We all have days when we feel exhausted and it’s evident by our red eyes. Whether you’ve overworked your eyes in the office or you are simply hungover from last night, red eyes don’t look good. They give room for rumours and suspicious looks from people.
And to save ourselves from embarrassment, we use eye drops that ward off the redness and make the eyes look clear and white as they should.
But, if you think that redness relieving eye drops are a blessing, think again. You may not know everything about this medicine.
What are redness relieving eye drops?
These are not the regular type of eye drops that lubricate your eyes. They aim to reduce redness in your eyes and act as a bleach for your eye’s surface.
These drops contain an active ingredient Naphazoline that narrows down the swollen retinal vessels. By reducing the size of these vessels, also reduces the apparent redness and makes your eyes look white.
However, it only works for a short while. Even when you use these drops, the redness will come back after few hours and you’ll need to apply the drops again.
What causes eye redness?
Performing visually taxing tasks makes your eyes feel tired in no time. And when they feel exhausted, it may even reflect in their appearance. Here are the various reasons that could make your eyes look as if they were bloodshot:
- Seasonal allergies trigger itchy and red eyes.
- Sneezing or coughing too hard can break the delicate blood vessels in the eye. When this happens, your eyes will appear red.
- This situation is also quite common in people with dry eyes. As they don’t have enough natural lubrication, almost anything will irritate their surface and leave them red.
- Sending too long on digital devices can make your eyes feel hurt from all that blue light exposure. Eye redness is one of the symptoms of digital eye strain. Using blue blockers or gaming glasses can help you avoid this problem.
- Eye infections such as pink eye could also make your eyes look terribly red.
- When a foreign object gets in your eyes and you try to rub it off, the eyes may turn red.
- Inflammation of the eyes.
Are redness relieving eye drops safe to use?
They are and they are not as well. Using them in moderation will give you results without triggering the possible side effects.
However, if you’ve made it your habit to reach for these drops every other day, then you’re not doing good to your eyes.
Consult an eye doctor to access the use and safety of these drops for your eyes. Even the label on these medicines warns the consumer that if used excessively, it may lead to side effects.
When your eyes feel threatened by a foreign body, the blood vessels grow in size to fight off the threat. This is what causes redness on your ocular surface.
Redness relieving eye drops contain sympathomimetics which works by reducing the size of these vessels and may affect your eye’s ability to repair the problem.
The most common side effect of these drops is that after the effect is over, the blood vessels may become even larger in size than they were before. So, your eyes will turn red again and you’ll have to use the drops one more time.
Who can’t use these eye drops?
People with narrow-angle glaucoma should stay away from this medicine. However, people with any of the following medical conditions should also keep their distance from these drops:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Eye infection or injury
Using this medicine with contact lenses isn’t safe for your eyes either. These drops can form tiny deposits on the soft surface of the lenses. Thus, the drops will become ineffective and the redness may increase after several applications.
Whether you wear contacts for vision or fashion, you can replace them with a pair of prescription or fake glasses. They are a much more comfortable and convenient alternative to contacts.
Side effects of redness relieving eye drops
Frequent use of these drops may lead to several side effects that may or may not increase visual disturbance. If you keep using these drops on a regular basis, you may have to deal with the following symptoms:
- Burning sensation in eyes
- Excessive watering of eyes
- Blurry vision
- Mild headaches
These are some mild side effects that might even go away on their own as soon as you stop using these drops. However, in severe scenarios, one may come across these serious side effects:
- Eye pain
- Excessive eye redness
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
The intensity of these symptoms depends on your physical health. If you experience any unusual or vision-threatening symptoms from using these eye drops, consult your eye doctor and seek the right treatment.
Home remedies to relieve red eyes
You don’t have to use these artificial drops to get rid of red eyes. Here are some tips that’ll get the job done without showing any side effects.
- Place a cool compress or washcloth over the eyes. It will reduce inflammation if that’s what has caused your red eyes.
- Avoid using eye makeup. If you have to, use only hypoallergenic eye makeup.
- Avoid going to dusty or windy places.
- Don’t use contact lenses, use glasses instead. If you have a refraction error, you can get same-day glasses with your eye prescription from online eyewear retailers.
- Keep yourself hydrated so your eyes don’t turn dry and red.
- Sleep for a while so the natural tears of your eyes can relieve the tensed ocular muscles and your eyes turn white again.
We are not saying that should never use these drops. But making it a habit and using them on a regular basis will show side effects on your visual performance.
If you are going to use them for short periods and only when necessary, go for them. But if you feel the side effects, do contact an eye doctor immediately.