Opticrom is a brand of eye drops that contain the active ingredient sodium cromoglicate, a medication that provides relief of eye symptoms like irritated, red, watery, and itchy eyes caused by hay fever and other allergies like animal/pet allergies. It is suitable for adults and children and is available without a prescription. Other brands of sodium cromoglicate eye drops include Optrex and Murine. As they all contain the same active ingredient at the same strength, they are all considered equally effective.
Sodium cromoglicate eye drops can be used alone or as an add-on medication with other allergy medications like an oral antihistamine or steroid nasal spray. Sodium cromoglicate eye drops can be a useful add-on medication if your other allergy medication does not control your eye symptoms.
Sodium cromoglicate eye drops act locally in your eyes and work by reducing the sensitivity of the histamine-producing cells in your eyes (called mast cells, a type of white blood cell), causing them to produce less histamine. When you come into contact with something you are allergic to, such as pollen, your body reacts and triggers cells to release histamine in response. Histamine causes the typical symptoms of an allergy, such as eye-watering, itching, redness, and irritation. Therefore, sodium cromoglicate eye drops help prevent and relieve the discomfort caused by the allergy. Sodium cromoglicate is not technically classed as an antihistamine medication, as it does not directly work against histamine. However, it does prevent your cells from producing it. Instead, sodium cromoglicate is classed as a mast cell stabiliser.
The recommended dosage is one or two drops in each eye four times a day. Contact lenses should be removed before using the drops and not reinserted for at least 15 minutes. If you are using them for hay fever, it is best to use them regularly every day when high pollen levels are expected to help prevent your symptoms before they occur. However, you should check with your pharmacist or doctor before using the product for more than fourteen days. You should discard the bottle four weeks after first opening it, as using it beyond this period could lead to you developing an eye infection.
Although sodium cromoglicate eye drops are generally considered safe for most people to use, you should discuss with your pharmacist or doctor before using them if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or if the medication is for a child below 6 years of age. You should also avoid the medication if you have previously had an allergic reaction to sodium cromoglicate or another ingredient listed in the medication.
Unlike some medications, sodium cromoglicate eye drops are not linked with causing lots of side effects. This is largely because only a small percentage of the medication from the eye drops is absorbed into your body. To reduce the risk of this, watch our video on how to instil eye drops like Pataday. The main side effects people experience when using sodium cromoglicate eye drops are stinging or burning in the eyes or blurred vision immediately after applying the drops. However, this usually only lasts for a short period of time and is nothing to be concerned about. If any side effects become bothersome, you should speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
If you have pain, red eyes, or bothersome symptoms and wear contact lenses, you should speak to your doctor urgently, as serious infections are more common.
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