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Can I Use Eyedrops Every Day?

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A woman puts eyedrops into her left eye.

Can I Use Eyedrops Every Day?

When you experience irritation, redness, watery, and dry eyes, the first thing you may reach for is eye drops. But taking any eyedrops every day can put your eye health at risk. 

Not sure which eyedrops to take? It’s always best to consult your eye doctor. They can advise you by checking the health of your eyes with a routine comprehensive eye exam and determining the best course of treatment. If the recommended treatment is eyedrops, can you use them every day? 

We answer this question by discussing how eyedrops work, the different types, and why some are safe for everyday use and others are not. 

The Purpose of Eyedrops

Eyedrops help your eyes feel better by moistening them throughout the day and relieving symptoms such as dryness and irritation. You can find over-the-counter and prescription eyedrops.

There are many different brands of eyedrops, many of which use the following ingredients:

  • All artificial eyedrops have lubricants to keep your eyes moist
  • Electrolytes (sodium and potassium) that can help heal the surface of your eye
  • Oily drops have guar gum for dry eyes when tears evaporate too quickly
  • Preservatives to prevent bacterial growth in the bottle

Eyedrops mainly treat eye issues, including allergies and dry eye disease. The 3 main types of eyedrops are:

  1. Artificial Tears

Artificial tears mimic your natural tears by adding the same elements to the tear film to protect the eye’s surface and provide lubrication. Causes of dry, irritated, scratchy, and burning eyes can include the following:

  • Environmental factors: Wind, sun, smoke, heating or air conditioning
  • Eye strain from computer use
  • Reading
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Certain medications

Drops generally help with mild to moderate cases of dry eye. An ointment or eye gel may work better for moderate to severe dry eyes. Gels are thicker, remain in the eye for longer, and can temporarily blur your vision. They are also not used as often as eyedrops. 

Artificial tears come in 2 types: Preservative and preservative-free. The type of artificial tear drops determines the frequency of usage. 

Artificial Tears with Preservatives

The preservatives in artificial tears have chemicals that prevent bacterial growth and increase their shelf-life. If you have sensitive eyes and use these drops more than 4 times daily, they can worsen eye irritation and dry eye symptoms. It’s best to switch to preservative-free drops

Preservative-Free Artificial Tears

You can use these as often as needed since they are preservative-free. Preservative-free artificial tears don’t last long on the shelf and expire faster but usually come in single-use vials. You throw the vials away after applying one dose of drops. 

  1. Allergy Drops

Allergy eyedrops are for red, itchy, and watery eyes due to allergens, such as animal fur, dander, pollen, or mould. These symptoms result from the release of histamine by the body.

Allergy drops contain the drug antihistamine, which blocks histamine. These are not meant as a long-term solution to relieve symptoms. It’s best to follow the instructions on the package or speak to your eye doctor about other treatment options such as oral antihistamines or natural remedies. 

  1. Anti-Redness Drops

Redness in the eyes can result from many things like dry eye disease, allergies, and irritation. With irritation, the blood vessels dilate, and anti-red drops constrict the blood vessels to clear the redness. 

A woman adds eyedrops from a single use vial to her right eye.

Recommended Eyedrops for Dry Eye Relief

At Aurora Eye Care, we carry several eyedrop products for dry eye relief. You can buy eyedrops from our online store and they will ship directly to our door.

Theoluz Duo Eye Drops

These drops are the recommended solution for dry eye relief. Theoluz Duo contains two dry eye therapies, and are preservative free. The drops contain trehalose, a natural substance present in many plants and animals that survive in extremely dry conditions which helps protect the eye from dryness; as well as hyaluronic acid, a gentle solution that lubricates with long-lasting relief from dry eye symptoms. These drops hydrate and regenerate the eye’s surface, increasing tear film thickness while reducing dry eye symptoms and damage to the eye itself. These drops can be used with contact lenses.

Buy Theoluz Duo eye drops

I-Drop Pur Eye Drops

I-DROP® is a premium, viscoadaptive, preservative-free artificial tear that is highly effective at hydrating and lubricating the cornea.  I-DROP® is formulated with a top- quality hyaluronic acid component that contains a glycerin lubricant, which promotes excellent coating and recoating of the surface of the eye with every blink. 

I-DROP® offers a higher hydration capability, resulting in superior, longer-lasting comfort and relief for the patient.  The bottle’s sophisticated one-way valve dispenses 1 sterile dosed drop at a time and can be used for up to 12 months after opening.

These drops come in two formats, the I-Drop Pur and I-Drop Pur Gel, which is a thicker drop that stays in the eye a little better. I-Drop Pur eye drops can be used with contact lenses. I-Drop Pur Gel drops are not contact lens compatible.

Buy I-Drop Pur eye drops
Buy-Drop Pur Gel eye drops

Risks of Overusing Eyedrops

Eyedrops are a temporary solution to the uncomfortable symptoms experienced in the eyes from various causes. They are helpful, but there are also risks

If used too often can sometimes worsen pre-existing conditions such as dry eyes. Caused by a lack of tear production or poor quality tears, the condition can gradually worsen to chronic dry eyes even when using drops. 

For redness, if you use the drops too often or every day, the redness worsens, called the rebound effect. As the blood vessels constrict, blood flow with oxygen and nutrients slows down. In response to this, the blood vessels enlarge to increase flow, thus causing more redness and irritation. 

The oil in your tear film helps tears stick to the eye’s surface to keep them moist. Overuse of eyedrops can affect your tear film and wash away your natural tears leading to quicker evaporation and worsening dry eye symptoms. 

General symptoms that warrant the use of eyedrops could indicate an underlying condition. Masking the problem with the overuse of eyedrops prolongs these conditions leading to more eye damage if not diagnosed and treated. 

Manage Your Symptoms with Help from Aurora Eye Care

Always use eyedrops as directed by the label or your eye doctor. The overuse of eyedrops or using more than one type of eyedrop at a time can pose risks. 

If eyedrops don’t provide adequate relief for your symptoms, then it may be time to book an appointment with Aurora Eye Care. Our dry eye clinic can determine what’s causing your symptoms and provide comprehensive dry eye relief. 

Written by Dr. Kyla Hunter

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