Types and uses of eye drops

Different pharmacological classes of eye drops can be recognized by patients by different colored tops. For example, TOPS TO dilating drops are a different color than anti-allergy drops.

dry eyes
Eye drops sometimes do not contain medication and are simply a lubricating and tear-replacing solution. There are different types of artificial tear eye drops that offer different surface healing techniques. One can find bicarbonate ions, hypotonicity, high viscosity gels and ointments, and non-preservative types. They all work differently and therefore, one may need to try different artificial tears to find the one that works best.

Steroid and antibiotic eye drops
Steroid and antibiotic eye drops are used to treat eye infections. They also have prophylactic properties and are used to prevent infections after eye surgery. They should be used for the entire prescribed period without interruption. Infections may recur when the drug is stopped.

pink eyes
Antibiotic eye drops are prescribed when the conjunctivitis infection is caused by bacteria but not when it is caused by a virus. In cases of allergic conjunctivitis, artificial tears can help dilute the irritating allergens present in the tear film.

Some eye drops may contain antihistamines or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which suppress optical mast cell responses to allergens, including (but not limited to) aerosolized dust particles.

Eye drops used in the management of glaucoma help drain the eye fluid better and reduce the amount of fluid produced by the eye, which reduces eye pressure. They are classified by active ingredient and include: prostaglandin analogs, beta blockers, alpha agonists and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. There are also combination medications for patients who require more than one type of medication.

Mydriatic eye drops
They make the pupil of the eye as wide as possible, so that an ophthalmologist can get the best view inside the eyeball behind the iris. Later in sunny weather they may cause glare and photophobia until the mydriatic effect wears off.

In some countries, including Russia and Italy, tropicamide, a mydriatic eye drop, is used to some extent as an inexpensive recreational drug. Like other anticholinergics, when taken recreationally, tropicamide acts as a stimulant. When injected intravenously, as is often the case, tropicamide can cause problems such as slurred speech, unconsciousness, unresponsiveness, hallucinations, kidney pain, dysphoria, hyperthermia, tremors, suicidal tendencies, convulsions, psychomotor karchidia, headache, and tachycardia.

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