Eye drops are medicines or medicinal products which are used for treating eye diseases. When your eyes are reddened and irritated, burn or itch, there is a range of lubricating eye drops which is available prescription-free at the pharmacy. Inflammation caused by bacteria has to be treated with prescription preparations. They contain different active ingredients which must be prescribed, such as antibiotics.
Definition of eye drops
As a rule, all liquid medicines which are used externally for eye complaints are eye drops. They are applied at regular intervals into the conjunctival sac by the sufferer.
In Germany, eye drops are mainly available from the pharmacy. Eye drops come in different pharmaceutical forms: as single-use vials made from plastic or as re-usable bottles with an integrated pump system.
Use of prescription and prescription-free eye drops
Prescription-free eye drops can be used for a range of eye complaints. This typically includes irritated, dry or swollen eyes of varying degrees as well as allergic reactions and corneal disorders. Some products are also suitable for eye care after surgery.
Alongside the over-the-counter products, doctors can also prescribe eye drops. These come into consideration for diseases such as glaucoma as well as inflammation of the cornea or conjunctiva. If the infection is caused by bacteria, the prescribed eye drops usually contain antibiotic active ingredients.
Alongside the healing application, there is also the possibility to use eye drops in medicine as a local anaesthetic in operations or for pupil dilation in examinations.
Types of prescription-free eye drops
Eye drops can be roughly divided into three groups: there are lubricating eye drops, drops against swelling and redness as well as antiallergic eye drops.
- Lubricating eye drops provide relief from all symptoms of dry eyes, such as burning and watering caused by working at a monitor, air-conditioned air or wearing contact lenses. Sometimes they contain the endogenous substance hyaluronan, which is characterized above all by its ability to bind large amounts of water. The effect of HYLO-COMOD® lubricating eye drops is based on the ingredient sodium hyaluronate, the sodium salt of hyaluronan.
- Remedies against redness and swelling are the second most common type of prescription-free eye drops which are used in this country. The symptoms usually arise as a result of a lack of sleep or room air being too dry. Prescription-free eye drops such as HYLO® FRESH for tired and stressed eyes are enriched with the natural active ingredient Euphrasia. The extract of this medicinal plant is particularly helpful with reddened and inflamed eyes.
- Sometimes an allergy is the cause of eye problems, when the afflicted complain about itching and dryness. Antiallergic eye drops can also be described as antihistamines, because they reduce the histamine (endogenous substance in the case of allergies) in eye tissue.
Risks and side effects of prescription-free eye drops
Like all other medicines or medicinal products, eye drops can also harbour the risk of intolerances. That is why itching, redness or watering can occur after use. In addition, many eye drops are enriched with pharmaceutical-chemical ingredients containing preservatives. These can damage the eyes and lead to intolerances.