For treatment of several eye conditions like dry eyes, redness, swelling, eye discharge or mattering, allergies, etc., people would rather use eye drops than consult with their doctor for a prescription. Most eye drops are over-the-counter drugs, meaning you can buy them from pharmacies without your doctor's consent. Certain eye drops however cannot be obtained without your doctor's prescription - especially those medications formulated for eye diseases or disorders like Lumigan, Isotine and Xalatan, which are treatments for glaucoma.
The important thing to remember about eye drops is that prescribed or not, they are medicines that can cause side effects. No matter how small the amount of eye drops you put in your eyes, the drug penetrates your bloodstream by passing through the mucous membranes of the eye, the lacrimal glands or tear drainage system and the nose. That small amount of drug in your bloodstream can cause adverse effects in other parts of your body. Chloramphenicol for example, is used for treating infections caused by a certain kind of bacteria. Although this drug can be purchased over-the-counter, it is highly recommended to consult with your doctor for specific advice as this drug can cause severe blood problems if not administered properly. Systane for dry eyes, Tobradex for swelling and Patanol for itching and watery eyes are also nonprescription medicines that are best conferred with your doctor before application.
How you apply your eye drop solution is also crucial to achieving its effect. For proper application, here are simple tips.
- It is advised to wash your hands before and after application.
- Tilt your head back and with your free hand, tug your lower eyelid gently to form a pouch.
- Position the dropper above your eye carefully without touching the tip against any part of your eye.
- Squeeze gently to release a drop into your lower eyelid.
- Close your eye for a moment then blink a few times.
- Should you need another drop, do the same steps.
- And yes, before you do all these steps, check the expiration date of the eye drop first.
Before using eye drops, examine the labels carefully for specific guidelines on indication, dosage and administration. There you will also find other factors worth considering prior to using the solution. Contra-indications for instance are very important to check as you may have allergies to some medicines, food or other substances. Similarly, you may be taking other medications or dietary supplements, which may interact with your eye drop solution.
If you are experiencing pervasive discomfort after using eye drops, it is best to stop procrastinating on visiting your doctor. While it is convenient and less expensive to use eye drops for quick relief, some of them are only recommended for short term use or you may develop another form of eye problem with regular application. The simple irritation, dryness, soreness, swelling or blurring of your eyes can possibly be symptoms of some acute diseases that may need more than eye drops for treatment such as surgery, transplant or alternative therapy. Playing doctor on yourself is not worth it if your sight is at stake.