There are many eye drops available as an over-the-counter option, but the majority of eye drops used to treat eye diseases and conditions are only available with a prescription from your eye doctor. These prescription eye drops include antibiotic eye drops, steroid eye drops, glaucoma eye drops, dry eye drops, and many others. Each of these categories of eye drops has known side effects and risks that must be evaluated before use. An eye doctor will assess if the eye drops are needed and are safe to use. If the doctor decides these eye drops are needed, they will provide a prescription and a pharmacy can fill the prescription for the eye drops.
Difference Between Prescription and Over the Counter
Like other types of medications, there are eye drops that are available both over the counter and prescription only.
An over-the-counter eye drop can be purchased from a pharmacy, retail store, or supermarket without a prescription from an eye doctor.
These eye drops are often used to help with minor symptoms like dry eyes, itchy eyes, or red eyes.
Over-the-counter drops are still regulated for quality, but there is no regulation on purchasing these drops.
Prescription eye drops, on the other hand, are regulated both in production and purchase. To obtain a prescription eye drop, a valid prescription must be presented to the pharmacy.
These eye drops are only available at pharmacies and drugstores.
Who Can Write a Prescription for Eye Drops?
To get a prescription for eye drops, an eye doctor will usually be the one to provide the prescription
In some cases, a primary care or emergency department physician will provide a prescription for eye drops.
Types of Prescription Eye Drops
Prescription eye drops are categorized by the effect of the eye drop. The medications include antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections, steroids to treat inflammation, glaucoma drops to lower eye pressure and drops to reduce dry eyes.
Antibiotic Eye Drops
One of the most common eye drops prescribed is an antibiotic eye drop. These drops are used to treat infections of the eye and eyelid.
Small scratches on the eye, swollen eyelids, red eyes, and debris on the eyelid are all possible reasons to have an antibiotic eye drop prescribed.
Steroid Eye Drops
Steroid eye drops are used to reduce inflammation in and around the eyes and eyelids. Often these drops are used following surgery or injury.
Painful red eyes, swelling around the eyes, itchy eyes, and extreme light sensitivity are all causes to use a steroid eye drop.
Glaucoma Eye Drops
Eye drops that lower eye pressure are grouped together as glaucoma-treating eye drops.
These drops are used in all forms of glaucoma and when the eye pressure is elevated to prevent the development of glaucoma.
Dry Eye Drops
While many over-the-counter eye drops can be used to help with the symptoms of dry eyes, there are also prescription eye drops that allow even more intense treatment of dry eye symptoms.
These types of eye drops can help prevent inflammation and improve the function of the tear gland.
Our eye doctors at Neal Eye Group in Conshohocken, PA excel in the prescription of contact lenses, glasses and various eye diseases. Call our optometrists at (610) 828-9701 or schedule an appointment online if you would like to learn more about prescription eye drops. Our optometrists provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Conshohocken, Norristown, Plymouth Meeting, Lafayette Hill, and Philadelphia.