Our precious eyes can be prone to a variety of conditions that lead to dryness, irritation, redness and more for which common causes can be extremes of weather such as wind or sun, heating, air conditioning, artificial lighting, using computers or reading. Even certain medications can lead to eye problems.
So how should we treat our eyes?
There are many over-the-counter or prescription eye drops but are pharmaceutical products the best solution?
Eye drops are frequently used for allergies and include:
- Anti-inflammatory which fall into two groups - nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroid
- Multiple action and...
- Mast cell stabilizers. These are one of the newest type, targeting events in the body that lead to allergy symptoms. They do not provide immediate relief but are used to prevent eye allergy symptoms in people with known allergies, including seasonal allergic conjunctivitis.
If you are using eye drops, remember
- Not to use a solution that has changed color or is cloudy. While certain brands may have a milky appearance, this is not a problem as long as the solution does not change color.
- To follow all directions on the product package.
- Not to use for longer than 3 days without checking with your doctor.
Are there side effects?
Of course all medicine comes with some risk and it is known that long-term use of certain eye drops can actually make your eye symptoms worse. Never use them if you have an eye infection or glaucoma. Nasal sprays
are another example of OTC medications that come with the risk of side effects.
- Many eye drops cannot be used while wearing contact lenses. Antihistamine eye drops increase the risk of eye inflammation when you're wearing contact lenses.
- Side effects of these medications can include red eyes, watery eyes, mild stinging or burning and headache but you could find that storing the eye drops in the refrigerator will help reduce some of the discomfort.
- Be aware that corticosteroid eye drops may cause blurred vision while prolonged use may increase your risk of eye infections, glaucoma and cataracts.
- While decongestant eye drops (or combined decongestant-antihistamine eye drops) can temporarily ease symptoms such as red, itchy eyes, they can actually lead to persistent eye redness and damage to blood vessels in the eye if overused. For example, Visine Original is an eye drop formula that eliminates eye redness by shrinking blood vessels. However, overuse of the active ingredient tetrahydrozoline can perpetuate the vessel dilating-and-constricting cycle and may cause even more redness.
Consider turning to more natural remedies for your eyes.
Here are our top tips that come minus any side effects
1. One of the simplest is a home made eye salt rinse. Natural and safe for infected or irritated eyes, use natural salt and distilled or pure filtered water. Boil 1 cup of water with a teaspoon of salt and let the liquid cool completely. Use an eye cup or dropper to rinse the eye with the cooled solution a few times a day.
2. Applying cold compresses around the affected eye area can help you to get instant relief. The simplest way is to soak a cloth in ice cold water before placing over your eyes. Do this several times a day.
3. Cucumbers have anti-irritation properties that reduce the itchy eyes symptoms. Cut your cucumber into thin slices, refrigerate for about 20 minutes and place a slice on each eye for at least 10 minutes, repeating several times a day.
4. An eye wash of green tea will soothe the eyes with its anti-inflammatory benefits. Boil 2 green tea bags in a pot with a cup of distilled water. Cool and rinse the eyes.
5. Your diet can play a part too. Vitamins A, C and E plus minerals copper and zinc are essential to eyesight while antioxidants protect your macula from sun damage. Foods rich in sulfur, cysteine and lecithin help protect the lens of your eye from cataract formation. Free range eggs are just such a food. Include omega-3 fat to provide extra structural support for those cell membranes that boost eye health.
6. Add juice from raw vegetables
(especially carrots and spinach) as a beverage to treat itchy eyes. Drink twice a day until relief is effected.
7. Avoid or limit environmental toxins such as fluorescent lights, computer screens, environmental allergens and chlorine in swimming pools.
And finally, remember
Good eye health means getting enough good quality sleep.
This will give your eyes the three Rs – rest, repair and recovery.