Acetylcysteine for dry eyes

  • These drops act as artificial tears.
  • Your vision may be blurred immediately after using the drops. Do not drive unless your vision is clear.
  • Do not wear soft contact lenses while you are using these eye drops unless your doctor has told you otherwise.

About acetylcysteine

Type of medicine Eye lubricant
Used for Dry eyes
Also called Ilube®
Available as Eye drops

Acetylcysteine works by reducing the stickiness of tears. In the brand Ilube®, it is combined with an ingredient called hypromellose which soothes and lubricates the surface of the eye. These two ingredients together act as artificial tears to help ease dryness and soreness associated with some dry eye conditions, particularly where the dryness is caused by a reduced flow of tears.

Before using acetylcysteine

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start using acetylcysteine eye drops it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to acetylcysteine or to a preservative in any other eye drops.
  • If you wear soft contact lenses.

How to use acetylcysteine eye drops

  • Wash your hands before you use the drops.
  • Remove the plastic disc, metal ring and rubber bung from the top of the bottle. Take the plastic dropper from the packet and push it on to the bottle. Unscrew the plastic cap.
  • Tilt your head back a little and pull your lower eyelid down to form a pocket between your eyelid and eye.
  • Bring the dropper near to your eye. Try not to touch your eye as you do this.
  • Gently squeeze to release one drop. Only if you think that you have missed your eye should you release a second drop.
  • Close your eye for a minute or two, and press gently on the side of your nose where the corner of your eye meets your nose. This helps to stop the drop from draining away and keeps it in your eye.
  • If you need to use the drops in both eyes, repeat the above steps for your other eye.
  • Replace the cap.
  • Wash your hands again.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Before you start using these eye drops, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
  • Use one drop into the eye (or eyes) affected by dryness. You can do this 3 or 4 times each day unless you have been told otherwise by your doctor.
  • Take care not to touch your eye, fingers, or any other surface with the dropper of the bottle. This could contaminate the drops left in the bottle.
  • If you forget to use the drops at the correct time, do not worry, just use them when you remember. Do not double up to make up for a missed dose.
  • If you are using any other eye drops or ointments, leave about ten minutes between applying each one.
  • When first put in, these eye drops may cause blurred vision. This should quickly clear. Make sure you can see clearly before you drive, use machines or do any other jobs which could be dangerous if you were unable to see properly.
  • Do not wear soft contact lenses while you are using these eye drops unless your doctor has advised you otherwise. This is because there is a preservative in the drops which can affect soft contact lenses.

Can these eye drops cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Possible acetylcysteine eye drop side-effects What can I do if I experience this?
Eye irritation or redness If this continues, speak with your doctor for advice

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to these eye drops, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store acetylcysteine eye drops

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
  • Eye drops only keep for four weeks once the bottle has been opened, so do not use these drops if the bottle has been open for longer than this. This will help to prevent the risk of eye infections.