Pros: Cool, soothing, effective rinse meant for the removal of irritants from eyes.
Cons: Very expensive, very easy to contaminate.
Last year, something happened to me that had never, ever happened before. Something really sort of . . . well, horrible. Gross. Disgusting.
I got an eye infection.
Now, I spent my early teens with a perpetual eye infection. My poor eyes were constantly red and sore, and I often awoke with my eyelashes plastered together, sealing my eyes shut.
This wasnt that.
It started with my eye a bit gooier than normal, but quickly progressed (deteriorated) to something a lot more painful. Soon I had long strings of guck obscuring my sight and the feeling that I had large grains of sand (BOULDERS) under my eyelid. Some attempts to remove these long strings were met with considerable painthey were attached under the lid. After a couple of days, I broke down and went to the clinic, where the over-worked and under-helpful PA examined me and insisted that there was nothing wrong. He didnt see a thing. I actually went before the mirror, pulled up the eyelid, and worked out one of these long (about an inch), gooey bits of horror and held it out to him. He wasnt impressed, said he didnt believe I had an infection.
After a lot of screaming on my part, I managed to wrangle a prescription for an antibiotic eye drop (no, Im not one of those) and a vague, I dont knowI suppose you could rinse it out when its bothering you bit of advice from the PA.
Rinse it out? Wow, that sounds heavenly! Rinse it out with WHAT?
Well, I went to the grocery store, determined to pick up a saline solution of some sortsomething meant specifically for the eyes. And thats where I saw it: Alcon Eye Stream Eye Rinse Solution.
I had never even suspected that a product like this might exist! There are actually enough people who need to rinse out their eyes that some company makes a product designed for exactly that?
Apparently so! Alcon Eye Stream Eye Rinse Solution comes in a white box with green and blue waves and the eye-watering words Eye Stream. I say eye watering because, even now, looking at the box makes my eyes water.
Inside the box is a screw-capped, 4 ounce squeeze bottle containing a sterile, buffered salt solution designed to resemble tears. I admit itI was a bit troubled by the idea of using it. I dont know why, just the whole dont squirt stuff in your eyes thing, I guess. But my eyes hurt, and something had to be done.
Once I screwed up the courage to use Alcon Eye Stream Eye Rinse Solution, it went something like this:
Open eyelid with other hand
Squirt clear liquid on nose
This went on for a few minutes, until I managed to master aiming. Flushing power/flow is controlled by pressure on the bottle. The biggest problem I had (aside from the sopping stream of Alcon Eye Stream Eye Rinse Solution I was wearing on my shirt) was that the flushing wasnt a lasting thing, i.e., the stuff squirts in, the stuff runs out instantly. It felt heavenly while it was going on, but it sure didnt do much in the long term.
Thats when a friends mom, who is a nurse, saved me. She said, You know, in the office we use eye cups for that.
Eye cups? What on earth are THOSE? Well, it turns out that there are small, eye-socket shaped cups out there that can be used for flushing/irrigating the eyes! I called the clinic (got a Doctor this time), and was told that they often use squirty eye irrigation products with eye cups! Of course, I ran right back to the store and snapped me up a package of eye cups! Following the directions, I put the Alcon Eye Stream Eye Rinse Solution into the cup, then bent over, pressed the cup into place, then tipped my head back.
Ohhh, joy! Cool, soothing, blissful ecstasy! I opened my eye, rolled it around, swished this way and that, and I could feel those horrid, painful blobs under my eyelids sliding away! A minute or so of washing, then out it all goes, cup and all! No mess on my shirt, no missing my eye, just a cool, soothing, cleansing wash that left my eye feeling oh, so much better!
Now, of great concern with Alcon Eye Stream Eye Rinse Solution (and any like eye rinse) is keeping the product unsullied. The last thing you want to do with an eye infection is touch the nozzle of the bottle to your EYE! That allows the germs into the bottle, and next thing you know, youre putting a contaminated, germ-y product into your eyes. BAD! So always take care to not touch the nozzle with either your hands or your eye/face. In fact, dont touch it to anything. At all. If you do, Id advise discarding it and buying new. Its pricey ($24.00 or so for one 4 ounce bottle), but not as pricey as damaging your eye. Obviously, if the clear solution becomes cloudy or otherwise unclear, its time to ditch it.
Ingredients-wise, Alcon Eye Stream Eye Rinse Solution sounds . . . toxic. It sounds like something you couldnt pay me to put in my eye. Good thing I used it before reading the label. Otherwise, I might have chickened out: Tinicity Agents: Sodium Chloride 0.64%, Potassium Chloride 0.0175%, Calcium Chloride Dihydrate 0.048%, Magnesium Chloride Hexahydrate 0.03%. Buffering Agents: Sodium Acetate Trihydrate 0.39%, Sodium Citrate Dihydrate 0.17%. pH Adjusters: Sodium Hydroxide and/or Hydrochloric Acid. Preservative: Benzalkonium Chloride 0.013%. Purified Water. This product is one of those rare substances that's better to put it in your eye than ingest. If you DO ingest it, seek professional treatment immediately.
This product isn't for treating wounds or other eye injuries unless directed so by a physician!
In all, I have to say that Alcon Eye Stream Eye Rinse Solution was a near-miracle. While the results only lasted a couple of hours, that was a couple of hours that I didnt feel like I had sunscreen-soaked sand under my eyelid. I would recommend this product to anyone whose doctor has recommended eye irrigation. I put that in bold because this isnt fun and games, and I wouldnt advise habitually rinsing out the eyes with anything unless a doctor or eye-doctor has recommended such.
Oh, in case youre wondering? The antibiotic workedthere was an immediate improvement after one day on abx. The prescription ran out (he only prescribed four days) and the infection rebounded instantly. A new prescription (different antibiotic, ten days this time) and the infection was knocked out for good. Sometimes it pays to push.