Everything You Should Know About Eye Drops
Our eyes can be very sensitive organs; even just a small speck of dust can cause irritation. From specks of dust that we can just blink away to allergies that cause red, itchy eyes, to eye infections that need to be treated with prescription medication, our eyes face a lot of risks; and that’s not even mentioning vision problems.
If you’re struggling with an eye issue that is not vision-related, it can be tempting to simply grab a bottle of eye drops and hope for the best. But there are several types of eye drops that can be used to treat different problems. Whatever eye problem you’re dealing with, there are a few things to know to ensure that your eyes get the proper care and treatment.
Talk to Your Eye Doctor
The first thing you should do, whether or not you need corrective eyewear, is see an eye doctor. It may seem easy enough to read the labels on some eye medications and use the one that best fits your symptoms, but self medicating is rarely a good thing. And having the advice of an experienced eye doctor can be invaluable. In addition, when you schedule an appointment with an optometrist, you can also get an eye exam, which can provide you with a lot of information about your overall health!
Types of Eye Drops
Here is a quick overview of the different types of eye drops that you’ll find:
If you’re experiencing eye irritation, a burning sensation, or scratchy eyes, an over-the-counter (OTC) lubricating eye drop or artificial tears may be a solution. There are also prescription medications that contain stronger ingredients if you suffer with chronic dry eyes. Speak with your optometrist about getting a prescription.
Redness can be caused by allergic reactions, an irritation, not enough sleep, or a more serious medical issue. While eye drops can relieve redness by restricting blood vessels, it’s important to discontinue use and speak with your eye doctor if the problem persists.
If you’re allergic to dust, mold, pet dander, grass, or other allergens, it may cause irritation that leads to redness, irritation, and watering. Look for an eye drop that contains antihistamines.
If you have an infection like pink eye, an antibiotic drop will help with the healing process. However, antibiotic eye drops will need a prescription from your eye doctor.
Overusing Eye Drops
When functioning as they should, our eyes produce enough moisture naturally to keep the surface lubricated, which can help prevent dust and other debris from getting into the eye as well. When there is an infection, allergic reaction, or some type of irritation, eye drops can be an effective way to reduce symptoms and return the eyes back to normal. However, eye drops are typically only meant for temporary treatment.
Eye Drops Can Wash Away Natural Tears
On the surface of our eyes is an oily layer that allows natural tears to adhere to the surface of the eye. If you’re using an eye drop to lubricate your eyes, the medication can actually wash away the tears that are being produced naturally. This can lead to eyes drying out too quickly, leading to dry eye problems.
The Rebounding Effect
When our eyes are irritated, tiny blood vessels in the white part of the eye start to dilate. The purpose of eye drops is to constrict the dilated blood vessels, which will reduce redness. However, the blood vessels also provide oxygen to the eye. When the blood vessels are constricted, the eyes aren’t getting enough oxygen and other nutrients. This leads to the body dilating the blood vessels even more, requiring even more eye drops to reach the same effect.
Quick Tips to Keep Your Eyes Healthy
To avoid having to use eye drops in the first place, here are some tips to keep your eyes as healthy as possible.
- Stay hydrated
- Wear sunglasses
- Wear safety goggles
- Get enough sleep
- Avoid exposure to allergens by keeping windows closed
- Replace or regularly clean carpets to avoid pet dander
- Don’t rub or itch your eyes
- Wash your hands frequently
Contact Spectrum Eye Care in Colorado Springs
If you’re in the Colorado Springs area and are in need of an eye doctor, visit the team at Spectrum Eye Care. Our optometrists, Doctor Bennet and Doctor Maciejewski, are passionate about providing a high level of eye care for the whole family. Doctor Bennet also specializes in the prevention and treatment of dry eyes. Whether you need an updated prescription on your contacts, new designer frames, or if you’re struggling with eye allergies or an infection, we will be there with expert service. Schedule an appointment with us today!