Is it OK to use eye drops?

January 27, 2016

Closeup of eyedropper putting liquid into open eye

My eyes often get red and tired, is it ok to use eye drops regularly to ease the discomfort?

Answer: It really depends. Talking to your eye care provider about your symptoms and getting tested are the only ways to know for certain what the proper course of action should be. The key is to treat and manage the underlying issue that is causing your eyes to get red and tired. Most commonly, red and tired eyes are caused by dryness, but that isn’t always the case and only an eye care provider can help you determine that for sure.

If your doctor diagnoses the issue as dry eye disease, using artificial tears regularly is a great treatment. It can help reduce or eliminate symptoms and possibly even treat the issue that is causing the dryness. If that doesn’t work, your doctor can prescribe a medication that can help your eyes create more tears, potentially resolving your dry eye symptoms.

Eye drops that advertise that they remove redness are not typically recommended. These medications often contain certain ingredients that can cause decreased blood flow to the eyes and eventually lead to a condition called rebound hyperemia that can cause even more redness.

Dr. Amy SteinwayDr. Amy Steinway
SUNY Optometry Primary Care Resident

Learn more about dry eyes