Preservative-free Eye Drops
Sometimes, preservatives play a necessary role, but when there is a preservative-free alternative, it is often wise to choose it. It is especially true in the case of eye drops.
Are Preservatives in Eye Drops Good or Bad?
As we already know, preservatives are used to preserve a product over a longer period of time. With regard to eye drops, the chemicals used to preserve the solution are designed to prevent bacteria from proliferating after opening the container and allow the drug to enter the eye. Unfortunately, although they are relatively well tolerated, these additions can be irritating to the eyes, increase dry eye syndrome and impair the good postoperative evolution of certain glaucoma surgeries. This is why ophthalmologists advise the use of eye drops without preservatives.
Unlike eye drops that contain these preservatives, they can reduce side effects. Their secret lies in the making of the bottle. Whether it’s a single dose format (small disposable flask) or a multidose one (usual bottle), their tips are designed so that the bacteria can not penetrate inside the container. Thus, preservatives are not necessary.
Many over-the-counter artificial tears available contain toxic preservatives. You should always ask your healthcare professional for advice before choosing your drops. In the treatment of glaucoma, ophthalmic drops are also used daily. Their purpose is to control the intraocular pressure. Again, preservative-free options have been proven superior in terms of decreased side effects. Patients usually have better comfort, reduced redness and a better controlled dry eye syndrome.
Side Effects of Eye Drops
In some people, eye drops can have side effects. Among these are blurred vision and allergic reactions. The latter may manifest by itching, swelling, difficulty breathing or dizziness. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, you should quickly notify a healthcare professional and/or consult your ophthalmologist.
It is important to know that each person will react differently to any type of medication. Although some types of eye drops do not have preservative-free variants, people with case of moderate to severe dry eyes should opt, if possible, for preservative-free eye drops. This applies to both over-the-counter and prescription eye drops. For any questions and for all your ophthalmic needs, you can contact the Bellevue Clinic.
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