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What should I know about using carboxymethylcellulose eye drops?

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Carboxymethylcellulose eye drops are intended for people with dry eyes or eye irritation. If you suffer from dry eyes, you can use artificial tear products containing carboxymethylcellulose to temporarily ease the symptoms. Carboxymethylcellulose eye drops can also be used to prevent dry eye before it becomes symptomatic. You may also want to use these eye products if your eyes are irritated from being exposed to the sun or wind.

You should use carboxymethylcellulose eye drops exactly as directed on the package label or as directed by your doctor. Wash your hands before and after you use these products. With your finger, pull your lower eyelid down to create a pocket (tip your head back if you are using the drops). Insert the proper number of drops or amount of gel into the pocket. Do not touch the applicator to your eye or your hands. If you are using the gel, look down before you close your eye. If you are using the drops, close your eye and hold your finger over your eye's inside corner for one minute.

There are few risks associated with using arboxymethylcellulose eye drops, an eye lubricant found in over-the-counter artificial tear products. An allergic reaction to this drug is possible, so seek emergency care if you experience facial swelling, breathing difficulties, hives or itchy rash. It is also possible that your eye could get infected if germs get on the product's applicator. Check with your doctor before using carboxymethylcellulose eye products while you have contact lenses in your eyes.

You should always tell your doctor about any medications that you use, including artificial tear products that contain carboxymethylcellulose. If you are taking other eye medicines, you should get your doctor's consent before using carboxymethylcellulose. You may need to stop taking this eye lubricant if you are going to have eye surgery, if you injure your eye or if your eye gets infected.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.