Self-Treatment for Minor Eye Conditions


US Pharmacist. 2001;26(12) 

Red Eye

Red eye is a potentially troublesome symptom. It might be caused by follicular conjunctivitis (traditional pink eye), which requires isolation precautions due to its highly contagious nature. Red eye is helped by warm compresses and resting the eyes rather than ophthalmic decongestants.[6] The pharmacist might recognize this problem by asking about concurrent symptoms such as tearing and a stinging sensation.

Products for red eye should only be used to treat redness that is caused by minor irritation (e.g., swimming, smog, sun glare, exposure to smoke, contact lens wearing) and that has not lasted for more than 72 hours. They contain vasoconstrictors such as phenylephrine and naphazoline, and should not be used by patients with angle-closure glaucoma without physician supervision. More frequent use than is recommended on the label, or use for more than 72 hours, can result in rebound congestion.[7] Typical ophthalmic vasoconstrictors include Clear Eyes, Visine and All Clear. Many pharmacies also stock natural remedies for relief of ophthalmic symptoms.