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Overuse of eye drops
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Overuse of eye drops

My question is revolving around that i recently discovered that there should be a limit to your eye drop use in a day. Well I know I have exceeded it at times sometimes it seems like my eyes get more red than usual...If any one could tell me some side effects and if I were to stop using them would they be reversable?
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20 Comments Post a Comment
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233488_tn?1310696703
There is no limit on using artifical tears in your eye. Whitening drops like Visine and Murine should be used only on occassion (3-4 times/week). Any more risks causing "rebound redness" from the drops themselves.

JCH II MD
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Avatar_n_tn
My husband is suffering from this rebound redness (16 straight months now-no relief), what can you do about it?  Obviously stop the drops, but will he recover?  The opth. said he had dry eye, but that's NOT it.  When I surf these symptoms, everyone's calling it rebound redness from overuse of eye drops which he DID overuse big time.  HELP!!!
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233488_tn?1310696703
First and foremost stop the "red out" drops Visine, Murine etc.

Second see a Eye MD that specializes in cornea and external disease for a definite diagnosis and rule out other causes of chronic red eyes.

Rebound redness corrects itself in time (several months) its not a lifelong problem if the red out drops are stopped

JCH MD
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Avatar_n_tn
Dr. Hagan, thank you so much!  My husband stopped the drops and days later he looked better...now two weeks later he's amazingly on his way back to normal.  And, the facial pressure he was experiencing from it has stopped too.  I am concerned why when we went to an actual eye doctor did they not mention this rebound redness?  They diagnosed it as dry eye and prescribed more drops.  When he stopped using everything is when he got better!!!  (He was using too much Visine for years!)

People, don't use Visine regularly!!!!!!
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233488_tn?1310696703
Perhaps he didn't mention visine use. patients often don't tell me about visine, murine and other drops they use also they often omit many "herbals" they take internally.

JCH MD
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Avatar_m_tn
I've now only just realized that I too seem to have rebound eyes, but I will find it near impossible to completely abstain from using the "Murine Clear Eyes" drops as I have face-to-face meetings daily. I find my eyes going red about 2 - 3 hrs after the previous use.

Must I completely stop use to see improvement or will reduced usage (with the intent to completely stopping...for ever) also work, or will any use just exacerbate the problem?



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233488_tn?1310696703
See an Eye MD ophthalmologist for a complete exam and to determine that you do not have eye disease causing the redness.

Discuss swearing off Murine and other whiteners and for a short period using a mild steroid drop to prevent the redness that makes you keep reaching for Murine.

JCH MD
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you Dr Hagan....I really appreciate and value your response!!

Bruce
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello. I became addicted to eye whitener. I first started using it when my eyes were looking tired and dull. But after a year of continual use (sometimes twice a day), my eyes were getting worse. A few hours after applying the whitener, my eyes would get redder and duller. I'd then re-apply mid-afternoon to make them white again - it was a vicious circle. I ended up taking the drops out with me when I went out - worried that they would go red when talking to girls etc.

A visit to the optician for a general check-up, I told her about the eye whitening drops I was using - and she told me to stop straight away - because they were causing the redness. She gave me some dry eye drops to use instead - and a few days later, my eyes were back to normal. I'm so happy because I was getting worried about them. Turns out that it was all because of the eye whitener. They should make it clearer on the bottle - because it doesn't say about the long-term effects of using it.
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233488_tn?1310696703
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Avatar_f_tn
yes they really should make it clear on the bottle about long term effects- i wonder are these companies producing these toxic eye poisons aware of the damage they are doing to peoples eyes who think these eye products are safe- iam recovering after months of over-using these products thinking they were safe- i hope my eyes go back to normal eventually- i feel really let down by pharmacists who advised me to take these, who clearly are'nt aware of the physical and emotional damage rebound red eyes can have on a persons confidence and daily routine in life. so are your eyes back to normal now london noodle?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi All.  This is great info. I thought I was the only one and was ashamed to tell anyone of my addiction... even my wife!! I have using Murine Clear Eyes for the last 15 years thinking that these drops were my only answer to otherwise crazy red, tired looking eyes.  I guess I started up as a young self conscious teenager wanting to impress the girls (or at least not scare them off!), but since then this has grown into a full blown addiction that I cannot shake... I can probably count the number of days I haven't put at least 1 drop into my eyes during this time on one hand!  Only now am I realising that the source of the redness is probably the damn drops themselves!!! Agree with the other comments... surely this needs to be clearer on the label.  Now its cold tukey or nothing for me as of right now.  Truly hope this is reversable... what an idiot!!!  Anyway.. here we go. Thanks again.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am desperate. I keep getting corneal ulcers and prescribed steroid drops. As soon as I go off the drops, the problem starts over. Ive been on these steroid drops for 12 weeks in the past 6 months. My current doctor thinks I have an autoimmune disorder but everything i get tested for conmes back negative. This time I am trying to wean myself off the drops but I have terrible pressure in and around my eye. PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi.  I have similar problems to you.  Have you found a solution yet?  I went through 1 round of steroid drops but it wasn't strong enough so the doc gave me a stronger one.  That worked, but 2-3 weeks later, the redness returned.  I have been on restasis for about 4 months and I have been on optivar on and off for about 3 years.  I am allergic to everything.  I am pretty depressed that I can't make this redness go away, it is embarrassing.  Please let me know if you have found a solution in your case.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi.  I have similar problems to you.  Have you found a solution yet?  I went through 1 round of steroid drops but it wasn't strong enough so the doc gave me a stronger one.  That worked, but 2-3 weeks later, the redness returned.  I am pretty depressed that I can't make this redness go away, it is embarrassing.  Please let me know if you have found a solution in your case.  
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Avatar_m_tn
My eyes were addicted to over-the-counter vasoconstrictors for over 20 years. Visine. Clear Eyes. Brite Eyes. Opcon-A. Safyr Bleur. Murine. Naphcon-A. Prefrin and Oxylin. You name it. If a brand was available in the country I was in, I tried it. I even made combination-cocktails out of some of them. And just like anyone and everyone else, I got caught in the rebound redness trap.

So I understand just how desperate things can get and that’s why I have to offer you this hope.
I’ve lived with that panic, where worrying about your eyes consumes your every lucid thought. How it affects your behaviour: peering into any sort of reflective surface to check if your eyes are red. Planning a day out with the family and only worrying about where and when you might be able to put eye drops in. Visiting the bathroom obsessively to study the mirror. Dreading late nights at work for reasons fairly different to your colleagues’.
And I know the ‘looks’ all too well. Complete strangers passing judgement on you. Making assumptions. Must be drugs. Must be alcohol. Must be something wrong with him.

I had visited eye care professionals on two separate occasions before and they’d unfortunately done nothing to help. But I, as the addicts say, had hit rock bottom. Something had to change. And I got lucky. I saw a particularly open-minded and dedicated ophthalmologist, and he found a way out. Dumb luck? Sure-footed science? Don’t know. But it worked for me, I hope it’ll work for you.

Here’s what you need to do:

There are no unicorns
Firstly, you need to forget about a quick fix. A magical solution. It doesn’t exist. This is the hardest thing to accept. There will be awkward moments. You will have to face people at work. It’s going to be difficult. There’s no other way around it. But it’s also not going to be as bad as you imagine. Fear always trumps reality. It’s worse in your mind than it will be in the world, I promise you.

Use your words
Secondly, tell people. Horror, I know. But when people hear what’s really happening to you and how difficult it is for you, they will be surprisingly more understanding than you think. And it’s a better alternative to them making judgemental assumptions about you anyway. So talk.

Look them in the eye
Lastly, find an ophthalmologist that will be as open-minded, willing and honest as you will have to be:
Tell the truth, all of it. Don’t hide anything. Don’t distort the facts to avoid embarrassment or protect your fragile ego. The doctors can only help you if they have all the facts to consider. They are scientists not psychics.

On the flipside of that, of the three ophthalmologists that I saw over the years, only one was truly willing to help me. Disappointingly, the first guy I saw (when I was at University) suggested that I wear tinted glasses. That’s all. He said that there was nothing to be done. No options. There was no way to treat it and my eyes would be like this forever. Thanks bud.

Whether the other doctors weren’t sure how to treat me, or they just weren’t interested in treating me I’ll never know, and it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you find someone you can trust. And it might not be the first doc you see. Look them in the eye and you’ll know.

Somewhere to start
Tell your doc about the treatment plan that my ophthalmologist put me on. It worked for me, and although there’s no guarantee that it’ll work for you, it’s at a place to start. I’ve tried to provide as much detail below:

Month One – eliminating variables
In the first month, you can use your red eye drops as usual. My doc’s plan was to eliminate any existing infections, allergies or conditions that may contribute towards causing red eyes in the first place. It’s like hitting the reset button. This is the easy bit.
Here’s a list of the brands/manufacturers of all the different things he put me on:

Eye-lid cleansing, twice a day – LID-CARE sterile wipes from Alcon

Steroidal Eye Drops every four hours – MINIMS from Bausch & Lomb (Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate 0.1%)

Anti-bacterial Eye Drops for infections, twice a day – Fucithalmic 5g Viscous Eye Drops (Fusidic Acid) This stuff burns the crap out of you.

Warm compression, twice a day for 5 minutes. (Hot facecloth on the eyes when you get up and before you go to bed.)

Natural tears (preservative free) for comfort, if needed – Systayne Ultra UD from Alcon. (Or Refresh Plus from Allergan)

The effect was immediate and dramatic. I went from having to use my red eye drops every 2 - 3 hours, to every 6 - 8 hours. And sometimes only twice a day. There was real hope here.

Next Two Weeks – weaning your eyes
Assuming that any infections/allergies have been dealt with, you can now start getting off the poison. This is when you need to grow a set and take a leap. Start telling people about what you’re doing. Talk to your boss if you have to. Try limit the use of those god-awful red eye drops. This is the hard bit.

Eye-lid cleansing, twice a day.
Steroidal Eye Drops every six hours – 4 times a day
Anti-bacterial Ointment once a day.
Warm compression, twice a day for 5 minutes.
Natural tears (preservative free) for comfort, if needed.
Red eye drops - as infrequently as possible. Try not to exceed 2/3 times a day.

Quick word on the warm compression – it makes your eyes red. Don’t panic about that. The benefits far outweigh the 20 minutes of pinky eyes. The oils need to flow. Go with it.


Next Two weeks – off the poison
By now, you should be able to get off the red eye drops completely. It’s scary at first, but have some faith. Every day without a drop of that crap is a step closer to freedom. Breathe. Keep going.

Eye-lid cleansing, once a day.
Warm compression, twice a day for 5 minutes.
Natural tears (preservative free) for comfort, if needed

Maintenance
Eye-lid cleansing, two to three times a week.
Warm compressions, twice a day for 5 minutes.
Natural tears (preservative free) for comfort, if needed.

It’s been around two months and although my eyes aren’t the bright, sparkly white that one sees in magazines, they’re clear and nowhere near the ghastly full-blown red they used to be. And, more importantly, they’re not dependent on vasoconstrictors drops anymore. I panic less and I leave my house without checking my pockets for eye drops. You know what I’m talking about.

I wish you all the best.


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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for writing such a detailed and informative post.  Congratulations on overcoming your vasoconstrictor drop 'addiction' and improving the health of your eyes!  

Even if other patients don't have access to all of these meds or have a different 'tapering' protocol recommended by their doctors, I'm sure your post will be helpful to others who have a similar problem.

One thing patients like you could rely on to 'explain away' the temporary redness during recovery is to say they have an 'allergy.'   It can be anything - allergy to a new soap, pollen (when it's dry outside), mold (when it's wet), dust, a houseguest with pets is visiting, they tried new eyedrops to which they had a 'reaction', etc.  They got pinkeye from Bob Costas.  Whatever - patients can use their imagination...and only they will know the real reason behind the redness.  
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Avatar_m_tn
A SITE AFTER MY OWN HEART...THANK YOU JESUS!!
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Avatar_m_tn
I can so relate to your story! I started using eye drops around 15 years old. I've always struggled with having red eyes but never noticeably or too severe unless I opened my eyes in a swimming pool or something. But at around 15 I would smoke marijuana and of course would use redness relievers to get the red out. The next few years I used Visine, Clear Eyes, but mostly Rohtos pretty regularly. I remember when I was 17 they were noticeably bad in the mornings. From about 18 to 20 years old I used Rohtos vasoconstrictor multiple times daily to the point where I couldn't go a few hours without having to put more in because it would wear off. It became a full addiction and I finally realized that these drops say "Warning- may cause your eyes to be more red" I felt so dumb! Now my eyes were ALWAYS bloodshot and I had to keep using these drops every few hours. I'm almost 21, but I decided I need to go see an eye doctor and deal with this after using these drops for 6 years.

So, I went to the eye doctor and he told me I had dry eye but prescribed me Lotemax steroid for 2 weeks. I stopped using the red out drops and only used the steroid. It wasn't super helpful like I had hoped but at least got me through the first couple weeks of wiending off the drops. I went back to the same doctor and he said to use artificial tears and if it's really bothering me still he'll give me punctal plugs. He barely checked my eye out and just assumed I had dry eye. It's been 2 months since I've used redness reliever and my eyes still get really red. They are better, but the problem isn't fully resolved. On good days, I get 9 hours of sleep, wake up and they are red for an hour or so and by the time I'm showered and drinking coffee they clear up decently until around 6pm or so then they start getting red again. They get super inflamed if I go on the computer or drive outside, for some reason and I don't buy the whole "It's because your not blinking thing" because I consciously think about it and even after 10 min of being on the computer or phone they are inflamed.  My brother had the same problem but he never used vasoconstrictors and Lotemax steroid solved the problem for him. So I'm thinking I just need a stronger and longer version of this steroid and maybe that will fix it?? It's so frustrating being so self conscious of your eyes and always checking the mirrors and not wanting to go out and such. I'm also trying allergy drops just to rule that out. I don't think it's allergies. I don't know what causes the redness but it never fully goes away and can get embarrassingly bad at a moment's notice.
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Avatar_f_tn
I've been using Opcon - A for over a year everyday..Should I stop?
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