Eye drops are often used to get rid of dry winter eyes or soothe the itchiness that comes from a cold. But did you know that there are dozens of prescription eye drops formulated to treat a range of conditions and diseases? Read on to discover more about how these refreshing medications can help you recover from illnesses, cope with seasonal allergies, and even slow the progression of severe vision loss.
Many prescription eye drops are formulated to soothe allergies, which can cause dry, runny, or itchy eyes. If you regularly have dryness, itchiness, or redness in the eyes, then you might suffer from an allergic reaction to pollen, dander, or dust mites. This can make everyday activities difficult, and can even interfere with the comfort of your contact lenses.
Some types have antihistamines, which block the chemicals that respond to allergy triggers. Others have NSAIDs, which calm the nerve endings and reduce itchiness, while others affect the mast cells that release histamines. These types of eye drops can typically be applied multiple times a day, whenever symptoms of the allergy arise.
Painful inflammation of the eye can often occur as the result of serious ocular conditions or after an eye surgery. Prescription eye drops can help to calm the swelling and stop that dry, itchy feeling and maintain your eyes moisture and health.
If you have recently suffered from a serious eye infection, undergone an eye surgery after an injury, or required an intravitreal eye injection, your Optometrist may recommend these prescription eye drops. They attack the bacteria that causes infections, keeping your eyes safe and healthy as they heal.
A special class of prescription eye drops has also been developed to treat glaucoma, a condition that causes increased pressure within the eye and can often lead to significant loss of vision. These drops work by relieving the pressure inside the eye, and may potentially delay the effects of certain types of glaucoma.
Separate categories of prescription eye drops have been formulated to address two other common cause of vision loss: diabetic macular edema, which causes the macula of the eye to swell and deform, as well as age-related macular degeneration, during which blood vessels under the retina begin to leak blood or fluid and distort the vision. These eye drops help slow the progression of these debilitating conditions by inhibiting the growth of these abnormal blood vessels. Although they cannot restore sight that has already been lost, they may be able to halt or slow the progression of the disease.
Because they are used to buying over-the-counter eye drops and using them without restriction, some people think that prescription eye drops are not “real medicine.” However, prescription eye drops are formulated for specific types of use and may cause damage to your eyes if they are used incorrectly.
For this reason, it is crucial that you read the directions on your prescription label thoroughly, follow them carefully, and contact your Optometrist or pharmacist if you have any questions. Don’t try to change dosages or adjust your usage without clearing it with your Optometrist first. Prescription eye drops are medications, just like pills or other pharmaceuticals, and need to be used correctly in order to be safe and effective.
The staff at Dr. Barry Leonard’s office are always ready to answer any questions you may have about eye care and prescription eye drops. Call us at 818-891-6711 to schedule an appointment today!