The first thing many people do when their eyes feel dry and irritated is to use eye drops. They can provide relief from eye discomfort, itchiness and redness. However, you shouldn’t use them for extended periods or longer than your eye doctor recommends.
Read on to learn what can happen when you overuse eye drops.
Types of Eye Drops and Their Uses
Lubricating Eye Drops
Also called artificial tears, lubricating eye drops usually contain electrolytes that can moisten your eyes. Some have preservatives, while others don’t. You can get them over the counter since they don’t require a prescription.
Redness-Relief Eye Drops
Whitening or redness-relief eye drops help with eye irritation and are available over the counter. They have vasoconstrictors, a medication that shrinks the small blood vessels in the eye. When you use them, your eyes will look whiter.
Allergy Eye Drops
If you have eye allergies, your eye specialist might prescribe you allergy eye drops. They contain decongestants and antihistamines that eliminate itchiness, puffiness and irritation.
Antibiotic Eye Drops
Antibiotic eye drops are for treating bacterial eye infections. They eliminate the microorganisms in the eye. You need a prescription to purchase these eye drops. They can also be a part of a cataract treatment plan.
What Happens When You Overuse Eye Drops?
Remember to use eye drops with caution because overusing them can cause rebounding. It’s when you experience worse symptoms once you have discontinued the eye drops. Also, using too much artificial tears can wash away natural tears and moisturizers from your eyes. Another thing excessive eye drop use can do is hide the symptoms of other eye conditions.
It’s best to see your eye doctor if you have been experiencing prolonged eye discomfort. Turn to Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry for professional eye care services. We specialize in dry eye treatment, sports vision training, myopia management and more! Call us at (703) 573-1200 or fill out our online form to request an appointment. We assist patients in Falls Church, VA, and nearby areas.