Redness relieving eye drops: The good, the bad and the ugly

Gemma Gough

Published on July 17, 2021, 12:10 pm

Redness relieving eye drops: The good, the bad and the ugly

Imagine you show up at work with red eyes and your colleagues start to ask you a series of questions: Did you sleep at all last night? Are you sick or upset?

And now people think that you are hungover which is nothing but a rumour probably spread by Jenny from marketing who never really liked you.

So you took the redness relieving eye drops that your friend at work gave you and you used them without even reading the label.

While it gave you temporary relief, your eyes got back to being red so you used the drop again to save yourself from embarrassment. And now you’ve made it a habit. Whenever your eyes look red, you just use the eye drop.

However, what you think to be a blessing could be catastrophic for your eyes. How? I’ll tell you that later. But first, let’s find out what caused your red eyes in the first place?

What Causes Red Eyes?

You don’t have to be a party animal to have red bloodshot eyes. These could be the reasons that make your eyes go red:

  • Seasonal allergies can make your eyes feel itchy and red. If it’s the pollen season and you feel sneezy, then your red eyes are most probably the result of an allergy.
  • Broken blood vessels in the eyes leave a red bruise behind. This could happen right after you wake up or you have a strong sneeze or cough.
  • A dry eye problem could also lead to this situation. When you make your eyes overwork, they won’t just get tired but also dry, itchy and red.
  • Red eyes are often a symptom of infections such as conjunctivitis.
  • When something gets in your eyes, they will feel irritated and become red from all that eye rubbing.
  • Inflammation of the eyes.
  • Spending too much screen time makes your eyes feel tired and causes eye redness. Wear blue light filter glasses to prevent eye strain.

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What are Redness Relieving Eye Drops?

These are not normal eye drops that lubricate your eyes. These eye drops for redness and itching bleach your eye’s surface and make it appear whiter.

The solution contains Naphazoline which reduces vascular congestion. By narrowing down the swollen blood vessels in the eye, it makes your eyes appear white. However, it is only meant to provide temporary relief from redness, puffiness, itching and watering in the eyes.

Is it Safe to Use Redness Relieving Eye Drops?

I would say both Yes and No. I am not trying to be diplomatic. But, these eye drops can help only when used in moderation.

There are so many redness relief eye drops in the market and we reach out for them without consulting an eye doctor first. We use them as normal eye drops but they work a little differently.

When your eyes are infected or irritated, the tiny blood vessels become large to fight off the infection or foreign body attack. This could cause visible redness on the surface.

Redness relieving eye drops have an active ingredient called sympathomimetics that works by clamping down the swollen blood vessels in the eye surface. Using these eye drops often could affect your body’s natural process to repair the problem.

One of the side effects of eye drops for redness is that after the effect ends, the blood vessels may enlarge to a higher extent as they did before using the drops. Hence your eyes will become red again and you will have to apply the drops again.

Redness Relief Eye Drops Side Effects

If you read the label of these medicines carefully, even they will warn you against the frequent and regular use of these drops. But if you keep shoving these drops into your eyes, these are the side effects of eye drops for redness you may have to deal with:

  • Blurry Vision
  • Gritty Sensation
  • Watery Eyes
  • Mild Headaches
  • Dizziness

However, in severe cases, you may feel:

  • Eye pain
  • Eye redness worse than before
  • Chest pain
  • Uneven heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Breathlessness

These are not all the things that might happen to you. Symptoms may vary based on your physical health and the amount of these eye drops you use.

However, if the redness persists, consult an eye doctor. You may get a free eye test in UK at our stores in Bury and Walkden. Our optical staff will rule out the cause and assess any damage incurred to your eyes by these drops.

Before You Take these Eye Drops

You must not take this medicine if you are allergic to it or you have narrow-angle glaucoma. But, if you have any of the following medical conditions, you must seek approval from your doctor before you put these drops into your eyes:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Thyroid
  • Diabetes
  • Eye injury or infection

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, ask your doctor if the use of this medicine will harm the unborn baby.

Should You Use Redness Relieving Eye Drops with Contact Lenses?

Using redness relieving eye drops with contact lenses can cause tiny deposits to form on the soft contacts. This will give rise to a problem known as rebound redness. The eye drops will stop being effective causing the blood vessels to dilate even further and your eyes will appear bloodshot.

Did you know that using contact lenses leads to dry eyes in the long run? Not only this, there are many side effects of wearing contact lenses that you probably don’t even know.

Whether you use contacts for vision correction or to look good, make sure you take timely breaks from them.

You can use prescription and non-prescription glasses to correct your vision and make a fashion statement. Have an eye test and get your glasses prescription so you can take a break from wearing contacts. And who knows, maybe you’ll never go back to them.

Before we go

I am not suggesting that you should never use redness relieving eye drops. All I’m saying is that anything done in moderation is good.

If you use them appropriately for short periods of time, go for it. But, don’t make it a habit though. Make sure you don’t do anything that makes your eyes feel irritated. And if something happens, seek advice from your eye doctor on the use of these drops.

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