OTC and prescription eye drops and ointments

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Living in the modern society, people are sometimes bothered by a couple of eye problems, such as dry eye and eye itching. Generally speaking, these are not serious conditions but they also deserve proper attention. Until now, the most popular solution to the above two problems is to use eye drops or ointments. In the market, eye drops and ointments are available both in over-the-counter (OTC) type and prescription type. In fact, eye drops can ease many more eye problems, including redness, allergies, soreness, swelling, mattering, and infections.

Causes and treatment for temporary dry eye

dry eye

Both internal and external factors can cause temporary dry eye, such as tired body, prolonged computer use, windy environment and sunny conditions. Common OTC eye drops can simply provide relief for temporary dry eye caused by these factors. OTC eye drops add various tear elements in your eyes and make them perform better, while decongestant eye drops function by shrinking the outer blood vessels in your eyes’ white parts.

Causes and treatment for chronic or long-term dry eye

Chronic or long-term dry eye can be caused by aging, decongestants, diuretics and antidepressants, which determine the type of eye drops you should choose. A gel or ointment either in preserved or non-preserved form is always used to cure long-term dryness. People use gels need several minutes to recover clear vision so that most of the people use gels only before sleeping. For severe dry eye, some special OTC ointments and prescription eye drops may be prescribed by the doctor.

Decongestant eye drops are not right for red eye treatment

red eyes

By shrinking the blood vessels, conventional decongestant eye drops are commonly used to relieve red eyes. However, this type of eye drops only masks the problem by making the eyes whiter. In fact, frequent use of decongestants can increase dryness and make the patient addictive to them. Many factors may contribute to red eye, such as tiredness, dryness, lack of sleep and irritation. An OTC lubricating drop is commonly recommended for red eyes.

Three types of pink eye and their treatments


Lubricating eye drops are also prescribed for pink eye, which may be a sign of bacterial conjunctivitis, viral conjunctivitis or allergic conjunctivitis. Bacterial conjunctivitis has signs such as red eye and yellow discharge. In most cases, this condition will be treated with Rx antibiotic eye drops. Viral conjunctivitis is contagious and usually causes red, watery, sore eyes and whitish discharge. For slight viral conjunctivitis, common OTC drops are enough, while severe conditions require a doctor’s visit. Another common reason that causes eye redness, itchiness, swollen eyelids and bloodshot eye is allergic conjunctivitis, which is not contagious and can be cured with antihistamine drops or cold ice packs.

Antihistamine eye drops can relieve eye itchiness

Itchiness is a common symptom experienced by many people, most of which may rub their itchy eyes and make them itchier. The reason is that the eyes will release histamine. The right solution to eye itchiness caused by allergies is to use right OTC drops. Those antihistamine drops such as Alaway and Zaditor can reduce histamine in the eye tissues so that itchiness can be eased.

Eye soreness and irritation also require eye drops

Prior detection of the reason that causes eye soreness is critical before you choose eye drops. If your eyes are dry, tired or overused, soreness may happen. Eye soreness will become more serious after the eye is rubbed. Crying and eye discharge may bring eye irritation, which can get relief from lubricating eye drops. Eye infection caused yellowish eye discharge requires prescription antibiotic eye drops.

A conclusion

Proper OTC drops are always competent for most eye problems described above. These eye drops can be conveniently bought at local pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. In contrast, serious conditions do require a doctor’s visit and get prescription medications and eye drops.