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Do not use this product on the eyes

Do not use this product on the eyes

Eye health is often neglected.

"Only when there is a problem do you become grateful for your health," said Dr. Michelle Holmes, an ophthalmologist at the California Neuroscience Institute.

There is a lot you can do to protect the health of your eyes. You can continue with your annual eye exams, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.

But there's one habit you should never do, even though it may seem like eye care: Don't use red eye drops.

"My concern with these types of drops is that they can be used by someone to mask a rash and, often, that rash is a symptom of a more serious condition," Holmes said.

When your eye is irritated, the blood vessels located at the front of the eye will dilate and swell.

Anti-inflammatory drops target these blood vessels and temporarily make the eyes look good again, but they can mask the problem at hand.

"It can make you think everything is fine with your eyes, when really it could be something pretty serious going on," Holmes said. It's a band-aid, not a fix, she added.

This rash can help your eye doctor detect eye diseases. With certain eye conditions, time is of the essence. If left untreated, they can worsen and lead to complications, including infections and, in severe cases, vision loss.

There are other tools you can use instead.

Whenever a patient tells Holmes they use eye drops, she recommends they opt for artificial tears instead. Her tip: use preservative-free drops — "they're gentler on the eyes," she explained.