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Vision Information - Eyedrops and Side Effects

Vision Information - Eyedrops and Side Effects

Always bear in mind that all medicines can cause side effects. Some side effects caused by eyedrops are local and affect only the eyes. Examples of these would be redness of the eye, blurred vision or eye irritation.

In some cases eyedrops become so vital to your vision that it becomes necessary to tolerate some of the side effects to treat the condition.

Most eyedrop medication stays in or around the eye, with only a small portion affecting the rest of the body. But once in your bloodstream, side effects can occur. These may include dizziness or headache.


It is important to remember to tell your optometrist about any allergies you have, in case you are allergic to a prescribed medication. Any medicine can cause an allergic reaction.

The Effect of Eyedrops in an Examination

Your optometrist may use eyedrops to dilate the pupil to perform a clearer examination of the inside of the eye. Driving home may be difficult after this procedure and you should consult with your optometrist whether you may need a driver or not.

On occasion, the doctor may use anesthetic drops, which numb the eyes in a few seconds. Such eyedrops must be used only under a doctor's supervision. If they are used at home, you can harm the surface of the eye causing an infection or serious scarring of the cornea.

Non-prescription Eyedrops

Varieties of eyedrops are available without prescription, but please note that these may still contain medications. Follow the package instructions carefully and contact your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately should you note an allergic reaction.

A type of eyedrop known as artificial tears can soothe irritated or dry eyes and can be used as needed. Non-preservative eyedrops are available also.

Decongestant eyedrops contain medication that whitens the eyes by shrinking or constricting blood vessels. These drops will not improve eye health although they do make the eye appear less red.

Prescription Eyedrops

Steroid (corticosteroids) eyedrops are powerful and should be used only under a doctor's supervision. It is dangerous to use them for an eye problem without telling your doctor.

Corticosteroids lessen the ability of the eye to fight infection and repair injury. Extended use can cause glaucoma or cataracts and subsequent loss of vision.

But despite these dangers, steroids are important in treating certain conditions. The generic names of common corticosteroids are:

  • Dexamethasone
  • Fluoromethalone
  • Rimexolone
  • Prednisolone
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Medrysone

Eyedrops to Treat Infection

No one medicine is effective against all types of infection. Some infections cannot be treated just with any eyedrop.

Once you have been treated for an eye infection, improvement should occur within several days. If the condition worsens while using the eyedrops, call your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately.

The Wise use of Medication

To avoid unnecessary complications and problems, be aware of the following important information:

  • Note the name of the medicine. Medicines have generic and brand names. The generic name should be in fine print on the label.
  • Call your optometrist or ophthalmologist if you don't know how to use the medicine or if you have questions.
  • Make a careful note of how often the medicine must be taken.
  • If eyedrops cause discomfort during use, contact your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately.

Your eye care practitioner may prescribe different medication or suggest alternative treatment.

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