Every time 39-year-old Srikanta Chaudhari suffered from eye irritation, she used a few drops of the steroid-based medication kept next to her bed. Around three years ago, the Gowalia Tank resident was prescribed these eye drops by an ophthalmologist just for five days.
However, Chaudhari continued to use the medicine beyond the prescribed period because it gave her “great relief”. She continued to use her old prescription to get the medicine from chemists.
“The irritation in my eyes would subside with the drops,” said Chaudhari.
A few months ago when Chaudhari started complaining of vision loss, her family took her to another ophthalmologist, who diagnosed cataract in both her eyes. “She [doctor] told me that I had developed cataract because I was using these drops for a long period. I could not understand how a medicine could trigger another ailment,” said Chaudhari, who was operated for her right eye cataract last month.
Doctors said that steroid-based eye drops that promise quick relief are available over the counter, allowing patients easy access to them.
“As they [drops] give fast relief compared to non-steroid drops, many patients go overboard and keep using them for a longer period than what was prescribed,” said an ophthalmologist, who operated on Chaudhari in a private hospital in south Mumbai.
“The patient had minor complaints of irritability, which did not need these kind of drops.”