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How To Buy Eye Drops: What You Should Know

By Essilor News

Strolling down the pharmacy aisles, you may have noticed an assortment of eye drops available to relieve nearly any eye symptom or condition. Over-the-counter eye drops are an effective way to alleviate many common eye discomfort symptoms. Common ailments like colds, seasonal allergies, medications, eye strain, and tiredness can cause eye dryness, redness, itching, soreness, swelling, and discharge.

Here are some tips to help you choose and buy the right eye drops for your condition.

Before you Buy Eye​ Drops

Before heading to the store, make a list of symptoms to help determine the best eye drop for you. Most eye treatments are available in a liquid form to mimic real tears, while others come in gel form to provide more effective, prolonged relief of symptoms. Speak with your doctor if you are uncertain which eye drops are right for you.

Eye Drops for Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are the most common reason people use eye drops. Causes like environmental conditions, extended computer use, and prolonged eyestrain can cause dry, irritated eyes. There are many eye drops formulated for short-term relief, including:

  • Artificial tears. The most common eye drops sold over-the-counter lubricate and soothe dry eyes by increasing several tear elements already in your eyes.
  • Sterile saline. Chemical-free eye drops that are used to cleanse and moisturize the eyes.
  • Prescription eye drops. For chronic dry eyes and other conditions, a prescription medication may be required to relieve symptoms and decrease damage to the eye.

Eye Drops for Itch​y or Red Eyes

Allergens likes pollen or pet dander can cause symptoms like redness, itching, and watering eyes. Over-the-counter or prescription eye drops often contain a decongestant, antihistamine, or other chemicals to relieve symptoms. Red-eyes caused from tiredness can be treated with a lubricating solution.

Eye Drops for Contact Lens Wearers

Lubrication is essential for contact lens comfort. Occasionally contact lenses can become dry and uncomfortable causing red, dry, or irritated eyes. Choose a contact lens-friendly eye drop formulated to lubricate lenses and soothe your eyes. If you suspect an eye infection, speak with your doctor immediately.

Eye Drops Safety

  • Speak to your doctor about the appropriate frequency, duration, and proper administration of eye drops.
  • Prevent cross-contamination by not sharing your eye drops with others, and avoiding touching the dropper with your fingers or to your eye.
  • Discontinue and discard eye drops that are contaminated or expired.
  • Only use eye drops as a short-term relief solution because overuse can cause new or worsening symptoms.
  • Talk to your doctor about the safety of using eye drops alongside other cold and allergy medications.

 When to Call your Eye Doctor

Most eye issues can be relieved with over-the-counter eye drops. However, more serious conditions, like an infection, or frequent, continuing, or worsening eye problems may require a different course of treatment, and you should immediately call your eye doctor.