My Eyes Hurt, I need help!
You wake up and have red, irritated eyes. You call the eye doctor and they get you an appointment, make their diagnosis, and prescribe you some drops to treat the issue. Sounds great, right? Until you put them in your eye and the drops burn like crazy. Why aren’t the drops working?
Every drop has a purpose
Let me explain. Every drop has a purpose. As an optometrist I prescribe drops for dry eye, infections, glaucoma, and allergies to name a few. Some drops are to reduce inflammation, reduce eye pressure, or even fight infection, but this does not mean they are going to make your eyes feel good in the moment. This is literally where the phrase “ you have to take your medicine” comes from.
Talk to your doctor and know what to expect
The key is to communicate with your eye doctor and know what the purpose of the drop is and what to expect when taking it. Just do not stop taking the drops until you have called and spoken with the optometrist that prescribes the medication. It could save your vision! Whether its for glaucoma or a corneal ulcer, if you do not take your drops as prescribed it could lead to blindness.
Tips for more comfort
In order to make the drops more comfortable and burn less, I advise my patients to put the drop in the fridge. A cold drop tends to burn less and it is still effective. I will also see if there is a preservative free option. This can ease some of the irritation. Additionally, you can use a preservative free artificial tear (also can be stored in the fridge) before and after putting in the prescription medication. Ideally you wait 5 minutes in between drops.
Dry eyes are the underlying cause
At the end of the day, remember the more a drop burns, the more dry your eyes are. Just like putting lotion on dry cracked skin, your eyes are the same way. Always try to be proactive and make sure you have a stable tear film, this will save you when you need to use a prescription. And whatever you do, do NOT stop taking your medication without consulting you eye doctor. We are always just a phone call away!