Visine // is a brand of eye drops produced by Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson acquired Visine, along with Pfizer's entire consumer healthcare portfolio, in December 2006. In some countries it is called Vispring.
The active ingredients in the original Visine formulation are potassium chloride and tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride which is a vasoconstrictor, and therefore constricts the eye's superficial blood vessels.
- Those using Visine Original frequently report stinging and burning upon application.
- Use of this product can cause a rebound effect causing the redness to worsen. Prolonged use can cause blood vessels to be dilated for an extended period of time. Use should be limited unless specified by a doctor.
- A red eye may often be indicative of more serious underlying ocular condition; simply reducing blood flow to the area won't solve the condition and may even exacerbate symptoms.
- These drops are also not advised for contact lens wearers because decreased blood flow to the surface of the eye will further lower the levels of oxygen available to the eye.
- Visine is not to be used by patients with glaucoma since the production of more liquids only contributes to the problem of high pressure within the eye.
A common urban legend is that a few drops of Visine in an unsuspecting victim's drink will cause a harmless bout of diarrhea. This will not produce diarrhea, but oral administration of Visine can induce dangerous side effects related to Visine's ingredient tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride such as:
- Dangerously low body temperature (hypothermia)
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty in breathing or even a complete halt in breathing
- Elevating (hypertension) then dropping (hypotension) blood pressure
- Possible coma
- Seizures and tremors
Anyone ingesting Visine should get medical attention or contact a poison control center immediately.
Visine is formulated in several varieties:
VISINE A.C. - Astringent/Redness Reliever Eye Drops (Tetrahydrozoline HCl 0.05%, Zinc sulfate 0.25%)
- Special formula for allergens, such as ragweed, dust, or pollen.
VISINE FOR CONTACTS - For Silicone Hydrogel and Hydrophilic lenses
- Used primarily for comfort during the day, moistening upon awakening and before sleep.
VISINE L.R. (Oxymetazoline HCI 0.025%)
- A longer-lasting formula that lasts for up to 6 hours.
- See artificial tears.
- Antihistamine combined with a vasoconstrictor for itchy eyes associated with allergy.
- Includes HYDROBLEND®, which acts as a moisturizer. Lasts up to 10 hours.
- Multi-Symptom Relief. Lubricant / Astrigent Redness Reliever Eye Drops (Relief for: red, burning, watery, itchy, gritty, dry, irritated eyes.)
In popular culture
The effect of Visine causing upset stomach when being ingested is depicted in the movie Wedding Crashers where John Beckwith portrayed by Owen Wilson poisons Sack's (Bradley Cooper) drink causing him to vomit all night. John Beckwith also uses the Visine several times over the course of the film to fake crying. This movie has gained notoriety for encouraging the deadly prank of putting Visine eyedrops in drinking water bottles, threatening severe or fatal injury to drinkers.
The urban myth about Visine is also perpetuated in the movie version of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (film). In the movie, the main character Tucker Max played by Matt Czuchry is making fun of two women at the bar, one of them squirts Visine into his beer bottle. This leads to Tucker and an allegedly married woman he leaves the bar with to both have explosive diarrhea.
- Skilling Jr, FC; Weaver, TA; Kato, KP; Ford, JG; Dussia, EM (2005). "Effects of two eye drop products on computer users with subjective ocular discomfort". Optometry (St. Louis, Mo.). 76 (1): 47–54. doi:10.1016/s1529-1839(05)70254-2. PMID 15682562.
- "Visine Original". Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNeil.
If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.— under Warnings
- "Student jailed for 90 days for putting eyedrops into her room-mate's water after seeing stunt on Wedding Crashers". Daily Mail. London. 2011-09-19.