Eye drops are a liquid that is used for various eye conditions, such as red eye and after eye surgery. Eye drops usually contain saline as a basic ingredient. Depending on the intended use, eye drops can also contain artificial tear lubricants, or anti-redness substances, as well as medications. There are eye drops that can be purchased at stalls, there are some that are prescribed by doctors, and there are some that are only used by eye specialists.
When do eye drops be needed?
Eye drops are usually used for the following conditions:
1. Cataract surgery
Lens removal surgery and replacement with artificial lenses require eye drops. Before surgery, eye drops are used to prevent infection, make pupils bigger, and numb in the eye area. After surgery, eye drops can reduce the risk of infection and help cure.
2. Conjunctivitis (infectious eye disease)
Conjunctivitis is an infection or irritation of the conjunctiva (a thin and clear membrane on the inside of the eyelid that covers the whites of the eye). The cause is a bacterial or viral infection, environmental irritation, and allergies. In addition, conjunctivitis can also be caused by toxicity or allergic eye drops, or by eye drops that have been contaminated.
The symptoms that arise are itching, heat, redness, and swelling. Treatment of these conditions can be done by using antibiotic or anti-inflammatory eye drops, or by removing eye irritation.
3. Contact lens wetting and eye surface lubricant
If your eyes sometimes feel dry when wearing contact lenses, choose specific eye drops used for contact lenses, because other eye drops can change the color of your lens or temporarily change its position.
4. Corneal infections (keratitis)
The cause could be due to viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Bacterial or parasitic infections are the most severe complications of wearing contact lenses and it is more common in long-term contact lens users . In addition, inadequate lens cleanliness can also be the cause, such as not replacing and cleaning the lens as recommended, and swimming using contact lenses.
Mild infections can be treated with anti-bacterial eye drops. While more severe infections may require antibiotic eye drops, or by further treatment, including surgery. Remove contact lenses immediately if you suspect that your eye is infected, and don’t forget to seek treatment immediately.
5. Corneal transplant surgery
This is a surgery to replace a diseased or injured cornea with a healthy cornea, which is usually obtained from the eye bank. After surgery, eye drops are needed to aid healing and prevent rejection of donor tissue.
6. Dry eyes
Dry eyes are caused by low tear production and aging. If the quality of the outer and inner layers is poor, tears will not be able to lubricate the eyes for a long time. This can cause the eyes to feel “sandy” and itchy. Other symptoms include:
- Burning or stinging
- Pain and redness
- Sticky eye dirt
- Vision fluctuates
- Excessive tears (“reflex” tears cannot help relieve dry eyes because they are not in the eyes long enough)
Artificial tears (eye drops) can be used to lubricate dry eyes during the day. Other treatments may be used in more severe cases.
7. Allergy to the eye
Symptoms of this allergy include itching, watering, redness, pain, and burning. Many types of eye drops can help you relieve symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis . Eye drops that can be used are those that have artificial tears, which do not contain drugs, and which contain several drugs, such as antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers, decongestants, and prescribed corticosteroids.
If you have allergies to the eye and wear contact lenses, ask your eye doctor about eye drops that can help keep the lens clean when exposed to allergens.
8. Eye examination
During a complete eye examination, the eye doctor uses eye drops to:
- dilate pupils (to make a “bigger window” to look into the eyes)
- turn off eyes when testing for glaucoma
Glaucoma is an increase in eye fluid pressure , which if left untreated can cause serious optic nerve damage and vision loss. Eye drops can be used to reduce eye fluid pressure by reducing the production of eye fluid.
If you have galukoma, don’t use eye drops that contain vasoconstrictors (topical decongestants). This makes smaller blood vessels smaller and can exacerbate the pressure that has risen in your eyes.
10. Herpes simplex (viral) eye infections
Early symptoms of this infection include painful sores on the surface of the eyes (eyelids) and corneal inflammation. Rapid treatment using anti-viral eye drops can prevent more serious eye damage.
11. LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis)
LASIK can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Anesthetic eye drops are used before surgery to prevent pain. After surgery, eye drops are used to help cure and prevent infection.
12. Lubrication and protection
The main ingredients of eye drops on the market are usually hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (ophthalmic) or carboxymethylcellulose . Although artificial tears are considered very safe, but you are obliged to check yourself, if:
- You are allergic to all types of preservatives
- Have you had an unexpected or allergic reaction to hydroxypropyl methylcellulose or carboxymethylcellulose
How to use eye drops correctly
Sometimes when we use eye drops, we feel confused to do so, especially when using eye drops to ourselves. Therefore, here are some stages in the correct use of eye drops:
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Check the tip of the eye drops to make sure that it doesn’t peel or crack.
- Avoid touching the tip of the dropper on your eyes or anything (eye drops must be kept clean).
- As you tilt your head upward, pull the lower layers of your eyes to form a pocket.
- Hold the eye drops facing down, and keep the eye drops as close to the eye as possible without touching them.
- Squeeze the eye drops slowly, so that the liquid falls into the bag you made in the lower layers of the eye.
- Close your eyes for 2-3 minutes by bowing your head. Try not to blink and squeeze your eyelids.
- Put your finger on the tear vessels and apply gentle pressure.
- Wipe off excess fluid on your face using a tissue.
- If you use more than one drop in the same eye, wait for 5 minutes before adding the next drop.
- Put it back and tighten the lid on the eye drops. Do not wipe or rinse the tip of the pipette.
- Wash your hands to get rid of any medicine.