What Is an Eye Drop and What Is It For? Types and Uses

Ophthalmic eye drops is a sterile suspension liquid treatment in which substances are combined to treat eye conditions, it is a type of ophthalmic medicine. They usually come in small jars for easy portability and use when needed.

There are different types of eye drops or dissolution, designed to address specific conditions in the eyeball. These annoyances can be caused by the use of contact lenses, prolonged exposure to the computer, dust (microorganisms) environment, etc.

At a general level, we can point out that eye drops serve to provide relief from irritations, attack viruses, wash and protect them from dust, and even refresh them in the event of dryness.

Types of eye drops and their uses

These liquid drops have a chemical combination that makes it possible to treat various ailments. You cannot use the same eye drops for all discomforts, since each liquid drop has specific active ingredients to provide relief. Some eye drops are delicate to use, and it is for this reason that they should only be used with a doctor's prescription.

In general, there are three types of eye drops subdivided according to the cause or symptoms that you are presenting in the eyes: Non-prescription eye drops, prescription eye drops, and cycloplegic eye drops. Next, we will indicate the uses that are given to each of them.

Eye drops without a prescription

These eye drops do not need a prescription from a specialist, and you can use them if you feel a little discomfort in the eye or if they feel very dry. Sometimes the air conditioning can generate dryness, also having been exposed to a lot of dust can give a slight irritation. As it is not a serious pathology, you can go to your pharmacy and buy the ideal eye drops for your eyes. The pharmacy will advise you which is the most appropriate.

Next, we will tell you which eye drops you can buy without a prescription and what they are used for.

Red eyes

If you have gone to the pool or have been exposed to smoke pollution, whether from tobacco, campfire, etc., it is possible that your eyes look somewhat red, it is not necessary to go to the doctor, you can buy eye drops for red eyes.

These types of eye drops shrink the small blood vessels located in the sclera. As the size is reduced, the eyes begin to look normal.

An outstanding aspect is that, it is vital not to exceed the use of this type of eye drops, use a couple of days, if the eye continues the same, consult your doctor because the eye may be affected by something else.

Artificial tears

With the passage of time our natural drops lose "quality" therefore, the eye begins to feel dry. It is also possible that eyesight becomes tired after reading or excessive exposure to the sun or wind. If that is your case, you can use this eye drops as an eye lubricant and increase visual acuity.

Allergy eye drops

Allergies can cause a number of annoyances in the eyes, such as tearing, irritation, itching, etc. This type of treatment (some require a prescription) is responsible for reducing histamine in the eye tissue, which allows to combat the discomfort presented.

Eye drops for specific allergies require medical attention. And they are the following: Corticosteroids, Mast cell stabilizers, Oral antihistamines, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( allergy conjunctivitis ).

Prescription eye drops

Eye drops or drugs that have antibiotic agents require a prescription from a doctor. It should be applied with their supervision, since it is necessary to know what type of virus or bacteria is affecting eye health.

In addition, excessive use can be counterproductive, causing some eye disease, hence the importance of following medical advice. Among them, you can find the following eye drops:


This type of eyedrop fights bacteria that can grow on the eye's outer layer, especially the cornea. It must be prescribed by the doctor, since he is the one who knows the etiology of your discomfort. It is an alternative to penicillin or tetracycline.


This treatment is prescribed to prevent the spread of bacteria, it has active agents that keep the infection at bay. It can be prescribed together with another eye drop to keep the infection under control.


Antibiotic drops also complement specialized treatment. In any case, the doctor will determine what type of infection or bacteria your eyes have, and if it should be combined with pills.

Cycloplegic eye drops

It is known as mydriatics, and they are generally used by eye health professionals (ophthalmologists). Among which you can get the following:

Irritation of the iris

The iris is responsible for keeping the dilation of the pupil in full control, but sometimes it becomes irritated, a specialist may prescribe a cycloplegic eye drops to alleviate the irritation.

Pupil dilation

These eye drops are not a treatment Rather, they are drops that have the function of conditioning the eye so that the eye health professional can examine it, either of the retina, cornea, etc. It is often used in a doctor's office to dilate the pupils.

Inflammation of the cornea

If the ophthalmologist determines that there is an inflammation in the cornea, he can prescribe this type of eye drops as an anti-inflammatory to reduce the bacteria or virus that is causing discomfort.

Anesthetic eye drops

They are used to reduce pain in the eyes, which are caused in a surgical procedure. Of course, they are prescribed by doctors, and should not be used excessively.

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