wee drop o' bush wrote:
Thanks for the response...I've always thought that tap water irritated your eyes, so I've not tried it.
I am asthmatic & hay/straw dust, actually dust in general makes my eyes stream and swell up. I honestly couldn't tolerate not rinsing the crud out of them.
Antihistamine eyedrops aren't something I've considered, I'll look into that option. I'm using liquid tears at the minute to keep my eyes from dying out. They really help
Asthma is strongly correlated with atopic ("allergic") symptoms in people. Dust is also a "classic" asthma trigger. Usually if you dig enough, you can find a pretty good family history of it, since it's frequently genetic. Do you ever suffer from skin rashes/eczema/dermatitis as well? If it's really something that bugs you and if you can't avoid the dust, definitely see your doctor. It's treatable. If you're happy with the liquid tears (I'm assuming you're referring to the kind you find in pharmacies etc), then that's probably what I'd stick with.
You are correct about tap water. It should only be used in emergencies to irrigate the eyes. It is no good for routine use.
My point above was that there's essentially not really a "routine" eyewash situation, in the sense that you're either washing debris out or you're not. If you've got other problems (eg hypersensitivity/allergies) then an eyewash will only be of limited usefulness (that is, it will remove any remaining allergenic particles, but it won't reverse the allergic reaction that has already begun). Some eye drops will contain a detergent/lubricant that will improve irritation, or an antihistamine that will reduce the allergic response. Not everyone needs that, though, and there can be issues with long term use of antihistamines.
I get an eyeful of tap water every time I shower, though. Am I (seriously) putting my eyes at risk?
Haha... You have the perfect username/post combination!
Unless you live in a developing country or use an unfiltered non-municipal water supply (eg rainwater tanks), or there's something else unusual with your water, you should have nothing to worry about with this. Some municipalities will have larger amounts of chlorine/chloramines than others in the water, but it's not enough to do damage to your eyes from exposures like showers. Swimming pools, for instance have far (FAR) greater quantities of these chemicals, and generally only cause mild irritation after prolonged exposure. Swimming in sea water (which is extremely hypertonic compared to the fluids that compose the inside of the eye) presents an equally steep chemical gradient, but again, the membranes of the outer eye perform their job well. Generally speaking, if the water is potable, then it should
be ok for the eye. Your lips and the inside of your mouth (and GI tract) along with the insides of your eyelids and the conjunctivae of your eyes are all mucosal membranes of your body that share similar characteristics when it comes to defense against the outside world. As long as it's an uncomplicated problem (i.e. not a foreign body impalement), clean running tap water is quite safe if you need to get small debris out of your eye.