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Hypromellose eye drops

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read
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Hypromellose eye drops are used to relieve symptoms of dry eyes. They are often described as artificial tears used to moisturize and soothe the eyes' surface. They can be useful when you either don’t produce enough natural tears or when your eyes are drying out too fast, causing discomfort. Adults and children can use them; however, it is recommended that you speak to your pharmacist or doctor before using them in children. Some formulations contain preservatives that may irritate. If this is the case, preservative-free formulations are also available.

How do I use it?

One or two drops should be instilled into the eye(s) three times a day as needed or as directed by your doctor.

Here's how to use hypromellose eye drops effectively:

  1. Wash your hands. Before using hypromellose eye drops, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to prevent any contamination of the eye drops.

  2. Prepare the eye drops. Shake the bottle of hypromellose eye drops gently to ensure that the solution is well mixed. Check the expiration date on the bottle and make sure the dropper tip is clean and not damaged.

  3. Tilt your head back. Tilt your head backwards or lie down on a flat surface with your head tilted slightly backward. This position helps to keep the eye drops in the eye and prevents them from running out.

  4. Pull down the lower eyelid. Using your index finger, gently pull down the lower eyelid to create a small pocket between the eyelid and the eye. This will provide a space for the eye drops to be instilled.

  5. Instill the eye drops. Hold the bottle of hypromellose eye drops upside down and carefully squeeze the prescribed number of drops into the pocket formed by the lower eyelid. Be careful not to touch the tip of the dropper to your eye or any other surface to avoid contamination.

  6. Close your eyes. After instilling the eye drops, close your eyes gently and keep them closed for a few seconds to allow the drops to spread evenly over the surface of the eye.

  7. Wipe away excess. If any excess eye drops spill onto your face or eyelid, gently wipe it away with clean tissue.

  8. Repeat if necessary. If you need to administer more than one drop or if using eye drops in both eyes, repeat the process for the other eye.

  9. Replace the cap. After using the eye drops, replace the cap on the bottle and ensure it is tightly closed to prevent contamination and evaporation of the solution.

  10. Avoid touching your eyes. Try not to touch your eyes or rub them after using hypromellose eye drops to prevent any potential irritation or infection.

How does it work?

Hypromellose eye drops work by lubricating and soothing the surface of the eye. A lack of natural tear production can cause dry eyes or because your tears are evaporating too rapidly, causing your eyes to dry out. This can be due to your environment, such as in air-conditioned buildings or dry, windy conditions. They are often described as artificial tears as they fulfill the role of your natural tears. It does not contain any active drugs and is purely a lubricant for the eyes.

Should anyone avoid using them?

You should consult your pharmacist or doctor before using them in children. You should not use these eye drops if you are allergic to the ingredient hypromellose.

Are there any side effects?

As with any medications, some people are bound to get unwanted side effects. Common ones include temporary blurred vision, irritation, and stinging. Some people experience irritation due to the preservative used in some products. If you suspect this may be the cause speak to your pharmacist, who may suggest using a preservative-free formulation.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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