Saturday, November 13, 2010

Red eyes? Don't go grabbing just any eyedrop!

If you have red, irritated eyes, you may be tempted to grab the nearest bottle of Visine "Get the Red Out". These eyedrops contain a special ingredient which temporarily constricst the blood vessels, helping the eyes to whiten in most cases. However, there is a 'rebound reaction', and the blood vessels can return. Sometimes people become dependent on them, and if you read the small print on the bottle label, it might say "Overuse may cause more redness". Great!

Eye redness may be due to multiple factors. Sometimes staring at a computer screen all day can dry out the eye and cause redness. Eye fatigue, dryness, irritation, allergies, infection and contact lenses can all contribute to mild redness. It is best to have a thorough exam where your tear film can be evaluated and we can determine the cause and extent of your redness.

Some mild dry eye and redness problems can be solved with over-the-counter eyedrops. I have a few favorites, but it depends on each person as to which one works best for them. Some are formulated better for allergies, some are for severe dry eye, and some are for mild dry eye. There are also several prescription eye drops which help relieve more persistent cases of redness or dry eye.

If you have trouble with dry, irritated or red eyes, please do not settle for an eyedrop that might make things worse! Come in and see us for a thorough, personal exam to determine the best treatment for you!

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