Eye drops can be used to treat a number of eye problems. However, you need to get the right eye drops for your eye problem as well as use them the correct way to get the relief you seek and prevent eye infections.

How to Find the Best Eye Drops for Your Symptoms?

Nowadays you can find a wide range of over the counter eye drops formulated to relieve the symptoms of many eye problems. Deciding which one is best for you will depend on what kind of symptoms you’re experiencing. Eye symptoms that eye drops can help relieve include redness, dryness, soreness, itching, swelling, and discharge. For more serious eye symptoms or conditions, consider consulting an eye doctor who can help you find out what’s causing your symptoms and prescribe the best eye drops. 

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Eye Drops for Dryness

Being outdoors in a sunny and wind condition, prolonged screen time, tiredness… all this can lead to short-term dry eyes. In this case, lubricant eye drops can provide relief. Lubricant eye drops generally add the same elements existing in your natural tears, making them feel more moist and comfortable. 

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You’ll want to avoid decongestant eye drops for dry eye. They may make your dry eyes look less red, but in the long run, they can worsen dryness. For more severe dry eye symptoms, a lubricating gel or ointment may be a better option than regular eye drops. Keep in mind that ointments and gels can cause blurry vision for a while after you put them in your eyes, so you might want to use them right before you go to sleep.  

Eye Drops for Redness

To make your red eyes look less red you’ll need a decongestant eye drop, also called whitening eye drops. This eye medicine contains chemicals called vasoconstrictors which shrink the tiny blood vessels along the white part of the eye. It’s important that you understand that while decongestants eye drops can help you get rid of redness, they can hide a potentially serious underlying issue. So, consider consulting your eye doctor to identify any underlying causes of red eyes. Plus, decongestant eye drops shouldn’t be used too often, otherwise, they can cause irritation, dilated pupils and other adverse effects. 

Eye Drops for Itchiness and Allergies

In case of eye itching caused by allergies, antihistamine eye drops can be used. These drops are formulated to reduce histamines, which as natural chemicals released by the body in response to an allergen. Eye drops containing antihistamine are available over-the-counter and tend to be effective at helping reduce allergy-related eye symptoms such as itchiness, watering, redness, puffiness and swelling. 

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Eye Drops for Swelling, Soreness or Discharge

Before you use an eye drop for soreness, you need to access the underlying cause. Eyes tend to become sore when they are dry, tired, strained or overworked. In the case of sore eyes, is best to see an eye doctor right away because it can be a serious infection. Lubricating eye drops may offer relief for eye irritation caused by visual stress (like crying), eye discharge related to allergies, swelling from inflammation and allergies. Note that yellow and greenish eye discharge can mean infection and should be treated with prescription antibiotic eye drops.  

Eye Drops for Infections

One of the most common types of eye infections is conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. Different types of conjunctivitis may require different types of eye drops :

  • Allergy Conjunctivitis – this type of conductivities is not contagious and over-the-counter lubricating and antihistamine eye drops can provide relief in most cases. 
  • Bacterial Conjunctivitis – tend to make your eyes very red and sore with a thick, sticky eye discharge. This type of eye infection is generally treated with prescription eye drops from a doctor.
  • Viral Conjunctivitis – this is a very contagious type of conjunctivitis. Some kinds of viral conjunctivitis can go away on their own, but more severe types can lead to watery, red and sore eyes with clear or whitish eye discharge. Over-the-counter lubricant eye drops can help your eyes feel better.
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How to Use Eye Drops

No matter what type of eye drop you get, you need to use it correctly. This will not only help the medication absorb into your eyes so it can do its work but can also help prevent bottle contamination, which could spread the infection. Here is how to use eye drops properly and easily. 

  1. Wash your hands well with soap and water. Dry them with a clean towel or paper towel. In case soap and water aren’t available, you can use hand sanitiser instead. 
  2. Read the label of the product because some eye drops recommend gently shake the bottle. 
  3. Remove the cap from the bottle and check the dropper tip to make sure it’s clean. If it’s dirty, don’t use it. Throw it away and get a new one. 
  4. Tilt your face slightly, looking up. Then, gently pull your lower lash rim away from the eyeball. Squeeze the bottle so that a drop falls into your eye along the rim. Close your eyes gently to spread the eye drops around. 
  5. Avoid touching your lashes with the dropper to prevent the spread of bacteria.