Eye drop

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Eye drops are saline-containing drops used as a vector to administer medication in the eye. Depending on the condition being treated, they may contain steroids, antihistamines, sympathomimetics, beta receptor blockers, parasympathomimetics, parasympatholytics, prostaglandins, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or topical anesthetics. Eye drops sometimes do not have medications in them and are only lubricating and tear-replacing solutions.

Eye drops may be used to relieve itching, soreness, dryness in the eyes. They can be used to get dirt out of the eye. If left untreated, conjunctivitis may occur. However, eye drops will not improve the current health of eyes.

As with most medicines, eye drops do have side effects. Once in the bloodstream, eyedrops can cause side effects in other parts of the body. Such side effects can include slow heart rate, dizziness and headache. In general, however, there is less risk of side effects with eyedrops than with oral medicines and this risk can be minimised by occluding the lacrimal punctum (i.e. pressing on the inner corner of the eye) for a short while after instilling drops.


Types and uses

Steroid and antibiotic eye drops

Steroid and antibiotic eye drops are used to treat eye infections. They should be used for the full time prescribed without interruptions. The infection may relapse if the use of the medication is stopped. [1]

Glaucoma eye drops

Eye drops used in managing glaucoma help the eye's fluid to drain better and decrease the amount of fluid made by the eye which decreases eye pressure. They are classified by their active ingredient and they include: prostaglandin analogs, beta blockers, alpha agonists, and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. There are also combination drugs available for those patients who require more than one type of medication. [2]

Dry eye treatment

There is a wide variety of artificial tear eye drops that provide different surface healing strategies. One can find bicarbonate ions, hypotonicity, viscosity, and non-preserved types. They all act differently, therefore, one should try different artificial tears to find the one that best works. [3]

Allergy eye relief eye drops

Some eye drops may contain histamine antagonists or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which suppress the optical mast cell responses to allergens including (but not limited to) aerosolized dust particles.

Pink eye or conjunctivitis eye drops

Antibiotic eye drops are prescribed when conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria but not when it is caused by a virus. In the case of allergic conjunctivitis, artificial tears can help dilute irritating allergens present in the tear film. [4]

Side effects

Steroid and antibiotic eye drops may cause stinging for one or two minutes when first used and if stinging continues, medical advice should be sought. Also, one should tell their doctor if vision changes occur or if they experience persistent sore throat, fever, easy bleeding or bruising when using drops with chloramphenicol. Also, one should be aware of symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as: rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, and trouble breathing. [5]

Prostaglandin analogs may cause changes in iris color and eyelid skin, growth of eyelashes, stinging, blurred vision, eye redness, itching, and burning. Beta blockers' side effects include low blood pressure, reduced pulse rate, fatigue, shortness of breath, and in rare occasions, reduced libido and depression. Alpha agonists can cause burninng or stinging, fatigue, headache, drowsiness, dry mouth and nose, and also they have a relatively higher likelihood of allergic reaction. Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors may cause stinging, burning, and eye discomfort.[6]

Lubricant eye drops may cause some side effects and one should consult a doctor if pain in the eye or changes in vision occur. Furthermore, when redness occurs but lasts more than 3 days, one should immediately consult a doctor. [7]

See also

File:Man taking eyedrops.jpg
Man taking eye drops



Template:Dosage forms Template:Routes of administration

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