Are your eyes dry or irritated? If so, you may have dry eye.
Normally, the body continuously produces tears to keep eyes moist, clean, and free of foreign matter. For instance, blinking is a natural way of increasing eye hydration. However, you may need drops to achieve your eyes’ ideal comfort level.
Eye drops: What you need to know
First, some drops are available over the counter while others require a prescription. The latter are prescribed by an optometrist based on your symptoms (also known as the pathology) and can be used to treat or relieve glaucoma, allergic reactions, and the most common infections.
Note that you may also be prescribed anti-inflammatory, antiviral, or antibacterial drops, or those containing cortisone.
Optometrists most frequently prescribe drops for allergic reactions and inflammation, which is often caused by contact lenses or an object in the eye.
The most popular are of course hydrating drops (e.g., Systane® or Refresh®) that are available in pharmacies. You can also purchase over-the-counter ocular decongestants like Visine®, Polysporin® antibiotic eye drops, or mast cell stabilizers for allergies from your pharmacist.
Caution! Keep your eyes open
Keep in mind that there are a number of symptoms or conditions that make using eye drops inadvisable.
Do not use eye drops if you have chronic eye pain, photophobia, or vision loss, if your symptoms continue for more than seven days, or if you have corneal damage. Always consult your optometrist and pharmacist to make sure you’re following the best course of treatment for your eyes.
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A big thank-you to Danielle Hébert, an owner pharmacist affiliated with the Familiprix group, for contributing to this article. Ms. Hébert has a degree from Université Laval’s faculty of pharmacy and operates pharmacies in Brossard and Montreal.