Picture this: You’re eyes are a little irritated, possibly even a little red. You’re not sure why this is happening, but you figure an eye drop could help. You walk into the eye drops section in the pharmacy and you’re bombarded by about 131,239 different types of eye drops that tell you they do all sorts of wonderful things. So you pick the one with the name you’ve heard and claims to do what you want… Visine.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But you give it a try nonetheless.
So, is Visine bad for your eyes and why?
1) The active ingredient in the original Visine is Tetrahydrozaline Hydrochloride. It works by constricting blood vessels. Over time, the blood vessels will stop responding to it and even have a rebound effect, where they get more dilated and red than before.
2) The preservative used in all Visine drops is Benzalkonium Cholride (aka BAK). It has been shown to be one of the most likely to cause ocular toxicity and irritation. Most pharmaceutical companies don’t BAK in their medicated eye drops for this reason.
If you insist on using Visine for dry eyes, consider using the preservative-free formula.
Q: Can I use Visine to get rid of Pink Eye?
A: No. Pink eye is a viral infection of the eye and should be looked at by your doctor. He or she can then determine which drops (if any) are needed. Learn more about Pink Eye Here.
Q: What other drops should I use?
A: There are many options for dry eyes, allergies, contact lenses, and infections. Its best to ask your friendly neighborhood eye doctor what is best for your eyes.
Q: Is it true that a few drops of Visine in someone’s drink can give them an upset stomach (like in Wedding Crashers)?
A: A few drops probably wouldn’t do much. However, a lot would likely make a person very sick. Aside from vomit and/or diarrhea, it could affect a person’s vision, heart rate, and body temperature. So, I would not recommend trying it 🙂