The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Newsclip: Visine risks highlighted by ballplayer...

Rowand back in lineup after vision problem

DelawareOnline, August 12

Rowand left the series opener against Atlanta after striking out in the first inning and went to Wills Eye Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a scratched eyeball caused by allergies and dry eyes. The Phillies center fielder received ointment and eye drops and was seeing clearly enough to go 1-for-4 with a homer Saturday night.

"I guess it was the combination of my eyes being dry, so they scratch easier, and they got worse when I put the Visine in my eye."

Sigh. There are so many consumer pitfalls out there for people with dry eye who have not yet been to a doctor for advice. I have a particular grudge against Visine because of the deliberate use of the Visine brand to sell artificial tear products. There are 9 (count 'em) products in the "There's a Visine for that" lineup - SIX of which (including some marketed specifically for dry eye) contain benzalkonium chloride, which any optometrist or ophthalmologist that's not a complete dunce would tell any dry eye patient to avoid at all costs. And many vasoconstrictors now say they are also lubricants. If what this ballplayer picked up was the "get the red out" stuff, it's exactly the wrong thing to put on a dry eye. But how do people know that? They don't.

Moral of the story: If you think you may have dry eyes, GET THEE TO A DOCTOR, and get some decent advice before dumping any over-the-counter product in your eye.