There are a few common eye conditions that we regularly see in our pharmacies. Many of these conditions can be managed with over the counter products and advice from our teams.
Conjunctivitis is inflammation (swelling) of the conjunctiva, i.e. the thin layer of cells that covers the white part of the eyeball and the inner surfaces of the eyelids. If you have Infective Conjunctivitis you may experience reddening and watering of one or both eyes and a sticky coating on the eyelashes, particularly when waking up in the morning. The eyes may also be a little puffy. Common causes of conjunctivitis include viruses e.g. often accompanies a common cold, or a bacterial infection e.g. the same bacteria that might cause ear infections.
It can be difficult for your GP to determine which type of conjunctivitis you have. A minor bacterial infection may be treated with Brolene Eye Drops which provide a 48-hour treatment for the affected eye(s). If this does not significantly improve the issue, then we would advise you visit your GP.
We would also recommend Lidcare Eye Wipes for cleaning the eye in a safe, sterile manner. When cleaning the eye with wipes or cotton wool, use a fresh wipe or piece of cotton for each eye and then wash your hands to avoid further contamination.
Allergic Conjuntivitis usually affects both eyes and symptoms may occur suddenly, or, up to 24-48 hours after exposure to an allergen (substance you are allergic to). Symptoms include itchy, red, watery and burning eyes that may also be swollen. Allergic conjunctivitis is often seasonal and might occur with an allergy such as hayfever or could appear intermittently e.g. with a dust allergy. We recommend using an antihistamine such as Cetriz which is a once daily dose with no drowsiness. In addition, the use of an eye-drop such as Otrivine Antistin can be very helpful and soothing. This is only for short-term use of up to 7 days.
Most eye conditions we deal with are relatively minor, however we would encourage our patients to urgently visit a GP or eye hospital if any of the following dangerous symptoms are experienced;
- Eye pain
- Changes in vision or sight
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye injury
- Chemical burns (such as from cleaning products)
- Young infants (particularly if the eye is red)
Where there is no infection, pain, or obvious sign of allergy, the eye can appear red for several reasons;
- Burst small blood vessel (capillary)
A burst blood vessel in the eye looks very dramatic with a patch of red quite often towards the corner of the eye. It is generally not a serious issue but will often take some time to clear up. Check with your pharmacist if you are taking any medicines for high blood pressure or blood-thinners.
Tired, red eyes are of course very common. The blood vessels in the eye tend to become swollen when we are tired or dehydrated, so our eyes look red. Tired, red eyes can be relieved with the Optrex Warming Eye Mask. To brighten up red eyes use Optrex Clear Eyes which will whiten the eye and make the eye look clearer. They will also soothe the eye from any irritation.
This condition is caused by a lack of tear production leaving the eyes dry, gritty and uncomfortable. People wearing contact lenses or who work with computers can also suffer from this condition. It is widespread in the elderly population (1 in 3).
We treat this condition with eye lubricants that replace the action of our tears. These will soothe the eye and will generally be highly effective. We recommend Hylo-Forte preservative-free drops for effective treatment of dry eye(s).
These can also be safely used when wearing contact lenses. The unique multi-dose bottle guarantees 300 equal drops and remains sterile for up to six months. Artelac Eye Drops may also be effective.
Macular Degeneration (age-related) is a deterioration affecting the middle part of the vision. It will make activities like reading more difficult as the condition progresses. This will generally be diagnosed by an ophthalmologist following referral from your GP or optometrist.
Nutrition is an important factor in managing this ailment, with products like Macushield and Lutein Omega 3 the diet can be supplemented with nutrients that are thought to help with the condition. Often your consultant will recommend one of these supplements. Regular check-ups are important in managing this condition.
Don’t hesitate to speak to a member of our team about the best products and treatment options for you.