Frequent Questions about PostOp Drops

1.  Do I really need to use the prescribed eye drops after surgery even if I feel fine?

Yes.  The postoperative eye drops are prescribed in order to minimize the risk of complications as well as helping to keep you comfortable.   

2.  The drops sting.  Can I stop using them?

No.  It is normal for the drops to sting.  The degree of sting ranges from not at all to a lot depending on the outer surface of the eye. The drier the surface is, the more an eye drop will sting.  Also, some individuals have eyes that are just more “sensitive” and so stinging by itself isn’t a sign of a problem.  You may use artificial tears between your administrations of post-operative eye medication to help with the dryness and to minimize the sting.  Please wait about a half hour after administering the post-op drops to begin using the artificial tears to ensure that the post-op drops will not be rinsed out.

3.  Do my drops have to be spaced apart by an exact number of hours?

Of course if you use an eye medicine twice a day, don’t use them too close together. However, it doesn’t have to be a precise interval. Most people find it easy to remember by instilling the drops in the morning and sometime in the evening.

4.  Do I have to continue to use my glaucoma eye drops after cataract surgery?

Yes.  Even if you have had a stent placed during the cataract surgery, you should still continue to use your glaucoma eye drops as you normally would

5.  If I can’t tell if I have gotten a drop into my eye, is it better to put another one in to be sure?

The answer to this question depends on the specific circumstances. In general, yes.  However, the better approach is to be able to tell for certain that you are getting it in after the first application.  So, you can place your drop bottles in the refrigerator to get them cold before instilling them.  That way, you will be able to tell more easily whether they are getting onto the surface of your eye.  If there is someone who can help you to administer your drops, having them put them in may be another option.  Also, if you can tell that the drop hit your eyelashes, you can blink several times to help work it in and then you do not need to instill another drop. Please refer to Chapter 7 of Dr. Chang’s cataract book for patients for helpful hints and illustrations. 

6.  These post-operative drops are really expensive; do I have to get them?

If the cost of the drops is prohibitive, please contact our office to see if there are less expensive alternatives.

7.  Now Rx (the delivery pharmacy) has not contacted me about getting my post-operative eye drops.  What should I do?

Please call Now Rx directly at the following numbers:

If you live in San Jose, call (408) 882-3558

For all other areas, call (650) 386-5761

8.  If I miss doing my post-operative drops, can I put another set in with a short time between them to make up for missing one dose?

Yes – try to make up by using the second set after waiting a few hours.

9.  Does it matter which drop I put in first? (i.e., is there a certain order that the drops need to go in?)

No.  You may place the drops into your eyes in any sequence that you desire.

10.  For how long must I use the eye drops after surgery.

Most patients should use the drops for at least one month. If you run out after 2 or 3 weeks, it is best to refill them. If after one month you still have eye drop medication left, you may continue to use it until it is completely gone. Many patients end up using the eye drops for 6 weeks or even longer before they run out. They are harmless, and help to suppress any unwanted inflammation inside of the eyeball. 

11. Can I use artificial tears in the eye that has had surgery while I am still using the post-operative drops?

Yes, you may certainly resume taking your regular artificial tears, but don’t use them right after putting in your eye medications. Artificial tears are a lubricant used for comfort, and can be purchased over the counter at any pharmacy without a prescription (because they contain no medication). 

12.  Do you have a recommendation for which artificial tear brand I should use?

Systane or Refresh are very popular, but any brand is fine. There is no single brand that is superior. Like choosing a toothpaste, some patients try different brands before deciding on their personal favorite. However, Visine, Clear Eyes, and Lumify are not recommended.  They contain a drug ingredient to get the red out that is not necessary during this post-operative time period.)  

13.  What is the difference between preservative free and preserved artificial tears?

A bottle containing artificial tears can be used multiple times. This is because the bottle contains a small amount of chemical preservative to prevent bacteria from growing inside the bottle. If you use the artificial tears regularly four times per day or less, using this form of artificial tear is fine. 

If your eye is particularly irritated and dry, and you need to use tears more than 4 times daily, preservative free artificial tears are a good choice. Preservative free artificial tears have no ingredients that prevent bacteria from growing inside the vial once it is opened. You have to throw away the small plastic vial after it is empty. Since there are no preservatives, though, you may use these artificial tears as often as you would like without experiencing irritation.

14.  Can I use allergy drops while still using the post-operative eye drops?

Yes.  There is no adverse drug reaction with these drops.  However, the post-operative steroid drop also suppresses allergy symptoms, so you may find that you won’t need the additional allergy drops.

15.  If I have a post-op eye exam appointment, should I still do my post-operative eye drops that day?  

Yes, please.  Use them as you normally would.  The post-operative eye drops will not interfere with the exam.

16.  If I have had one surgery already and have a second eye surgery coming up, can I use the drops for both eyes?

You can use the same bottles for each eye.

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