Choosing safe eye drops can be a challenge, so consulting with an experienced eye care professional can help determine which ones are safe. Eye drops are available in a variety of solutions and generally are used to treat infections, to restore moisture, and to alleviate eye symptoms of allergies. In addition, safe eye drops can be purchased over the counter at drug stores, big- box retailers, and grocery stores. Prescription eye drops are also available to treat certain conditions.
Glaucoma is a medical condition characterized by an increase in intraocular pressure. Some people believe elevated eye pressure is related to high blood blood pressure, but this is not the case. Eye drops that treat glaucoma help bring down eye pressure and reduce the risk of vision loss. Mild glaucoma generally doesn't produce symptoms, but it can cause a decrease in peripheral vision, blurred vision, and eye pain.
Certain autoimmune conditions can contribute to a condition called dry eye. In addition, people who have these conditions fail to produce adequate tears. This can contribute to excessive irritation, itching, and burning. Although an eye doctor can recommend safe eye drops to reduce these symptoms, the underlying autoimmune condition needs to be treated to avoid ocular complications.
Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is a viral or bacterial infection of the eye. Symptoms of conjunctivitis include eye redness, burning, and itching. In addition, people with conjunctivitis often complain that their eyes feel gritty. A physician can prescribe antibiotics if the infection is due to a bacterial infection. If the infection is viral, antibiotics will typically not be prescribed.
Safe eye drops also include those that are classified as artificial tears. Although these eye drops do not promote tear production, they do help lubricate and soothe the eyes. People who are prone to bloodshot or red eyes may benefit from preparations designed to constrict swollen blood vessels in the eye. These eye drops can help reduce redness and are considered safe eye drops.
If antibiotics or other eye drops have been used to treat an eye infection, they should be thrown away after after use. Infections such as conjunctivitis are very contagious and the eye drops used to treat the infection can sometimes cause reinfection if they're reused. In addition, eye drops should never be shared between people because they are only intended to be used for a single person.
Other types of eye drops include prescription steroid eye drops. These are typically used for inflammatory conditions of the eye. Although corticosteroids can cause significant side effects when taken orally, when used as eye drops, side effects are generally minimal. Side effects from steroid eye drops include mild irritation, tearing, and burning. If side effects persist, a physician should evaluate the symptoms and recommended a treatment plan.