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Eye Facts:Eye Drops and their uses

Allergies

Be sure to let your ophthalmologist (and all of the doctors who care for you) know if you have any allergies to any medications. Any medicine can cause allergic reaction or allergy, even nonprescription eye drops containing chemical preservatives. Sometimes eye medications are chemical "relatives" of drugs that may have caused you problems in the past. It is very important to tell your doctors of any past allergic reactions. Allergic reactions to eyedrops often include itching, swelling, or a rash around the eyes. If your eyes or eyelids become more red, itchy, or swollen after you begin using an eye drop, you should contact your ophthalmologist.

Eyedrop during an examination

DILATING DROPS

Your ophthalmologist uses eye drops to dilate, or enlarge, the pupils of the eye. This allows examination of the inside of your eye. Because driving may be difficult immediately after a dilated eye examination, ask your ophthalmologist if you need to make arrangements for a ride home after an eye exam.

ANESTHETIC DROPS

Anesthetic are painkillers that numb the eyes within a few seconds. These drops should be used only in the doctor's office and never at home. Repeated use at home can harm the surface of the eye, which could lead to an infection or serious scarring of the cornea.

Non-prescription Eye drops

You can buy many eye drops without prescription. Even though these drops are over the counter, these eye drops may contain medications. Eye drops should be used according to the directions of your physician and the directions on the package. Be aware of any symptoms you might experience since nonprescription eye drops can also cause an allergic reaction. Drops called Artificial tears are solutions that can soothe irritated or dry eyes. You can use them as often as needed. Eye drops without preservatives are available. Descongestant eye drops contain a medicine that whitens the eyes by shrinking, or constricting, blood vessels. While decongestant drops don't improve the health of your eye, they make the eye appear less red. If you use these eye drops infrequently and for a short duration of time, they are usually not harmful. If you use them often, your eyes may actually become more red and irritated when the eye drops are discontinued.
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Prescription Eye drops

STEROIDS (CORTICOSTEROIDS) EYEDROPS

These eye drops are extremely potent and should be used only under your ophthalmologist's guidance. Using them for an eye problem without telling your ophthalmologist is dangerous. Whenever corticosteroids are used, they reduce your eye's ability to fight infection and to repair injury. Using them over time can lead to glaucoma or cataracts, which can cause loss of vision. In spite of the risks, the benefits of using steroids are so important in treating certain conditions that they must be prescribed. The Brand names are: Econopred, Econopred Plus, Pred Forte.

The generic names of common corticosteroids are:

  • Prednisolone
  • Dexamethasome
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Fluoromethalone
  • Medrysone
  • Rimexolonne

EYE DROPS TO TREAT INFECTION

Your ophthalmologist may prescribe eyedrops if you have an infection that can be treated by a certain medicine. Not all "red" or "pink" eyes necessarily mean an infection is present.

Alpha Agonists
They can cause:

  • a red eye or red skin around the eye
  • dry mouth
  • fatigue or decreased energy

Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors
They can cause:

  • eye redness or irritation
  • skin rash (especially in individuals with known allergy to Sulfa drugs)
  • change in taste (especially with carbonated beverages)
  • stomach upset or nausea
  • fatigue and decreased energy

Antibiotics

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory

Prostaglandamin Analogs or Prostamides
They can cause:

  • eye redness or irritation
  • a change in eye color (mostly in hazel or blue to green eyes)
  • increase in thickness and number of eyelashes
  • joint aches or flu-like syndrome

Miotics
They can cause:

  • blurred vision
  • headache
  • retinal detachment

Retinal detachment is rare. If you notice dark floating spots or flashing lights in your vision, call your ophthalmologhist immediately. many new eye drops are becoming available. As with any medication, eye medications can cause eye allergies, irritation, or other side effects, as listed above. If you experience any side effects, contact your ophthalmologist immediately. Tell your other doctors if you are using any eye drops for glaucoma.

- Cyclogyl
- Homatropine
- Pilocarpine

How to use the Eye drops

Follow these steps:

1. Wash your hands prior to using eye drops

2. Remove the cap, Do not touch the upper tip

3. Tilt your head back slightly

4. Pull your lower lid away from the eye to form a "pocket" by:

5. Hold the dropper tip directly over the eyelid pocket. (You may brace your hand against your face or forehead to keep it steady)

6. Look up and let the eye drop fall into the pocket without touching the bottle to your eye or eyelid (to prevent contamination of the bottle)

7. Close your eyes (do not blink) and apply pressure to the point where the lids meet the nose. Hold for two to three minutes.

8. Before opening your eyes -and this is very important- wipe unabsorbed drops and tears from the closed lid with a tissue. Then open your eyes.

9. If you need to make more than one kind of eye medication at the same time, wait three to five minutes before using the second drop.