Visine, but green (Day 211)…


It was a sight for sore eyes, literally — a friend of mine, who’s visiting Toronto and staying at my place, is allergic to cats and his eyes have been itching like crazy; then there’s me, who despite having done a round of Pollinex shots back in May have succumbed yet again to ragweed season. The two of us have been wandering around the apartment in a blur, rubbing our eyes out constantly, so this morning I went rummaging around under my sink for some retinal relief.

I found a bottle of Visine from last summer, which I’d stopped using because it always made my eyes burn, but I thought maybe my friend might get better results.

Nope — it stung like crazy for him too, and he had to rinse his eyes out afterwards with water.

I’ve been tempted to get some of those fake tears, which are closer to a gentle saline solution, but that just means more plastic and packaging (not to mention they can cost up to $15, and to be honest I’d rather slap myself across the face to get real tears for free).

So my change today is to abandon synthetic eye drops in favour of a natural solution — I’m just not quite sure what that solution is yet, other than opening my eyes in a bowlful of water. I was thinking about emptying the Visine bottle and putting some water in it with a pinch of salt, but I’m not sure if a pinch is perhaps too much… or too little. Any ideas?

17 Responses to Visine, but green (Day 211)…

  1. pat farquharson says:

    I wouldnt try the pinch of salt!! Unless the solution is isotonic it will sting! Think of seawater!
    I could help you with the slapping thing!
    Are you taking antihistamines?
    There are other drops but they come with packaging.
    When I was little people had eyebaths (no idea why) that you fill with water and hold over the eye with the head tipped back. Or just put head in bucket of water.

  2. Sue says:

    When I had something stuck in my eye for a while (ouch!) I got an eye cup/bath at the drugstore. It’s a little bowl that’s oblong to fit over your eye. ZYou fill it with warm water and hold it to your open eye. Feels great on burny eyes, and is a one-time cost of like $5. If you can’t find one, I bet your pharmacist can point you in the right direction.

  3. Hellcat13 says:

    *sympathy* – I too used to suffer from debilitating allergies at this time of the season. I’ve been on allergy shots for about 6 years or so, and they are the only thing that has ever made a lick of difference. Antihistimines made me too sick to get out of bed. The shots are a time-consuming commitment and probably not very eco-friendly, but when it came down to it, looking like a strung-out addict through August and September just didn’t appeal to me. Now, I get a shot every 3-4 weeks and I can breathe and see in the fall.

  4. Shanalulu says:

    If you want to go a-Googling, the solution you want is called “normal saline.”

    You can buy plain salt (sodium chloride) from a (small and probably locally-owned, as they seem best about this sort of thing) pharmacy, or make your own saline, like I do, with canning and pickling salt, from the grocery store. 1-1/8 tsp. salt per liter of distilled water. Works great, and cuts way down on packaging.

  5. Shanalulu says:

    Found the link I used! Finally. I found the same info basically everywhere I looked, but this was the clearest of the pages, so ’tis the one I saved.

  6. Beth Terry says:

    Hi Vanessa. I would imagine that the Visine stung because of the preservatives in it. Most eye drops that are sold in a bottle contain preservatives to keep bacteria from growing in them and blinding you. But many people are sensitive to them.

    Now, a lot of eye drops come in plastic, single-use vials. These don’t contain preservatives because they are exposed to the air briefly. They only contain enough fluid for one or two doses. Of course, if you have to use these a lot, you are throwing out a lot of plastic!

    I would be really careful about making your own eye drops. Did you see all the warnings before that recipe? Blindness is not a good price to pay for trying to be environmentally responsible.

    I know a lot about eye drops because I suffer from a chronic condition called recurrent corneal erosion where the top layer of my cornea basically rips off a few times a month if I’m not really, really good about using my eye drops. Yeah, it hurts. As much or more than you’d imagine.

    So I do use the single-use vials of Refresh Endura eye drops because they’re the only thing that works for me and I give myself a break on medical issues. If anyone else out there has a better idea for how I can keep my eyes lubricated and my corneas intact without throwing away so much plastic, I’d love to hear!!!

  7. Alina says:

    What about simple saline solution, like shanululu said. I think its the best alternative and should work just as well…

  8. Emmanuel says:

    I get bad eye and respiratory problems from cats- but when I take claritin (max size of ~100 per bottle to save on packaging) I feel like a normal person!!! So perhaps the indirect solution of controlling histamine may be less complicated then figuring out ways to wash out your eyes, and I think it’s a better way to avoid anything like eye infections or whatever.

  9. doyourealizewp says:

    Vanessa, the sting is from the antihistamines in the drops… the sting means they’re working, and it should go away quickly (that’s the case with our OpCon drops). If you’re looking for relief from the itching in your eyes, normal saline probably won’t do the trick. Sorry. 😦

  10. senseofbalance says:

    Normal saline gives only symptomatic relief; and any homemade sort will be too concentrated. Beth Terry above is talking a lot of sense; at least the single-dose alternative spreads your throwing-away over a longer period and will reduce your carbon output by a few micro-micrograms at a time.

  11. blah says:

    Try using preservative free eyedrops. I had Lasik surgery about 7 years ago and the doctor told me under no circumstances was I to go anywhere near Visine. He said that the only thing I should use are preservative free eyedrops. I made the bad choice of using Visine several months after I had surgery and it burned like crazy.

    Preservative free drops come in either little individual tubes (which I don’t think you would approve of) or the standard size eyedrop bottle. The little tubes are not practical because you can’t close them back up once you open them. Good luck. Allergies suck.

  12. Debre says:

    Go to your health food store and ask what they carry. I use Similisan homeopathic eye drops #1. They come in a glass bottle, but the cap and dropper are plastic. It lasts a long time, though, because they are great. Good luck!

  13. Sarah says:

    Hey Vanessa,
    I would be wary of making my own eyedrops, unless I was using fresh water each time, and I boiled it first to sterilize it. The last thing you need is an eye infection, and then you’d just be using even MORE plastic!

  14. Kim says:

    I use the Similsan stuff that Debre recommends. It’s pretty great.

  15. A soft cloth soaked in water and gently wiped across the eye (lightly closed) can help ease some allergy-type symptoms, but it won’t eliminate them.

  16. Lindsey says:

    This probably won’t help your allergies, but if you want natural tears quick, slice an onion! Works every time for me.

  17. garylee123 says:

    Cut a potato in half and place on closed eyes. Works for welding flash burn.

%d bloggers like this: