Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
What are the side effects of lubricating eye drops?

Answer:
Lubricating eye drops, or artificial tears, are generally well tolerated without many side effects. Patients rarely experience burning, irritation, or redness. However, each formulation interacts a little differently with the eye. So if a patient experiences discomfort with one product, it would be worthwhile to try some of the competitors. There are also some gels and ointments that provide longer relief than regular artificial tears, but these alternatives may cause temporary blurring of vision.

Most artificial tears contain preservatives that may damage the surface of the cornea and produce symptoms similar to dry eyes if used multiple times daily. If a patient’s symptoms persist despite regular use of artificial tears, an ophthalmologist will try to determine if preservative toxicity is the culprit. Many brands have a preservative-free formulation that can be used as many times as needed throughout the day.

Answered by: Omar R. Chaudhary, MD Dr. Omar R. Chaudhary

Categories: General Eye Health

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Answered: Aug 19, 2013

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