Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Is it really an eye emergency?

Hello everyone,

How are your eyes doing? Are they itchy, scratchy, watering, red, painful, blurred, irritating, swollen, sensitive? And they've been like that for HOW LONG?!

Yes, it seems that self-medicated remedies are the way to go to save a trip to the doctor. Have a little muscle ache = use some Tylenol. Have a little headache = use some Advil. Have some sinus issues = use some Sudafed.

If you walk down the isles in the pharmacy, you can see how each section is inundated with opportunities for self-prescribed healing...and it can be confusing. This medication has this active ingredient, and that medication has that active ingredient, but this medication has this active ingredient AND that active ingredient. Do I take the medication with the cough suppressant when I'm not coughing? Do I take the allergy medication if I'm not sneezing? And on and on and on...

The same thing with OTC (over-the-counter) eye remedies. There are tons of options for itchy. There are tons of options for dry eye. There are TONS of options for itchy AND dry eyes. But, do they all work?

Unless you get the advice from your eye doctor on what OTC medications to use, you're really just guessing. There are certain OTC medications that used to be prescription medications that work extremely well for eye allergies, and there are some "homeopathic" eyedrops out there that are just plain money wasters.

But you're not alone...millions and millions of people purchase OTC medications to save that trip to the eye doctor. Like I said, there's nothing wrong with long as there's nothing wrong with your eyes.

When I say "nothing wrong," I mean "nothing majorly, or severely wrong." Honestly, certain conditions are self-limiting, such as allergies or dryness. These conditions are due to the time of the year, or the working environment, or the air quality, etc. They may go away on their own, and the OTC medications or lubricating drops will do the trick to alleviate or remedy the problem.

However, if there is blurred vision and you think it's from allergies and it's not getting better, stays the same or gets's probably something else other than allergies. If your eye is red and painful and you stopped wearing your contacts (the right thing to do) and it still hasn't improved with those over-the-counter artificial teardrops, it's probably not dry eye.

So here's the list again (it's not comprehensive, just a short list as a guide). If your eye experiences:

1) pain
2) blurred vision
3) redness
4) light sensitivity
5) flashing lights
6) floaters
7) irritation
8) itching probably should see an eye doctor. Many conditions may not get better on their own, and a quicker diagnosis usually leads to quicker recovery.

Dr. Weaver

Ps. Seeing patients for routine, medical and EMERGENCY eye exams. Call 610-488-5315 for an immediate appointment. :)