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What Are Systane Eye Drops? + Side Effects

Views: 27423
Reviewed by Nymark M, PhD on November 4, 2016

Systane is a form of artificial tear that is used to help treat different types of dry eye conditions. This eye or ocular lubricant reduces feelings of grittiness, burning, and irritation. What’s more, these Systane eye drops can be used multiple times throughout the day without experiencing any negative effects or chances for addiction. This medication can be obtained either through a prescription or simply over the counter in many pharmacies. However, it is worth noting that as with any kind of medication, Systane drops can sometimes have side effects.

What Are Systane Eye Drops?

Systane eye drops are primarily used for treating irritated or dry eyes. Some of the most common causes of dry eye include exposure to too much light, wind, heating or air conditioning, or spending too much time reading or using a computer. In some cases, it is possible to experience dry eye simply because you are currently taking certain medication. In many people, the Meibomian glands are unable to produce the right amount and quality of tears.

Eye lubricants and artificial tears like Systane help to keep the eye moist, and protect the eyes from infection and injury, while decreasing the usual symptoms of itching, burning, grittiness, or a sensation that there is something stuck in your eye. Importantly, artificial tears and eye lubricants are better than eye drops because they do not contain anything that your eyes could become addicted to over time. This means that you can continue to get the same level of relief after every use.

Precautions with Systane

Before using Systane, it’s important to evaluate the potential side effects carefully so that you know how to prepare yourself for possible problems, and what you should be looking out for after frequent exposure to the substance. Remember to speak to your pharmacist or doctor if you have any allergies, and keep in mind that the product can contain ingredients which might lead to allergic reactions.

An ocular lubricant is generally not expected to harm a baby, which means that it can often be used by pregnant women or breast feeding mothers. Nevertheless, it is still advisable to inform your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Inform your physician also if you have an infection in your eye, or if you are suffering from any other kind of illness or health condition.

Keep in mind that your doctor is already aware of any possible interactions that might take place between your new drops and other medications that you have been taking. Before using the product, you should always ensure that you tell your doctor about any prescription or non-prescription drugs that you might use, as well as herbal products and supplements.

What to Expect When Using Systane Eye Lubricant

Remember that just because you experience a small amount of discomfort when using Systane lubricant, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are suffering from side effects. Like many other ointments, it can lead to temporary instances of blurred vision immediately after you apply it to your eye. Remember not to operate machinery, drive, or do any activity that might require clear vision until you are fully certain that your vision is clear.

Regardless of how your dry eye condition is affecting you at any given time, it is important that you do not try to use the drops in larger or smaller amounts than have been recommended. It is also worth noting that you should not attempt to use it for a longer or shorter time than has been prescribed. In addition, most experts recommend that you should not use this when you are wearing contact lenses. It can include preservatives that can discolor contact lenses.

To apply the drops:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly then tilt your head backwards and pull your lower eyelid away from your eye to create a small pouch. Hold the dropper above the eye with the tip pointing downwards and squeeze out a drop.
  • Turn your head downwards gently, then close your eyes for two minutes or so, without squinting or blinking if possible. It’s a good idea to press your finger gently against the inside corner of your eye for about a minute to prevent the liquid from draining through the tear duct.
  • Always ensure that you only use the exact number of drops that has been prescribed to you by your doctor. If you have to use more than a single drop, wait for at least five minutes before applying the next drop. It’s also worth waiting about ten minutes before you use any other drops or ointments that have been prescribed to you.

Never use Systane eye drops if the liquid within the bottle has changed color. If you notice particles in the liquid, or anything seems strange about the substance, don’t use it. Do not touch the tip of the applicator to any surface, including your eye as it could lead to an infection in your eye. If you find that your vision doesn’t improve over time, make sure that you speak to your doctor about changing medication.

The Common Side Effects of Systane

As mentioned previously, you might feel a small amount of burning, or experience blurred vision when you first use this product. However, if any of these symptoms persist for a longer time or they become worse, then you will need to speak to your doctor.

Having a serious allergic reaction to this form of drug is rare. However, it is worth seeking immediate attention from a medical professional if you notice any symptoms that might indicate that you have an allergy to any of the ingredients. Allergic reaction symptoms might include the sudden presence of a rash, itching, swelling in the tongue or throat, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing. Stop using the Systane ocular lubricant immediately if you notice any of the following side effects:

  • Eye pain or irritation that lasts longer than a couple of minutes after application
  • Changes or blurring in your vision that persist after application
  • Severe stinging, burning or eye irritation that occurs following the use of the medication

The most common side effects include inflammation of the cornea, pain, or keratitis. In rare circumstances it is also possible to incur and infection in the eye. Less common side effects include sensitivity to light, swollen eyelids, increased pressure in the eyes, corneal ulcers and scratches, and watery eyes. Other common side effects include:

  • A mild burning or itchy sensation
  • Redness around or in the eyes
  • Tearing or increased watery eyes
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth

Though serious reactions to Systane are generally quite uncommon, it’s important to watch out for any systemic or nervous system disorders that might occur as a result of frequent exposure to various medications like Systane. For instance, it is possible to experience convulsions and pain in the ears and gums.

Resources and References:

Systane Eye Drops Side Effects – Side effects and allergic reactions from Systane (Livestrong.com)

Systane Eye Drop – Information on Systane ocular lubricant, including side effects (ProCanadaDrugs.com)