ingredient

The primary difference between different eye ointments is the active ingredient used. You can therefore classify and evaluate the products by comparing their ingredients. Eye ointments for the treatment of dry and irritated eyes often contain vitamin A (retinol), dexpanthenol or eyebright.

Tolerability

Eye ointments are usually well tolerated. In rare cases, allergic reactions may occur.

However, the addition of preservatives is detrimental to tolerance if they are used over a longer period of time. The German Ophthalmological Society clearly advises products without preservatives for patients with chronic diseases, such as dry eyes or glaucoma, and a confirmed allergy to preservatives (7).

Preservatives

On the one hand, preservatives ensure a longer shelf life of the product and also prevent germs and pathogens from getting into the eye. Preservatives are even mandatory in products that are used for longer than 24 hours. But it is precisely these preservatives themselves that can cause discomfort.

Preservatives are supposed to increase the shelf life, but they can also be harmful over a longer period of time.

The German Ophthalmological Society advises against the use of preservatives in eye care products, especially when used daily over a long period of time. When used over a long period of time, preservatives can even damage the eyes, leading to chronic inflammation, for example.

The DOG advises against the frequently used preservative benzalkonium chloride (BAC). The preservatives polyquad, sodium perborate and oxychloro-complex are clearly better tolerated. However, irritation cannot be completely ruled out.

The safest preparations are those without preservatives, which provide safety through silver-plated steel valves or filters (7).

Price

There are only slight price differences between the various eye ointment products. The price segment of over-the-counter eye ointments ranges from about £ 10 to £ 30

If you want to buy a prescription eye ointment, e.g. for the treatment of inflammations and infections, normally only the prescription fee is due.

Did you know that daily outdoor activity can prevent myopia?

Daylight, which is about 100 times more intense than artificial light, is an important preventive factor against myopia. Too little light leads to a lack of dopamine in the eye. About two hours a day in the fresh air is recommended (8).

Interesting facts about eye ointment

How to apply eye ointment correctly?

Follow these steps to apply eye ointment correctly (9). You can also watch the attached video.

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Remove your contact lenses if necessary.
  3. Tilt your head back.
  4. Pull the lower eyelid down slightly to create a space between the eyelid and the eye.
  5. Press lightly on the tube and draw a line with the ointment along the lower eyelid. Start at the inner corner of your eye and move your hand outwards.
  6. Be careful not to touch the eye with the tip of the tube.
  7. Release the lid and blink to spread the ointment over the eye.
  8. Close the tube properly.

How long and how often should eye ointment be applied?

Exact information on the duration and frequency of use can be found in the package leaflet or obtained from your doctor or pharmacist.

It is advisable to apply eye ointment directly before going to bed, as it can then work for a long time and does not affect you.

Eye ointments that contain preservatives, in particular, could cause damage if used daily over a long period of time (7).

What is the shelf life of eye ointment?

Most eye ointments have a shelf life of about one month after the medicine is opened. Look for the best-before date on the packaging or product.

Eye drops and eye ointments, therefore, have a short shelf life, as this minimizes the risk of bacteria getting into the eye.

Are eye drops or eye ointment better for treatment?

Both types of products have excellent qualities. Which product is better depends largely on your usage and situational needs.

Eye ointments are fat-based, while eye drops are water-based.

The difference between eye drops and eye ointment is mainly in the processing. Drops are water-based, ointments are fat-based. Ointments therefore dissolve less quickly and may remain in the eye longer, which in turn can be useful for successful therapy.

Eye drops are good for regular care or special needs. They are available in vials, but also in disposable capsules. Especially in this form, you can use them as needed and worry less about shelf life. Moisturising products are available over the counter.

If your eyes need very intensive care, eye ointment is recommended. Eye ointment contains lipids and therefore stays longer in and on the eye.

If you want to use both products, drops and ointment, at the same time, use the eye drops first. After a break of ten to fifteen minutes, you can apply the eye ointment.

Are the same products suitable for humans and animals?

First of all, your pet's medication should always be discussed with your vet.

Almost all eye drops or eye ointments for animals come from human medicine. The package inserts are not written for the medication of animals and are therefore only conditionally applicable.

Picture source: Garau/ 123rf.com

References (9)

1. PharmaWiki, Medikamente und Gesundheit: Augensalben. 30.10.2019
Source

2. Pfister, Elisabeth/Rose, Olaf: Entscheidungshilfen für die Therapie des trockenen Auges. In: DAZ, 2014/3
Source

3. Bauer-Delto, A. ästhet dermatol kosmetol (2018) 10: 47. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12634-018-5714-1
Source

4. Fang KM/Wang CT/Chen YW/Huang TW: Reduction of adhesions and antrostomy stenosis with topical vitamin A after endoscopic sinus surgery. In: The American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy, 2015/6/29
Source

5. Krigel, A./Berdugo, M./Picard, E.: Light-induced retinal damage using different light sources, protocols and rat strains reveals LED phototoxicity. In: Neuroscience, 2016/339, S. 296-307
Source

6. Staufenbiel, Barbara: Von Blepharitis bis zum trockenen Auge. In: Pharmazeutische Zeitung. Die Zeitschrift der deutschen Apotheker. 2018/35
Source

7. Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft, Gesellschaft für Augenheilkunde, 2013
Source

8. Universtitätsklinikum Freiburg, Klinik für Augenheilkunde, Patienteninformation, 2016
Source

9. Institut für Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen (IQWiG): Augentropfen richtig anwenden. Köln, 2019.
Source

Why you can trust me?

Artikel
PharmaWiki, Medikamente und Gesundheit: Augensalben. 30.10.2019
Go to source
Artikel
Pfister, Elisabeth/Rose, Olaf: Entscheidungshilfen für die Therapie des trockenen Auges. In: DAZ, 2014/3
Go to source
Artikel
Bauer-Delto, A. ästhet dermatol kosmetol (2018) 10: 47. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12634-018-5714-1
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Fang KM/Wang CT/Chen YW/Huang TW: Reduction of adhesions and antrostomy stenosis with topical vitamin A after endoscopic sinus surgery. In: The American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy, 2015/6/29
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Krigel, A./Berdugo, M./Picard, E.: Light-induced retinal damage using different light sources, protocols and rat strains reveals LED phototoxicity. In: Neuroscience, 2016/339, S. 296-307
Go to source
Artikel
Staufenbiel, Barbara: Von Blepharitis bis zum trockenen Auge. In: Pharmazeutische Zeitung. Die Zeitschrift der deutschen Apotheker. 2018/35
Go to source
Pressemitteilung der Deutschen Ophthalmologischen Gesellschaft (DOG)
Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft, Gesellschaft für Augenheilkunde, 2013
Go to source
Patienteninformationsblatt
Universtitätsklinikum Freiburg, Klinik für Augenheilkunde, Patienteninformation, 2016
Go to source
Artikel
Institut für Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen (IQWiG): Augentropfen richtig anwenden. Köln, 2019.
Go to source
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