LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Your eyes might bother you this time of year, but they definitely don’t deceive you when you see the copious collection of eye drops at your local pharmacy.
“It can be a bit overwhelming,” said optometrist Dr. O’Malley Bosanic. “Everybody’s different, no one drop is the miracle drop.”
There are three categories of eye drops: artificial tears, allergy relief and anti-redness.
“So your artificial tears are going to be your go-to eye drop for dry eyes,” said Bosanic.
“[Allergy relief drops] are what you should use when you have those symptoms of redness, itching, burning, watery eyes.”
According to Bosanic, you should only use anti-redness drops for a few days.
“Because they can actually make redness worse and they’re not necessarily addressing the underlying problem,” Bosanic said.
Another option to consider is the size of the bottle.
“I know that depending on their use, you may not need a large amount,” said Jean Moon, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. “Especially with your eyes and how sensitive your eyes are, you’d want to make sure that eye drops stay sterile.”
A big bottle lasts longer but could expire after years on your shelf.
“Ultimately, I think an over-the-counter option should be cost-effective,” said Bosanic.
Prices on the shelf ranged from $5 to $25.
Why the difference?
One reason could be whether the drops have preservatives.
“Sometimes a preservative is an irritant for some people,” said Bosanic.
Those without preservatives tend to cost more but might be best for people who wear contacts.
Allergy pills or nasal sprays can reduce allergy symptoms in your eyes. Washing your face after being outside can also help remove pollen.
“I know it’s so hard because it’s so uncomfortable but I strongly, strongly encourage patients to resist the urge to rub their eyes,” Bosanic said.