Are New Eye Whitening Drops Better Than Older Drops?

There are new over-the-counter eye-whitening drops on the store shelves that caught a lot of attention. It was suggested that the new eye whitening drops may have some advantages over the older drops like Visine. Lumify is the name of the new eye whitening drop which was approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration in December 2017. Lumify was available on store shelves in mid-2018. Ophthalmologists raised a warning that any whitening drops can cover up symptoms of serious disease.

Lumify has an active ingredient called brimonidine while the active ingredient in Visine is tetrahydrozoline. Both ingredients work in reducing the redness of the eye by letting constriction of the blood vessels in the eye occur. If a person stops using eye drops containing tetrahydrozoline, the blood vessels are not constricted. When the vessels open again, they are larger than before as oxygen and nutrients return to the eye. The rebound effect occurs which causes increased redness in the eye. The cycle makes people depend on the drop to have clear and white eyes.

What Is the Effect of Using an Eye Whitening Drop?

woman using eyedrops

It is truly annoying to have red eyes because it ruins your appearance. Some people want to use eye drops for a quick solution. The FDA only approved the use of Lumify for five weeks. Lumify has an advertisement that says it can be used four times a day. The drops contain a preservative called benzalkonium chloride which means the more you use it, the more preservative there is in your eyes. The eye-whitening drop can make the redness go away but there may be an underlying reason why redness is present in the eye.

Why Is It Important to Visit an Ophthalmologist Before Using Eye Drops?

red eye looking to the side

According to Dr. Laurie Barber, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a visit to an ophthalmologist is a must before using any drops to determine what is causing the redness in the eye. Allergies, conjunctivitis or pink eye, corneal ulcer, glaucoma, and bleeding in the eye can be associated with eye redness. It is not preferred for patients to use an eye-whitening drop on a long-term basis. Ophthalmologists warn patients not to use eye drops if they have red eyes. They want to know what is wrong with the eye before allowing eye drops regularly.

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