We don’t often think of eye care. Our eyes have incredible accessories. Eyelids, lashes and tears are pretty efficient at protecting our eyes and keeping them clear of debris as we navigate through our day.
However, every so often you may notice your eyes may be red, itchy, or irritated. On these infrequent occasions, this clears up during the day with a few tears and blinks, or a good sleep.
For some, this can be a seasonal problem related to allergies – often in the fall or spring. You may also experience short term eye irritation and redness to something you are allergic to, such as cat dander. Allergy eyes may be treated with eye drops, but often other symptoms such as a stuffy nose will accompany eye irritation. For the combination of symptoms, it may be better to take a tablet or capsule to treat all the symptoms of your allergy. Your Pharmachoice pharmacist can explain the choices available, and how long to use your drops or medication.
Weather can cause eye irritation and dryness, due to cold, dry weather, or exposure to air movement. Some work environments may also contribute to dry or irritated eyes. It is important to consider prevention. Wearing eye protection or safety goggles to prevent eye exposure to chemicals or solvents that may be in the air is a smart decision. Wearing sunglasses with full UV protection is also advisable whenever we go out. For dry or irritated eyes, drops that mimic your tears are a safe and excellent choice to keep your eyes comfortable, and help in times your eyes need a bit of help. As we age, we also produce less tears. Using eye drops may be required more often as we age. Eye gels will last longer to lubricate eyes, and use of an ointment while sleeping can provide even more relief.
Be careful when choosing an eye drop. Some drops should not be used beyond a few days. Read the fine print, and check to see if there is a limit on the days you should use the eye drops. If you are already using medicated eye drops, make sure that you wait several minutes between drops, and choose drops compatible with your medication and condition. Your pharmacist can help you select an eye drop that best fits your needs and with timing of your drops. Remember eye drops must be kept sterile. Eye drops that have been opened or used should not be kept more than a month, even if the expiration date hasn’t been reached. Used eye drops should never be kept as part of your first aid supply.
Maintaining healthy eyes requires regular visits to an eyecare professional, even if you never experience problems. Many eye diseases are best treated before you experience symptoms, and symptoms lasting beyond 2 to 3 days may indicate a serious problem or progress rapidly to damage the eye – perhaps irreversibly. Eye pain or unusual vision disturbances requires an immediate professional diagnosis. Red, irritated or dry eyes lasting beyond a few days should be reviewed by a doctor or optometrist.
Your Pharmachoice pharmacist understands how important your eye health is, and can help you with choices, including vitamins and diet to keep your eyes healthy.