The main use of sodium chloride eye drops is for corneal edema caused by some eye conditions, including Fuchs corneal dystrophy. When there is swelling in the cornea, it may be due to excess fluid buildup. A hypertonic sodium chloride solution for the eyes can be prescribed to remove the excess fluid from the cornea, as noted by Mayo Clinic.
An eye condition called Fuchs' corneal dystrophy can cause swelling in the cornea, which is the clear front portion of the eye that covers the iris and pupil area. With this condition, the endothelium, which is a cell layer found in the cornea, do not function properly, states All About Vision. This causes corneal edema because the function of the endothelium is to draw out excess fluid from the cornea.
Corneal edema can lead to poor vision and symptoms that include seeing halos around lights, eye pain and irritation. The treatment option for Fuchs' corneal dystrophy that is in its early stages can be a prescribed 5 percent hypertonic sodium chloride eye drops, notes All About Vision. These eye drops may also be useful for other conditions in which there is corneal edema.
Patients using this ophthalmic solution should follow the dosing instructions. For adults, one drop is placed into the affected about every 4 hours, states Mayo Clinic. There may some side effects associated with these eye drops, such as momentary eye discomfort, irritation and burning sensation.