Over-the-counter eye drops – are they safe? | South China Morning Post

The ready availability of eye drops and antibiotic medication across the counter at pharmacies makes it an obvious first port of call for sufferers. After all, a short period of treatment clears up most cases of common eye discomfort – on the surface, at least.

However, while this approach can offer a simple short-term solution, it can easily lead to complications further down the line. Clinical trials have shown that eye drops bought across the counter have minimal long-term benefits.

I told him it wasn’t a good idea to buy eye drops from pharmacies, because there have been reports of patients who used non-prescribed eye drops to ease discomfort suffering from glaucoma, cataract and other serious problems.

I had a patient, Miss Lau, who was an office worker. She wore contact lenses for a long period every day, causing dry, stinging and often bloodshot eyes.

During the day while in the office Miss Lau would often use the eye drops to lubricate her eyes. The drops would be applied while she was still wearing the contact lenses.

After examination, I found that her corneas were not only infected, but she also had corneal ulcers with pus. I learned that the eye drops she had used contained steroids. She had also been using them incorrectly.

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