What Are Sodium Cromoglycate Eye Drops?

Jillian O Keeffe

Some people with eye inflammations may be able to use sodium cromoglycate eye drops to reduce the symptoms of the condition. The drops contain medication that soothes the inflammation that allergies like hay fever, and more serious eye diseases can cause. Sodium cromoglycate eye drops is sold under a variety of brand names that vary by region.

Sodium cromoglycate eye drops.
Sodium cromoglycate eye drops.

When the immune system of a body reacts to a foreign substance, it produces what's called an inflammatory response. This can cause redness, swollen tissue and irritation of the affected area. The eyes can also display these symptoms of inflammation, a condition that can be quite painful.

Sodium cromoglycate eye drops help reduce inflammations.
Sodium cromoglycate eye drops help reduce inflammations.

Allergies such as hay fever occur when the immune system accidentally recognizes substances that are not harmful as dangerous. As a result, certain areas of the body, such as the eyes, can display inflammation where no inflammation is necessary. Other allergies where eye irritation can occur include dust mite allergy and sensitivity to pet animals. Sometimes, however, such as in the case of an eye condition like serious conjunctivitis, the inflammation is not as a result of an immune overreaction, but still requires medication for the best outcome.

Sodium cromoglycate acts on the immune system to calms the inflammation. Eye irritation is treated especially well with eye drops, as the medication can get straight to the area of inflammation. The eye drop solution may only need to contain about 2 percent of the sodium cromoglycate active ingredient, and the other 98 percent is water and other soothing ingredients.

A typical regime of sodium cromoglycate eye drops is two drops or less, four times each day, in each eye while symptoms persist. Even though the drops are for chronic conditions like allergies, the manufacturers do not advise constant use of the medication, for more than a few months at a time. The drops can cause temporary pain in the eyes, but this generally passes. Vision can also be blurry for several minutes, but this is also only temporary.

Eye irritation and blurred eyesight are the most common side effects, although it is possible that a patient can be allergic to the medication itself. If the drops also contain a chemical called benzalkonium chloride, or other chemicals that can pose a danger to eye health, a patient must not wear soft contact lenses while using the medication, and should follow instructions closely if wearing hard contact lenses. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should obtain a doctor's opinion on whether the medication is suitable for them.

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