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Visine, Vispring
Visine bottle (Australia)
OwnerJohnson & Johnson
MarketsEye drops
Previous ownersPfizer

Visine /ˌvˈzn/ 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.

Visine Original[edit]

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.


Visine is administered topically with 1 to 2 drops applied to the affected eye(s) up to 4 times daily [1].

Adverse effects[edit]

  • Those using Visine Original frequently report stinging and burning upon application.[1]
  • 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.[2]
  • 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.[2]
  • 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.

Side effects[edit]

A common urban legend is that a few drops of Visine in an unsuspecting victim's drink will cause harmless but debilitating bouts of explosive diarrhea, akin to that of a laxative.[3] This will not produce explosive diarrhea, but oral administration of Visine can induce dangerous side effects related to Visine's ingredient tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride such as:

Anyone ingesting Visine should get medical attention or contact a poison control center immediately.[4] Ingesting Visine was shown to be lethal in the case of Lana Clayton, who killed her husband by administering Visine to his drinks over a period of three days in July 2018.[5][6]


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.

VISINE TEARS (Glycerin 0.2%, Hypromellose 0.2%, Polyethylene glycol 400 1% - Used AS NEEDED)

VISINE-A (Formerly OCUHIST) (Naphazoline/pheniramine)

  • Antihistamine combined with a vasoconstrictor for itchy eyes associated with allergy.

VISINE MAXIMUM (Glycerin 0.2%, Hypromellose 0.36%, Polyethylene glycol 400 1.0%, Tetrahydrozoline HCI 0.05%)

  • Includes HYDROBLEND®, which acts as a moisturizer. Lasts up to 10 hours.

VISINE TOTALITY (Glycerin 0.2%, Hypromellose 0.36%, Polyethylene glycol 400 1.0%, Tetrahydrozoline HCI 0.05%, Zinc sulfate 0.25%)

  • Multi-Symptom Relief. Lubricant / Astrigent Redness Reliever Eye Drops (Relief for: red, burning, watery, itchy, gritty, dry, irritated eyes.)

Popular culture[edit]

The effect of Visine causing upset gastrointestinal effects 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 suffer 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 legend about Visine's explosive diarrhea-inducing capacity is also perpetuated in the movie version of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. In the movie, the main character Tucker Max (played by Matt Czuchry), is making fun of two women at the bar, in which 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 extreme explosive diarrhea.

In season 4, episode 3 of Orange Is the New Black, an inmate poisons a fellow inmate using Visine; the poisoned inmate immediately experiences explosive diarrhea.


  1. ^ Skilling, FC Jr; 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.
  2. ^ a b Zigler, Dr. Travis. "Why You Should NEVER Use Visine or Cleareyes". Eye Love.
  3. ^ Starr, Katie (2013-07-23). "Nothing funny about so-called 'Visine prank,' says pharmacist |". Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  4. ^ "Visine Original". Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNeil. Under "Warnings". Archived from the original on 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2013-04-15. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.
  5. ^ "Woman pleads guilty to killing husband by lacing his water with eye drops". Sky News. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  6. ^ "Woman sentenced to 25 years in prison for poisoning husband's drinking water with eye drops". ABC News. Retrieved 2020-01-17.

External links[edit]