Eye drops are often recommended by doctors for a range of conditions and even for general eye care. They can help reduce the occurrence of dry, itchy eyes and are helpful for people with a variety of issues such as:
- Eye trauma
- Eye infections
- Chronic dry eye
Despite their usefulness, eye drops aren’t meant for long-term, regular use. If used too often, they could cause a variety of issues, including worsening pre-existing dry eye.
Are You Overusing Eye Drops for Dry Eyes?
Dry eye is a chronic, gradually worsening condition that could leave you finding yourself constantly reaching your eye drop bottle on a daily basis. The condition is characterized by minimal tear production or tears that don’t seem to lubricate your eyes for long enough. For many people with dry eyes, eye drops are seen as a quick fix, and there are many different types of artificial tears used to help relieve the burning or itching sensation the condition causes.
Whether you’re using over-the-counter eye drops, medicated eye drops, or allergy eye drops, each of these temporary solutions could offer more risks than benefits when overused.
Risks of Overusing Eye Drops
Overusing artificial tears could expose your eyes to serious dangers, including:
Increasing Eye Redness and Dryness
Most eye drops work by constricting the blood vessels, causing the white part of your eye to become red and irritated. However, overusing these eye drops could cause a rebound effect, where the blood vessels constrict so much and so little oxygen and nutrients reach your eyes that your body overcompensates and dilates the vessels even more. This could worsen and prolong your eye redness and irritation.
Washing Away Your Natural Tears
Eye drops could damage your eye’s oily tear film that helps your tears stick to your eye. This could leave you with tears that evaporate too quickly and worsen your dry eyes even more.
Hiding Serious Underlying Eye Conditions
Eyes that are red and irritated could be a sign of trauma, infection, or inflammation. Overusing eye drops could make it very difficult to realize if something is wrong and leave these conditions to develop to the point where they cause severe damage to your eye or vision.
Benefits of ICL
ICL (Implantable Contact Lens) is one of the best ways to treat a condition like dry eye. This procedure can lessen the frequency at which you experience bouts of redness and irritation, reducing your need for eye drops. Visian ICL can be performed on both of a patient’s eyes during the same office visit.
Unlike LASIK and PRK, this procedure is not known to cause dry eyes as a potential side effect. This is because the biocompatible Collamer used for ICL will maintain your natural eye chemistry. Furthermore, the UV-blocking properties of the lens will reduce eye dryness and protect your vision. If you are a potential ICL candidate, you should consider all of the benefits that you can experience by undergoing this procedure and permanently reducing eye drop use.
If you are interested in getting a procedure for dry eye, farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism, an eye exam and assessment could help an eye doctor decide which treatment you are a good candidate for and how to move forward.