Artificial tears may be purchased over the counter and are often supplemented with other treatments for dry eyes. Artificial tears are designed to mimic real tears as closely as possible. They contain water, salts and polymers, but lack proteins that are found in natural tears.
When used for treating dry eye syndrome, artificial tears are usually applied four times per day. Severe cases may require 10 to 12 applications per day. Thicker artificial tears are also available for treatment of severe dry eyes, but may temporarily blur vision.