Attitude and practice of Saudi population towards self-medication with over the counter ophthalmic preparations

Amjad M. Alharbi, Marya A. Alsuhaibani, Suraka Rumman, Ahmed Mousa, Ahmad Alaraj


Background: This study was conducted to identify Saudi populations’ attitude and practice towards self-medication with over the counter (OTC) ophthalmic preparations.

Methods: It was cross-sectional online-survey-based study using modified questionnaire from previous study targeting Saudi population (aged 15 years or above). Only who had used OTC ophthalmic preparations were included.

Results: A total of 1426 participants were included and the mean age was 25.5±9.3 years. History of eye diseases were seen in n=860 (60.3%) which is include myopia n=481 (33.7%), dry eye n=296 (20.8%) and vernal keratoconjunctivitis n=180 (12.6%). Fifty four percent of the participants were familiar with OTC preparation (n=767) and n=927 (65.7%) believed that it is not safe to be used. More than one third consider antibiotics, antihistamines and decongestant eye drops as OTC. However, only n=275 (19.5%) think that lubricant eye drops are not under OTC categories. Participants who self-medicated with OTC were n=890 (62.4%), among them n=422 (47.4%) they do not know the names of medication, n=305 (34.3%) used lubricants and n=80 (9%) used antibiotics. Participants received prescription advice from n=208 (39.3%) pharmacists, n=133 (25.1%) relatives’ advice and n=26 (4.9%) from social media. Thirty eight percent use OTC because they used it before, while n=217 (27.7%) used it because of its easily accessibility.

Conclusions: Saudi populations have awareness of various categories of OTC ophthalmic preparations. Despite that, those who used it tend to have poor practice.


Eye drops, Misuse, Ophthalmic preparation, Over the counter

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