How do I choose the best over-the-counter eye drops?

Dry eyes need a different solution than red eyes.

Choosing the right over-the-counter eye drops usually depends on the type of eye problem you have. Some eye drops are specifically designed to treat dry eyes, while others are designed to treat red or itchy eyes. For most eye infections, however, over-the-counter eye drops may not be enough. For these types of conditions, your doctor may prescribe eye drops.

When using eye drops, make sure the tip never comes into contact with the eye.

Dry eyes are a common problem. This condition is usually temporary and can be caused by a number of things, such as lack of sleep or looking at small print for an extended period of time. Lubricating eye drops are considered the best type of over-the-counter eye drops for dry eye sufferers. They contain artificial tears, which are similar to natural tears that keep your eyes moist. While they can provide temporary relief for dry eye, eye drops designed for red eyes should be avoided as they can make the problem worse.

Bacterial conjunctivitis cannot be treated with over-the-counter eye drops.

Decongestant eye drops are a type of eye drops formulated to clear red eyes. These over-the-counter eye drops contain an ingredient that narrows the blood vessels on the surface of the eye, making them less apparent. Prolonged use of these types of eye drops is usually not recommended, as the eye can become dependent on them. This can make the person need to constantly use the drops to get rid of red eyes.

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Over-the-counter eye drops with antihistamines can help treat itchy eyes caused by seasonal allergies.

Allergies during spring and fall are quite common, and many people suffer from itchy eyes during this time. If you suffer from itchy eyes due to seasonal allergies, you may benefit from antihistamine eye drops. These types of over-the-counter eye drops work by blocking the release of certain chemicals in the body that cause allergic itching.

Conjunctivitis occurs when the mucous membrane covering the eyeball becomes inflamed. Symptoms of this condition can include redness, itching, burning and swelling of the eyes, along with discharge. Bacterial conjunctivitis usually does not benefit from over-the-counter eye drops and may require prescription eye drops.

When purchasing over-the-counter eye drops, it is helpful to compare possible side effects.

When using any type of eye drops, always make sure that the tip of the dropper never comes into contact with the eye. This can contaminate the dropper and reinfect you or others with bacterial or viral eye disease. To use over-the-counter eye drops, tilt your head back and pull your lower eyelid down. Put one or two drops in the eye and blink a few times to distribute them.

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