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Eyedrops for Seasonal Allergies: What to Know Before You Buy

Sneezes, sniffles, and snot — oh my! The spring season is upon us and so are the allergies that come with it. 

We’ve already talked about Dr. Neal’s top supplements for seasonal allergies and how to combat mucus-filled throats with wellness practices, but you know what else you have to keep an eye out for? Pollen, allergens, and airborne irritants that can pester your peepers. 

When temperatures start to rise, so do eyedrops sales. But not all of these droppers of liquid relief are the outstanding ocular offerings they’re made out to be. Many unethical brands actually turn a blind eye to proper manufacturing practices. 

As a result, scores of ineffective and even dangerous eyedrops have made it onto the market. What’s a watery-eyed wellness seeker to do? 

Luckily, our resident Wellness Wizard and visionary holistic health advocate, Dr. Neal, has shared his industry-insider perspective on keeping your eye on the prize. Don’t wait and see — scroll on to learn why buying the right eyedrops is so important and what to look for in the products you choose. 

In This Article: 

Eyedrops Quality: Why You Should Care

Whether your eyes trend towards red and dry or weepy and whiney, we’re willing to bet you’ve partaken in a drop or two throughout your life. And who could blame you?! 

Itchy, irritated eyes can make day-to-day tasks feel like Herculean efforts, especially during windy and pollen-heavy seasons like this one. But our eyes, as powerful as they are, are incredibly intricate organs. 

Corneas, for example, have nearly 800 nerve endings per square inch, making them particularly sensitive to damage. The tear film, which covers our eyes in a balanced combination of water, mucin, and lipids, is also susceptible to disruptions that can affect our eyes’ ability to stay moist and free of debris. 

That’s the first reason why you really should — nay, must — give a crap about the stuff you put in your eyes: They’re extremely delicate

That, and the fact the natural health industry isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

Loose regulations and even looser standards are the hallmarks of the wellness sphere, and hundreds of companies stand to profit from this lack of consistent oversight. In fact, the claims you see on the labels of supplement products, including eyedrops, aren’t based on science — they’re purely optics. 

Learn More: Staying Well During Allergy Season

Eyedrops from Natural Health Brands 

While normally we’re all about empowering the individual to take their health and wellness education into their own hands, we don’t see eye-to-eye with most brands when it comes to eyedrops. 

Especially considering that most natural health brands can’t even make simple supplements without using sleight of hand and sleazy schemes to sell their products. Think we’re being unfair? Let’s take a moment to remember all the many turmeric supplements that are loaded with lead chromate to give them that delightfully golden hue. 

Or the other heavy metals that make their way into supplements — like arsenic, which was found hiding in 5% of supplement products surveyed in a recent study. 

Eyedrop Recalls of 2023

Conversations about the dangers of poorly manufactured and untested eyedrops have become increasingly prevalent as more brands get caught cutting corners. In 2023 alone, several eyedrop products were recalled for giving more than consumers bargained for: 

  • Dr. Berne’s MSM Drops 5% Solution
  • LightEyez MSM Eye Drops — Eye Repair
  • EzriCare Artificial Tears

The FDA pulled the first two from shelves last year because they could contain bacterial or fungal contamination. Or both. That very same FDA warned that consumers with signs of an eye infection seek medical care as contaminated eyedrops could “result in minor to serious vision-threatening infection which could possibly progress to a life-threatening infection.”

The third product to get recalled was once known for its irritation relief but is now known for its drug-resistant bacterium.

After receiving reports of permanent vision loss, the CDC issued a warning to consumers stating that 55 patients in 12 different states tested positive for a strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa that had not been detected in the country before. Which, if you didn’t know, is an ultra-rare form of meningitis.

And yes, this outbreak via eyedrops was linked to one confirmed death. So it’s not just your eye health on the line, it’s your life, too. 

What to Look for in Your Eyedrops 

If any of those eyedrop brands have found their way into your supplement cabinet… Run, don’t walk, to the garbage bin. (And by that, we mean to dispose of them safely, following Dr. Neal’s guidelines.)

But these news stories aren’t meant to scare you into sleeping with one eye open.  They’re intended to bolster your discerning eye and help you see through the marketing materials on the front label of your favorite eyedrops. 

Looking past these optical illusions, there are three things to look for in eyedrops before buying:

  1. They’re sterile — And there’s some verification of sterility that you can trust. Remember, the aforementioned brands seemed quite sterile to consumers at first glance, too. 
  2. They’re osmotic — Which means they don’t cause water to move in and out of the eye. 
  3. They’re tested — For heavy metals in particular, as well as other contaminants of the bacterial and fungal nature. 

However, in your research, you’ll find it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a well-meaning dry-eye sufferer to locate a brand with data-backed, peer-reviewed studies to verify the efficacy and safety of their eyedrops. 

So what does Dr. Neal recommend for those of us who don’t have loads of free time to deep dive every eyedrop manufacturer on the market? Choose prescription-based eyedrops.

Now, don’t get us wrong, the pharmaceutical industry isn’t without its issues.

But it does have significantly more oversight from the powers that be, and that is critical for finding eyedrops that won’t kill you. 

Many prescription eyedrops have been made available to consumers over the counter — those are your best bet for safe and soothing ocular options. It’s really not worth the risk to cheap out on eyedrops, as you’ve now seen with your own two eyes.

We Can See Clearly Now

TL;DR: Don’t buy eyedrops from supplement companies, because supplement companies can barely make supplements, let alone effective formulas for eye relief. 

Instead, spend your cold hard cash on eyedrops that have been vetted for sterility — namely those prescription formulas that are now available OTC at many pharmacies and rug stores. 

And if this boat-rocking, eye-opening information on the dangers of eyedrops has you in tears, give us a call. Our supplement strategists and holistic wellness experts are available to chat about your unique eyeballs and specific health concerns via Counterside Consult at any time. 

Or at least almost any time — we need some good shut-eye every once in a while, too. 


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