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Visine Eye Drops

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Is it Safe to use Visine Eye Drops?

By Dr. Kristie

When some people stay out too late or experience red eyes due to irritation or allergies, they automatically reach for the bottle of Visine to “get the red out”. These eye drops have become popular as an instant fix for eyes that aren’t as bright as they should be.

It’s so easy to head to the drugstore and get a bottle of these over-the-counter drops to clear up redness; but is using Visine safe?

What is Visine?

Visine is an over-the-counter eye drop used to treat minor eye irritation and redness. It works by constricting the blood vessels in the eyes. When the blood vessels are constricted they aren’t as visible so it reduces the appearance of redness. 

Visine eye drops work quickly to reduce redness – usually within seconds to minutes after squirting it into the eyes. The instant gratification it offers for red, irritated eyes makes them a popular “quick fix”.

Is Using Visine Safe?

Using Visine on an occasional basis such as before a special event shouldn’t cause any harm; but frequent Visine use over a long period of time could cause damage to the blood vessels that run through the eyes.

In addition, regular Visine use can lead to “rebound redness” meaning that the redness is worse after the eye drops wear off. This sets up a vicious cycle where they need to be used constantly to keep the red out.

Using Visine with Contact Lenses isn’t Smart

Visine contains a preservative that can stick to contact lenses and cause eye irritation. Visine also constricts blood vessels which can reduce blood flow to the eye which isn’t healthy if you wear contacts.

Using Visine Can Cover Up the Underlying Problem

Visine may reduce redness, but it doesn’t correct the underlying reason why the eyes are red in the first place. It’s important not to use Visine as a way to cover up symptoms that need a doctor’s attention. Eye redness and pain can be a sign of glaucoma which needs fast treatment to avoid visual loss.

Eye redness can also come from a hemorrhage or an eye infection. Visine will do nothing to treat these problems and may make them worse. Dry eyes can also cause redness which is best treated with artificial tears rather than Visine.

Visine Use: The Bottom Line?

Using Visine eye drops occasionally won’t cause harm, but if you’re using it on a daily basis, it’s time to see an eye doctor and find out what’s causing the redness. If you have eye pain, blurred vision, light sensitivity, or eye discharge, see a doctor right away


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