How Do You Keep Your Eyes Healthy?

Last Editorial Review: 10/9/2017

Ask the experts

How do you keep your eyes healthy?

Doctor's response

"Oh, something is wrong with my eye!" We have all said this at some time. How uncomfortable it can be! Fortunately, many common eye (ocular) disorders disappear without treatment or can be managed by self-treating. Various products -- from artificial tears and ointments to ocular decongestants -- are available over the counter (OTC). These products can help with dryness, itching, or excessive watering of the eye. However, a word of caution: In some instances, what may seem like a minor eye problem may lead to a severe, potentially blinding condition. So, always check with your doctor for any persisting eye problem.

Many safe and effective OTC products for mild eye disorders are available for self-treatment. Two important factors to remember when considering self-treatment are:

  1. if the problem appears to involve the eyeball itself, you should consult a physician immediately; and
  2. if you use an OTC eye care product for 72 hours without improvement of the condition being treated or the condition worsens, you also should see a doctor immediately. If blurring of vision, double vision, eye pain, or visual loss is one of your symptoms, see an ophthalmologist (MD) immediately.

Optometrists or Ophthalmologists provide eye exams. Optometrists provide attentive, comprehensive care. To self-treat common ocular disorders with OTC eye care products, readers should understand:

  1. the structure of the eye;
  2. the cause of the disorder;
  3. eye diseases and disorders are safe to self-treat and which should be referred to Optometrists or Ophthalmologists; and
  4. the types of OTC eye care products that are available and the disorders in which they are useful.

For more information, read our full medical article on eye care.

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