Let There Be White: LUMIFY is the Red Eye Drop Your Eye Doctor Always Wanted for You

5:41 PM

If you suffer from chronic bloodshot or red eyes, you're used to hearing a lot of unsolicited comments and questions.  "You look tired."  "Are you sick?" "Do you have pink eye?"  You may have even been incorrectly judged at work or by friends and family as being drunk or smoking marijuana.  But for most people with chronic redness, it's a symptom of their personal ocular chemistry and daily environment.  Hours of computer use, inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea or eczema, dry environments like sitting under a vent or fan, working around dyes or chemicals, frequent flying, or driving for long hours with the vents in your car blasting air right at your eyes -- all of these common conditions can lead to recurrent red eyes! For many jobs these work environments are ubiquitous and unavoidable, so to combat the appearance of bloodshot eyes, sufferers turn to the pharmacy eye drop aisle.  Visine and ClearEyes are household names, but how they work to accomplish red eye relief has left plenty to be desired.  Luckily, a new option is no available over the counter that is poised to revolutionize red eye relief for the millions of Americans suffering from the stigma and stereotyping associated with having chronically red eyes!



LUMIFY (brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic solution 0.025%) was FDA approved on December 22, 2017 for the treatment of ocular redness. The drop is a novel approach to treating red eye with less risk for significant rebound redness. If you have historically used red eye drops like Visine or ClearEyes, you may have noticed your eyes look more red a few hours after use.  That's because traditional red eye relief drops work by constricting arterioles, decreasing both blood flow and oxygen getting to the ocular tissue.  Once the drop's constriction effects begin wearing off, the arterioles rebound in size and get to work fast to deliver the oxygen and inflammatory mediators that were being slowed down by the drop.  The result is enlarged artery walls pumping more blood to make up for lost time,  which makes your eyes look redder than they did prior to inserting the drop. Unlike previous red eye drops, LUMIFY acts by constricting the venules on the ocular surface, not the arterioles.  By working specifically on the venules, oxygen flow from the arterioles is maintained to the ocular surface, preventing the risk of rebound redness!


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If you have historically used red eye drops, have you noticed that their effectiveness seems to wear off with time?  Where you might have needed 1 drop a day when you first started using the drop, now you might be up to 4 or 5 times a day, and still feeling like your eyes look red.  This is a real and serious side effect of traditional red eye drops! Another great benefit of LUMIFY over older red eye drops on the market is that it has less risk of tachyphlaxis, or the drop losing effectiveness with time.  Studies have repeatedly shown that as your body is exposed over and over again to nonselective adrenergic vasoconstrictors like those found in Visine, Clear Eyes, and generic red eye relief drops, the body actually downregulates the number of receptor cells for the medication so that the medication's active molecules can't bind!  Your body wants to maintain a steady state, called homeostasis, and if it feels it's getting too much of the vasoconstricting signal, it won't let your arteriole walls respond anymore by actually removing the receptor molecules the eye drop would bind to.  The result?  You keep putting in drops, but don't get any additional relief.  

In 6 clinical trials of LUMIFY and over 600 patients, there was no occurrence of tachyphlaxis or rebound hyperemia. 


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Be Aware of the Risks of Exposure to Preservatives 
Because red eye drops also have preservatives in the bottle, there is an additional side effect of toxic reactions on the surface of the eye from using too much of both traditional red eye drops and LUMIFY.


The preservative in LUMIFY is benzalkonium chloride, which studies show can be toxic to the human cornea at even low doses. Benzalkonium chloride concentrations as low as 0.0001% exposed on the eye for as little as 5 minutes will cause some degree of cell damage to the human cornea and conjunctiva cell tissue. 

Directions
LUMIFY is FDA approved for use to relieve redness in adults and children aged 5 years and older.  Instill 1 drop in the affected eye every 6-8 hours, and do not use more than 4 times a day.  Because of the Benzalkonium chloride preservative used, I personally recommend to my patients to use no more than 1 x a day to help reduce the risk of corneal toxicity. 

LUMIFY works quickly and lasts! 95% of patients saw improvement in red eye appearance in just 1 minute and 79% of patients maintained red eye relief after 8 hours.

Do not use this drop if:

  • you are pregnant or nursing (consult your doctor first)
  • over contact lenses
  • if redness or eye irritation persists for more than 3 days

In my own office, LUMIFY has been wowing my staff and patients alike:



Me Before:


Me 1 minute after instilling LUMIFY:


Take Home  As an optometrist, I'm thrilled to have a red eye drop that I can recommend to patients that offers relief without the side effects that traditional red eye drops have caused.  However, those of you suffering from chronic red eyes still may be dealing with an underlying culprit that a red eye reliever alone can't solve.  Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common causes of chronic redness, and treating the underlying dry eye issue is the best path towards true relief.  Always consult with a doctor if you have recurrent red eye issues, because it could be the signs of a more serious underlying problem!

This post was not sponsored by Bausch & Lomb, and all opinions are my own.

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7 comments

  1. Oh my word! This is amazing! Can you get this over the counter or do you need a doctor's word of approval?

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    1. It is available over the counter, without a prescription. You should be able to find LUMIFY in pharmacies and on Amazon already!

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  2. Miracle eyedrops....Love♥️

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  3. "Because red eye drops also have preservatives in the bottle, there is an additional side effect of toxic reactions on the surface of the eye from using too much of these traditional red eye drops!" Yet you don't mention the benzalkonium chloride contained in Lumify.

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    1. Good point!! I have updated the article to include the risks of BAK. Thank you for alerting me to this!

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  4. What are your thoughts on the use of BAK as the preservative in Lumify? I loved the effect that Lumify had on my eyes when my optometrist let me try it in his office, but given the consistent evidence that BAK is cytotoxic and worsens tear-film quality/quantity, I'm not comfortable using it. I can't fathom why they chose BAK, especially when the studies and approvals for a brimonidine product preserved with Purite have already been done.

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    1. Agreed! Preservative free would be the most ideal!

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