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July 2nd, 2002

A Fun Fact About Eye Drops

This weekend I went to a local Pearle for my eye check. Like many people, I need glasses and contacts – my vision is horrendous without them – and I tend to prefer wearing contact lenses to glasses. But that’s another Ping.

While I was getting my eye exam, I mentioned to the doctor that I had been using eye drops now and then due to dry and red eyes. He then enlightened me and claimed that eye drops did nothing but constrain the blood vessels in one’s eye. Thus, the redness goes away, but it really doesn’t do anything beneficial for the eye.

What do you think? Truth or fiction? I know once I heard this, I was really quite surprised. There are tons of eye drops out there, and to think that a few (or most) of them might not be doing anything was rather surprising.

Posted in Just Plain Odd

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday July 2, 2002 -- 8:54:48 am
I've always been under the impression that you should not use eye drops with contacts at all. On those days when my allergies are really out of control I revert to my glasses and use some drops that my son's pediatric opthamologist recommended for him during allergy season. The stuff works - and it is OTC too. I can't remember the name of the stuff right now though. If you want it let me know and I'll go dig throughthe medicine cabinet to find it.

FROM: Tina
DATE: Tuesday July 2, 2002 -- 9:05:44 am
Are you talking about drops like Visine or contact rewetting drops? Maybe it's all about keeping the eye moist.

FROM: Paul [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday July 2, 2002 -- 9:10:57 am
Chris, nope, I didn't use them while my contacts were in. That'd be a no-no.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday July 2, 2002 -- 9:24:19 am
I had always heard that you didn't want to overuse eye drops because your eye would dry out/become dependent on them.

FROM: Tina
DATE: Tuesday July 2, 2002 -- 10:00:29 am
Maybe this eyedrops issue has a parallel to lip balm -- if you use either product too often, you run the risk of your body becoming addicted and not producing its own moisture. Is there a lip balm ping?

FROM: Jeani
DATE: Tuesday July 2, 2002 -- 11:00:16 am
While I understand your frustration that eye drops don't necessarily do much, I think the issue here is that they take care of the symptoms. Most OTC and, for that matter, a lot of prescription drugs, don't really cure anything. They just take care of the most important symptoms. In the case of red eyes, they make them less red. In the case of a cold, Nyquil makes you feel better. It doesn't cure the cold. Same with pain medication -- Advil doesn't cure a headache, it just makes you not feel it.

FROM: Paul [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday July 2, 2002 -- 11:38:43 am
That's true, Jeani, but what surprised me was that eye drops just had the potential to relieve redness. This doesn't take care of any real problems, especially if there is something slightly wrong with the eye; the eye drop ads I've seen claim much more.

FROM: Maria
DATE: Tuesday July 2, 2002 -- 1:28:11 pm
Here's another fun fact about eye drops for you: Makeup artists sometimes use it on a client's face before applying makeup because it removes skin's redness/blotchiness by shrinking blood vessels in the area the way it does with eyes.

FROM: Rob [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday July 2, 2002 -- 2:05:59 pm
I'd almost like to wear contacts, since I've never been able to find frames that are light enough that I really like. But I've learned from my experiences with eye drops that I really can't get used to having stuff put in my eye. When getting eye drops put in my eyes, I usually end up with the drops all over my eyelids instead. Maybe it'd be different if I was doing it myself, though.

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday July 2, 2002 -- 4:52:11 pm
Rob: Eye drops, just like putting in contacts, require a lot of practice. It didn't take me as long to get used to the procedure as it might most people because I never have a problem touching my eyes, but it was a chore nonetheless.

Paul: I'm going to have to blame you for planting a hypochronidriac seed in my mind when I read this Ping this morning. My left eye has been bothering me all day! (R.I.P. Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes)

FROM: Paul [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday July 2, 2002 -- 5:41:11 pm
That's good to hear, Robert, because I just bought a pack of hypochrondriac seeds for the garden.

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday July 2, 2002 -- 11:58:48 pm
I hear you like to spread you seed. :-P

FROM: wizardandlizard
DATE: Wednesday July 3, 2002 -- 1:47:50 am
I was like?!? - going... well if you've been thinking real hard - or under too much stress (not enough sleep) these are all functions that can make the eyes red...(drinking the day before - etc...) - I wear glasses - and sometimes when my eyes are itchy and red from being on the pc too tends to sooth my eyes...I feel I can see better once the redness is gone...(if it is that I choose to do) - sometimes I wear really light shaded sunglasses...that seems to help when reading on the pc in the dark can throw all kinds of scenarios in there...your eyes can get red from driving all nite - while trying to travel as far as you can between states in a car...eye drops would be a great thing...along with a tall cup of coffee or crapachino...(no I didn't spell it wrong...) - if you drink may tend to confuse you more because you've been up so long and you're just driving...all nite...straight're trying to make time...that's what I would do...

well there's various uses - but mostly I feel I use visine when I feel my eyes are overtired - and if I have a "burnt out" feeling where I may have missed some sleep...a nice shower...and right after that some visine in the eyes...may make you feel a lot better...I think it helps me see better after appying but I only do if I feel it's needed

DATE: Wednesday July 3, 2002 -- 2:52:24 pm
ben·e·fi·cial Pronunciation Key (bn-fshl)
Producing or promoting a favorable result; advantageous.

To say that the eyedrops do nothing but constrict blood vessels is not to say that the eyedrops don't do anything at all. Applying eyedrops to red and itching eyes reduces or eliminates symptoms; thus they do something. While not attacking the cause of the symptoms the eyedrops nonetheless provide relief. To most people, relief from itching, burning, or dry eyes is a favorable result and thus is beneficial.
"Aha! But the beneficial effect is to you, and not the eye," the doctor would say. In fact, using eyedrops promotes damage to the eye by allowing symptoms of eyestrain to be ignored, especially if the use of the eyedrops is to allow one to repeatedly over long periods of time eek out more hours in front of the monitor.
"Very true!" you counter, "but in the case of itching, like with allergies, in which eyestrain is not the problem, just irritation, the alternative to using the eyedrops may be to rub the eyes which," you add, "you should know, as other eye practicioners do, can be very damaging to the cornea--and thus not beneficial for the eye. Thus, using eyedrops is beneficial for the eye."
"Yes. But now you are talking about direct versus indirect benefit."
"Preventing damage to the eye is directly beneficial for the eye isn't it?" you slide in slyly.
"Of course," the doctor says stumped, forgetting what he meant by benefit.

To benefit is to cure. If the doctor means that to have a beneficial effect a substance must have a curative effect, then the doctor attempts to synonomize benefit and cure. But even under this definition, the doctor must agree that corrective lenses similarly provide nothing beneficial for the eye: glasses and contacts don't cure poor vision, they merely address the symptoms of conventional eye disease. Would you say that this means that corrective lenses don't do anything at all or would you suddenly doubt their efficacy? I doubt it.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Tuesday July 9, 2002 -- 12:22:01 am
I thought the only reason eye-drop companies were still in business was because of Pot-heads.

DATE: Tuesday July 9, 2002 -- 3:58:43 pm
You know, I was going to say that the only people I knew who actually used eyedrops were dopers. People seeking allergy relief were always disappointed.

FROM: veronica
DATE: Saturday September 28, 2002 -- 4:32:44 pm
I have some contact lences but everytime I put them my eyes turn red i was wondering can I put eyedrops in my eyes while am wearing the contacts

FROM: teeinep
DATE: Wednesday October 2, 2002 -- 1:07:57 pm
Veronica - some contacts are somewhat "gas permeable" which means they allow some oxygen to penetrate and contact the eye. But if your eye still doesn't get enough oxygen, the blood vessels in your eye will swell. The swelling brings more blood to your eye, and more oxygen as well.

As far as using eyedrops, I've never used Visine while wearing contacts - I don't think you're supposed to. But I think Visine now has a new product for contact users.

I have tried using rewetting solution while wearing contacts but in my opinion, they offer only temporary relief for dryness and after 10 or 15 minutes, my contacts are even drier than before applying the drops.

For awhile, I wore contacts and used reading glasses at the same time. They have bifocal contacts, but they aren't recommended for computer users, unless you like tilting your head back and looking down your nose. I was fortunate - after having Lasik, I was able to leave the contacts, the reading glasses, and the rewetting solutions behind. Unfortunately, the Lasik procedure involves a corneal slice, which cuts off the amount of natural tears your eye receives. So I have dry eyes in the morning and must use eyedrops to see normally. But they say the natural tears will eventually return to normal.

Another side effect of Lasik? I actually had double vision in one eye for a few hours. Freaked me out. I'd cover my left eye, and saw a double image with my right eye. Fortunately, that went away.

FROM: Frank
DATE: Saturday November 2, 2002 -- 3:36:09 am
do the eye drops like "eyemo" could cause of eye bags or dark area around the eyes?

DATE: Sunday November 3, 2002 -- 12:04:26 am
for all you Visine users out there.... its not worth it. I've currently been using Visine literally everyday for the past 6 years (I mean everyday - like one drop in each eye in the moringing) and now my eyes are always constantly red. I have red eye morning, afternoon, and evening, and let me tell you.... it sucks! Yes when I use the Visine it gets the red out, but all its doing is constricting the blood vessels temporarily, and later on your eyes get so dependant on it, that if you quit using it, well you get the picture. For all you Visine users out there, try not to use any, if at all. I'm outz...

FROM: Robert
DATE: Sunday January 19, 2003 -- 6:11:28 pm
Has anybody felt drowsy after using rewetting eye drops?

Do you recomment a brand for RGP contacts. Other that Boston rewetting drops.

DATE: Thursday July 3, 2003 -- 8:52:56 am
I wear then and they fucking sucks

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday July 3, 2003 -- 11:24:31 am
I wear then and they fucking sucks

Sorry. I had to quote that because it may be the best sentence ever written. It deserves to be seen again.

I wear then and they fucking sucks

FROM: connie
DATE: Sunday July 24, 2005 -- 2:41:21 pm
I need to know if you use dry eye medication on a good eye could it cause damage I used Refresh for dry eye

FROM: Paul
DATE: Sunday July 24, 2005 -- 4:06:43 pm
Maybe you should try Google, then.

FROM: Kaylen
DATE: Thursday October 13, 2005 -- 2:03:08 am
Dan, I have the same problem as you. Have you talked to anyone that has helped you with the problem? I don't know what to do eyes are constantly red.

FROM: Steve
DATE: Tuesday February 14, 2006 -- 7:52:17 pm
Kaylen, Dan, I'm in the same boat. I've gone through every iteration of Visine and now find the only ones that work are the Workplace drops. After so many years of use my eyes are hypersensative to everything, especially flourescent lights, and I avoid social activities due to the redness. It sucks.

I have read elsewhere that you must quit the drops and allow your eyes to repair themselves - this can take a long time.

Comments? Questions? Help!

FROM: Caryl Cabrera
DATE: Thursday March 23, 2006 -- 6:35:57 pm
My eyes are dependent on Visine as well...well, Clear Eyes....but how long does it take for your eye to "heal" when you try to stop using it...which by the way is HELL!! How pathetic does that sound?!?: "I'm addicted to eye drops!!"

FROM: Kaylen
DATE: Thursday June 22, 2006 -- 11:25:20 pm
Steve, Carl. The reason I got addicted to these in the first place is b/c an eye doctor told me it was safe to use everyday. I went to an ophthamologist (in October when I first posted) and he put me on mild steriods for one week to get me off of the OTC eye drops. I went home sad b/c he said my eyes may never recover. But I used to steriods and threw out off the OTC eye drops. I am no longer addicted to them. There has not been much improvement in the redness in my eyes (as of today). I know how you feel, it's embarrassing to go outside. But please try to get off of them. It may save your eye-sight in the long run.

wayne February 8, 2007, 8:02 am

hey kaylen, steve, carl. lol same problem here, been using those fucking Visine eyedrops for too long, because the eye doctor said it was safe. I was on steroid eye drops too, which helped a little but not much, my eyes are always red too. but especially when i wake up in the morning.
im not sure if there is a cure for this problem.
im still using the get-the-red out eye drops now because ive got a pretty social life and i dont wanna feel selfconscious about it.
have any of u found a way to treat this ?

brenda April 24, 2007, 8:40 pm

i probably get veiny red eyes one week a month and i use the clear eye drops twice a day. would that be considered dependent? and if so, how would i get off them.
because i don’t want to be using eye drops for years.

my eyes are also more red in the morning.

hadtostopandberate May 23, 2007, 2:21 pm

I know this is an old ass post, but I had to say something. You are a moron. Constricting the blood vessels *is* doing *something*!! The product claims to lubricate the eye and “Get the red out”. Which is exactly what it does! No fucking conspiracy, douchbag.

Katt July 17, 2007, 11:52 pm

I also use eye drops every day as my eyes get so red I want to stop using them also so if anyone has any helpful tips that would be great!…

melissa September 7, 2007, 1:20 am

Thank you for that informashon sory if I spell someting wrong im 12

Ed September 27, 2007, 1:00 am

1)Any ongoing/semi-regular eye redness needs to seen by a doctor asap. It is usually something minor but many times is a symptom of something serious.

2) Eye drops are ok for short periods of time but significantly increase pressure in the eye which can actually make the veins in the eye get bigger, requiring more eye drops to shrink the veins again but which in time will make the veins even bigger again…… and other bad stuff too!

3) Keep your eye drops cool and DO NOT touch the eye, eye lash etc with the tip. Not doing so means a good chance of bacterial conjunctivitis. NOT FUN.

4) DO NOT use your eye drops prior to going to the doctor! This will mask your problem and make diagnosis harder.

5)If you are currently over using eye drops to control your red eyes and find the drops barely or no longer control your red eyes…STOP immediately and set up an appointment with an ophthalmologist. Hopefully, your biggest problem is the over use.
If you are not so lucky (like me)you may be facing some serious medical.

GO TO THE DOCTOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

chris October 11, 2007, 7:26 pm

I have been looking for information on this for a long time, as I to am a long time user of visine, and boy does it suck, its very imbarssing to go out in public, work or other events, and you are the worried about your appearance. what can be done once you stop using the drops,because when I wake up in the morning its unbearable,to even look in the mirror…

Help Please

Katy October 24, 2007, 10:41 am

I feel the same way as you chris! Its like an addiction you have ot kick! Can we do it without going to the doctor-eg cold turkey etc? Please let me kno!

Jay November 6, 2007, 4:45 pm

I found this website, I hope that it can be of some use. GOOD LUCK:)

me November 8, 2007, 11:42 pm

eyedrops that “get the red out” indeed do only constrict the blood vessels, and thus eliminate the redness. There is nothing medically beneficial about that, so in that sense they don’t “do anything.” However, other eyedrops, such as Liquigel or various artificial tears brands such as Refresh Tears do provide lubrication, such as by carboxymethylcellulose which is only a lubricant and does not constrict blood vessels. These eyedrops then do NOT “get the red out” but do the medically useful function of lubricating and moisturizing your eye if you have a dry eye condition. These will also remove the source of dry-eye pain, and thus indirectly relieve some eye pain if it is caused by dry eyes. Finally there are prescription eyedrops, such as Voltaren, that are painkillers for eye pain, similar to Ibuprofen for the eye, that medically “do something” to help relieve pain.

Diane February 10, 2008, 5:01 pm

Someone just told me that they use Visine to relieve toothache pain? Does anyone know anything about this? Help!

joe March 25, 2008, 3:22 pm

My surgeon (I had PRK done) told me that those Omega-3 supplements help quite a bit. I checked out that natural home remedies site and it looks fairly bunk.

I thought I’d comment that my eye doctors encourage me to use drops 4 to 6 times per day post surgery for a year afterwards. I feel like my eyes get drier after each set of drops. Even the gel variants make them feel worse.

After reading this thread it seems as though I’m better off not using drops at all. I can’t find any evidence on the internet to corroborate these findings at all. Only ads for various drops.

To use eye drops or not? I think not is the safer way.

tim carroll May 6, 2008, 10:32 pm

Sometime using OTC is the only way – I have dry eyes and use every medicine and treatment known – still some days my eyes are so bad – Clear eyes is the only cure.

C Rose December 19, 2009, 1:48 am

I’ve used opcon a which is an allergy and redness reducer eye drop for the past 15 years. I started using them everyday only once or twice a day up to 5-6 times a day over the past two years. I have had so much inflammation over the past two years and have ended up in the emergency room about five times. My eyes were extremely red and swollen. I was put on IV’s with steroids and sent home on oral steroids for a week each time. Recently I was told that I have become addicted to the drops and may have developed an allergy to the preservatives in them. I was told to wean off them and that it could take a long time. It has been exactly a week as of today and I’m about 90-95% better. I have been using preservative free systane lube drops during the day and genteal severe dry eye ointment at night and sometimes during the day. I feel much better and can finally see the whites of my eyes again. If you use redness reducing eye drops, STOP and if you are thinking about it, DON’T…………….. My eyes look better than they have in years and this rough week of withdrawals has been totally worth it. THERE’S HOPE!

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