As an update, one of our dogs just had eye surgery for cancer. She had to have her third (inner) eyelid removed. As a result, we're going to need to use eye drops for dry eyes for the rest of her life. Hey, the cancer is gone and she got to keep her eye. I can handle eye drops!
Apparently dogs need thicker eye drops so we have to use the gel. And because Whisper will be using it daily for many years, we wanted to confirm the Systane gel was indeed preservative free.
I just researched all this.
Unfortunately, very few eye drops are truly "preservative free". Because we only use a drop or two at a time, it takes a while to go through a bottle, even the small one, so they add the preservative to keep it fresh. Only the individual packets and a few very small bottles are preservative free (and even then it just means "fewer" and not necessarily "free").
Mayo Clinic says:
Quote:There are two categories of artificial tears:
Eyedrops with preservatives. This type often comes in multidose bottles and contains chemicals (preservatives) that discourage growth of bacteria once the bottle has been opened. The preservatives may irritate your eyes, especially if you have moderate or severe dry eyes.
Preservative-free eyedrops. This type has fewer additives and is generally recommended if you apply artificial tears more than four times a day, or if you have moderate or severe dry eyes. Preservative-free eyedrops may come in single-dose vials.
Everywhere I researched though said the same thing. That the concern was only if you needed to use eye drops more than 4 times a day.
That if you used less, like most of us only use it at night, then there are no worries.
I believe, for me, in the spring and summer when my daily dry eyes are at their worse, I will be using the preservative free ones during the day. I will continue to use the gel ones at night. As for Whisper girl, we'll use the Ultra packets we picked up until I can talk to the vet about it.
- Systane has a preservative free "Ultra" in individual packets. They do not have a gel in a packet.
- Baush & Lomb have preserv. free drops in packets called "Soothe". They do not have a gel at all from what I could find on their website.
- Refresh has a preserv. free gel called "Celluvisc" and regular drops called "Optiv" and another called "Plus", all in packets.