Blindness from misuse of over-the-counter eye medications.

M. B. Rumelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Blindness from misuse of over-the-counter (OTC) eye drop preparations is reported. This is a previously unreported category of visual loss. Four eyes were blinded in three patients who used OTC preparations when they suffered angle-closure glaucoma. Another eye suffered a reduction in vision from 20/20 to 20/200 when the patient treated a subluxed lens implant with OTC preparations for three months. The motivating factors for self treatment by individuals are discussed. These include advertising, lack of education, and a desire to reduce the cost of health care. Since the common OTC eye drops contain alpha-receptor stimulators, it is possible that they may either augment existing mydriasis or precipitate it if used in excessive amounts. It is difficult to estimate the number of cases of blindness from misuse of OTC eye drops. Education of the public about the dangers of self diagnosis and treatment of health problems including the red eye is necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-27, 30
JournalAnnals of ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1988


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