Choosing The Best Eye Drops

Why Are There So Many Eye Drops?

Walking down most store pharmaceutical aisles, you can probably find more than a dozen different types of eye drops to relieve almost any symptom or condition of the eyes. There are eye drops for red eyes, dry eyes, and even pink eye. Why are there so many? Because the eyes are one of the most sensitive parts of the body, and we use them all the time. Our eyes are affected by everything we do: straining to focus on an object, watching television, or using the computer. Environmental pollution or allergens in the air also greatly affect our eyes. With so many eye drops available, how do you choose? This article will help you determine which eye drops are best for your condition.

What to Consider Before Choosing Eye Drops

The first thing to take into consideration before choosing over-the-counter eye drops is why you need them in the first place. Are you suffering from allergies? Has the redness lasted for more than three days? Do you just need more lubrication in your eyes? Although chances are good you will find what you are looking for on the shelf, you may want to visit your eye doctor to have the problem diagnosed. He or she may have a better solution than what is available over the counter. Your eye doctor can advise you on the proper administration of the drops, and how often you should be using them.

If you feel your eyes are constantly dry, irritated, or tired, you may want to try lubricating gels or ointments. Daily use of these types of drops should be approached with caution, as they can cause occasional blurry vision. Most people use these drops before bed and wake up feeling refreshed. Artificial tears are the most common eye drops sold over the counter. They contain no preservatives or chemicals that cause your blood vessels to dilate. If you are unsure which eye drops to choose, talk with your eye care professional.

Eye Drops for Dry, Red, and Itchy Eyes

Dry or red eyes are the most common reason why people use eye drops. Factors such as the environment, prolonged computer use, and prolonged eyestrain can cause the eyes to dry out. There are plenty of drops designed for relief of dry eyes, made by Visine, Bausch and Lomb, and Theratears. For chronic dry eyes, Allergan has produced Restasis, a prescription eye drop specifically designed to help with chronic dry eyes.

For itchy or red eyes caused by allergic reactions or late nights, there are plenty of eye drops with antihistamines and other relief elements available over the counter or with a prescription. These eye drops not only relieve the redness, but also can prevent itchy and watery eyes from pollen or pet dander. Useful brands include Visine-A, Clear Eyes ACR, and Bausch and Lomb’s Opcon-A.

Eye Drops for Serious Conditions

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is a serious, contagious eye condition that needs immediate treatment. Many people are prescribed eye drops to treat pink eye, while others seek immediate and more cost effective treatment over-the-counter. Similasan’s Pink Eye Relief eye drops are currently available in stores without a prescription. For pink eye that will not go away, a prescription eye drop may be more useful.

For serious eye conditions, there are prescription eye drops designed to relieve symptoms. For glaucoma for example, the prescription eye drop OptiPranolol® is designed to help decrease the pressure in the eyes. For other conditions such as lazy eye, cataracts, and uveitis, there are eye drops that can help reduce inflammation and other problems.

It is important for people who use eye drops to know how to apply them correctly. Caution should be used so the expensive drops are not wasted.

Learn how to administer eye drops by visiting our main Eye Drops page.

Talking to Your Eye Doctor

If over-the-counter eye drops are not relieving your symptoms, you may want to talk with your eye doctor. Here are some questions to ask him or her about eye drops:

  • What is causing my eye problems?
  • Which over-the-counter eye drops do you recommend for people with my eye problem?
  • Do you think I would benefit more from prescription eye drops?
  • How much should I expect to pay for eye drops?
  • Can you show me how to properly administer my eye drops?
  • I wear contact lenses; which eye drops would benefit me most?
  • What options do I have when it comes to eye drops?

Did you know…Restasis has an approval rating of over 83 percent?

References:
  • B. McDonough, MD, FAAFP, My Medical Reports, Choosing Eye Drops http://www.mymedicalreports.com
  • Eye Doctor Guide, Types of Eye Drops – Different Formulas for Different Problems http://www.eyedoctorguide.com/eye_care/eye_drops_types.html
  • W. Trattler, K. Katsev, D. Kerney, Self-Reproted Compliance with Topical Cyclosporrine Emulsion 0.05% and Onset of the Effects of Increased Tear Production as Assessed Through Patient Surveys. Clinical Therapeutics. 2006
This article was last updated on 03/2014