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Why Can You Taste Your Eye Drops?

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A friend of mine recently got pinkeye. Whenever she put in her eye drops, she noticed a distinct and very unpleasant taste on the back of her tongue. What’s up with that?

Grab a mirror and pull down a little on your lower eyelid. Not far from the inside edge (on the side closest to your nose), you’ll notice a tiny hole. This is the lacrimal punctum. When you produce tears or have another liquid in your eyes, some of it drains into these holes and then into the lacrimal sac, the nasolacrimal duct, and eventually into the back of your nose and throat, where you might get a taste.

This is normal and safe, but eye drops aren’t exactly designed with flavor in mind. You can use a technique called "punctal occlusion" to slow or stop the draining, though. Just press a finger against the bony structure between your eye and the bridge of your nose. This stops up the eye’s drainage pipe and keeps the drops from flowing down into your nose. Keep pressing long enough and the excess liquid will evaporate instead of leaving a funky taste in your mouth. As an added bonus, this keeps the drops on your eye longer to do their job.

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Big Questions
What Is the Difference Between Generic and Name Brand Ibuprofen?
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What is the difference between generic ibuprofen vs. name brands?

Yali Friedman:

I just published a paper that answers this question: Are Generic Drugs Less Safe than their Branded Equivalents?

Here’s the tl;dr version:

Generic drugs are versions of drugs made by companies other than the company which originally developed the drug.

To gain FDA approval, a generic drug must:

  • Contain the same active ingredients as the innovator drug (inactive ingredients may vary)
  • Be identical in strength, dosage form, and route of administration
  • Have the same use indications
  • Be bioequivalent
  • Meet the same batch requirements for identity, strength, purity, and quality
  • Be manufactured under the same strict standards of FDA's good manufacturing practice regulations required for innovator products

I hope you found this answer useful. Feel free to reach out at www.thinkbiotech.com. For more on generic drugs, you can see our resources and whitepapers at Pharmaceutical strategic guidance and whitepapers

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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Big Questions
Do Cats Fart?
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Certain philosophical questions can invade even the most disciplined of minds. Do aliens exist? Can a soul ever be measured? Do cats fart?

While the latter may not have weighed heavily on some of history’s great brains, it’s certainly no less deserving of an answer. And in contrast to existential queries, there’s a pretty definitive response: Yes, they do. We just don’t really hear it.

According to veterinarians who have realized their job sometimes involves answering inane questions about animals passing gas, cats have all the biological hardware necessary for a fart: a gastrointestinal system and an anus. When excess air builds up as a result of gulping breaths or gut bacteria, a pungent cloud will be released from their rear ends. Smell a kitten’s butt sometime and you’ll walk away convinced that cats fart.

The discretion, or lack of audible farts, is probably due to the fact that cats don’t gulp their food like dogs do, leading to less air accumulating in their digestive tract.

So, yes, cats do fart. But they do it with the same grace and stealth they use to approach everything else. Think about that the next time you blame the dog.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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