Many people have been prescribed an eye drop at some point in their lives.  Many others have purchased some type of eye drops over-the-counter at the local drug store.  It is important that our patients know and remember that ‘all eye drops are not created equal’!  Knowing how and when to use your eye drops is critical to your eye health.  Shanks Family Eye Care has created this section to answer some of the most common questions about using eye drops.  If you have any further or specific questions about the use of eye drops, please contact our office.

  • Are over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops and prescription (Rx) eye drops the same?
    No.  It is important to know the difference between eye drops that can be purchased at your local pharmacy over-the-counter and eye drops that require a prescription from your eye doctor.  Prescription eye drops are assigned by your eye doctor to meet very specific needs for your eyes, and they should only be taken as directed by your eye doctor.
  • My eyes are feeling dry and itching.  Can I use any eye drops to relieve it?
    No.  Each individual eye drop has a unique formulation and is designed for a different purpose.  Your doctor may prescribe you an eye drop for an eye disease that may feel “soothing” when you put it in your eye, but it is important not to use that drop for anything beyond what your doctor prescribes it for.  Using eye drops for purposes they are not meant for can have serious consequences on your vision and health. If you feel you are having an issue with your eyes, please see your eye doctor immediately so that they can decide if a different eye drop may be beneficial.
  • I have dry eyes.  I use OTC eye drops for dry eyes, but they never seem to feel better for very long.  What can I do?
    You may have a larger problem beyond just occasional dry eyes.  Dry eye syndrome is a chronic problem that should be addressed by your eye doctor.  Instead of spending money on more and more OTC eye drops, schedule an appointment to see your eye doctor to find out if there is a prescription eye drop or procedure that may help permanently fix the problem.
  • I have allergies and have been using OTC eye drops.  My eye allergies don’t seem to be getting better.  What can I do?
    OTC eye allergy medications can be very helpful for many people.  However, when your allergies persist or are severe, it is a good idea to see your eye doctor.  They may be able to prescribe you a more specific and powerful medication to alleviate your allergies.
  • What is the proper way to put my eye drops in my eyes?
    Putting anything in your eyes can be extremely difficult and feel very unnatural.  Here are some basic tips to help you use your eye drops:

    • Always wash your hands before instilling eye drops
    • Be sure to tilt your head back when instilling eye drops
    • Place your index finger on your lower eyelid near your nose and pull or tug your eyelid to form a well
    • Look up towards your eyebrow
    • Be sure to hold the bottle far enough away from your eye that it does not touch your eye or your eyelashes