different types of eye drops for allergies

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The most common cause of eye inflammation? Run-of-the-mill allergies. According to research published in the Cochrane Library, the itching, redness, and tearing associated with eye inflammation is most commonly caused by indoor and outdoor allergens like pollen, pet dander, and dust mites.

The good news is that OTC eye drops that block the histamine response can help alleviate symptoms. If you are having eye problems due to allergies, we have the best eye drops to choose from.

But first, some background information: The reason you’re experiencing the allergic response to begin with is because your body detects pollen or dust mites as something harmful, and in response releases several chemicals, including histamine. Histamine causes inflammation, which leads to unpleasant symptoms.

There are two types of drops to support your allergic eyes, one that helps to address the release of the histamine and the other that helps to lubricate the eye and calm the irritation more generally.

When you have allergies, there are some active ingredients in eye drops that can support you.

  • Ketotifen, pheniramine, and olopatadine are antihistamines often found in allergy eye drops. By blocking histamine — either throughout the whole body with an oral antihistamine or locally when directly applied to the eye — you can feel relief from your allergy symptoms.
  • Naphazoline is a decongestant that relieves the symptoms of red eyes from irritation, such as seen in an allergic reaction.
  • Carboxymethylcellulose and glycerin are what’s known as “ophthalmic lubricants” which help to generally lubricate the eye and lock in moisture. Just like you put moisturizing cream on dry skin to relieve irritation — that’s the same purpose of this ingredient in an eye drop.
  • Hypromellose is a common lubricant for dry and irritated eyes.
  • Polyethylene glycol relieves dry, irritated eyes.

You should not use eye drops that reduce redness. They have a product called vasoconstrictors that are not safe for long-term use.

“Most eye drops for allergies can’t be used with contacts in the eye. It is recommended to remove contact lens, put eye drops in, and wait 15 minutes before wearing them again. If you want to use eye drops while wearing your contact lens, check out our best eye drops for contact lens wearers on this list.”

“We chose eye drops that were free of active ingredients that were allergy-alleviating. We focused on brands with a strong reputation and presence in the market. If a product did not have more than 4 stars and 100 reviews on Amazon, it didn’t make the cut.”

Pricing guide

We included eye drops with a range of price points.

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–$20
  • $$$ = over $20

Best overall eye drops for allergies

Bausch + Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredient: ketotifen
  • How to use: one drop in the affected eye(s) twice daily (8 to 12 hours)
  • How long the effects last: 12 hours

Customers say the highest-rated and reviewed allergy eye drops on Amazon are the ones they like the most. They may have the king of antihistamines, ketotifen.

Pros

  • It takes up to 12 hours to work.
  • Strength for quick relief is a prescription strength.
  • It was clinically tested.

Cons

  • It is not possible to use contact lens in the eyes.

Best once-daily eye drops for allergies

Pataday Once Daily Relief

  • Price: $$$
  • Active ingredient: olopatadine
  • How to use: one drop in the affected eye(s) once a day
  • How long the effects last: 24 hours

Those who find it easier to take their drops once a day may appreciate these extra-strength eye drops. Olopatadine is a good way to block the histamine that is causing your peepers so much pain.

They are priced higher because you only use one dose a day, but they are still comparable to the other antihistamines on the list.

Pros

  • Only one dose is needed daily.
  • The ingredients are known to block the response to the histamine.
  • It was approved for use in children over 2 years old.

Cons

  • It is not possible to use contact lens in the eyes.
  • “If effects wear off, reapplied can’t happen.”

Best antihistamine eye drops with redness reliever

Visine Allergy Eye Relief Multi-Action Antihistamine & Redness Reliever Eye Drops

  • Price: $
  • Active ingredients: pheniramine, naphazoline hydrochloride
  • How to use: one to two drops in the affected eye(s) up to four times a day
  • How long the effects last: not indicated

Visine is a well-known brand that can be used to reduce eye redness and block the histamine response. They also contain naphazoline for redness relief.

Pros

  • It is dual-purpose.
  • It was clinically tested.
  • It is cheaper.

Cons

  • Redness-relievers should not be used for a long time.
  • It is not possible to use contact lens in the eyes.
  • Relief may not last long.

Best cooling eye drops

Rohto Ice All-in-One Multi-Symptom Relief Cooling Eye Drops

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredients: hypromellose, lubricant tetrahydrozoline, redness reliever zinc sulfate
  • How to use: one or two drops in the affected eye(s) up to four times a day
  • How long the effects last: 8 hours

You may want to check out the cooling drops from Rohto. They intend to target eight common symptoms of allergies, including redness, dry, itch, burning, and watery eyes.

Pros

  • targets multiple symptoms
  • fast-acting..
  • Good for eye strain.

Cons

  • Does not block the immune system.
  • It has to be reapplied at least four times a day.
  • It is not possible to use contact lens in the eyes.

Best itch relief eye drops for allergies

Zaditor Antihistamine Eye Drops

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredient: ketotifen
  • How to use: one drop in the affected eye(s) twice daily (every 8 to 12 hours)
  • How long the effects last: 12 hours

These eye drops claim to reduce itching for up to 12 hours. Customers gave these prescription-strength drops high ratings, saying they felt better in a short time.

Pros

  • It is possible to use in children age 3 and up.
  • fast-acting..
  • It takes 12 hours to work for.

Cons

  • Contacts cannot be used while looking at something.
  • There is a substance that containsPreservatives.

Best eye drops for sensitive eyes

Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredients: polyethylene glycol and propylene glycol
  • How to use: one or two drops in the affected eye(s) as needed.
  • How long the effects last: not indicated

These eye drops do not contain any of the drugs that are used to treat allergy and dry eye symptoms. The ingredients included and the exclusion of Preservatives make these a solid option for those with sensitive eyes.

Pros

  • Relief of dry eyes.
  • It is free of harmful substances.
  • Good for dry eyes.

Cons

  • Does not contain any drugs.
  • Not clinical strength.

Best eye drops for dry eyes

Thera Tears Eye Drops for Dry Eyes

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredient: carboxymethylcellulose
  • How to use: one or two drops in the affected eye(s) as needed
  • How long the effects last: not indicated

Managing dry eyes during allergy season is difficult. That’s because in some cases, antihistamines can actually cause dry eyes as a side effect. To err on the side of caution in that regard, these Thera Tears lubricating drops are designed to support dry eyes during allergy season more generally.

They contain a substance that helps lubricate the eyes. They use an electrolyte formula to improve the salt balance that can cause dry eye symptoms.

Pros

  • It replicates healthy tears to lubricate the eyes.
  • It is free of harmful substances.

Cons

  • Does not contain any drugs.
  • Those with dry eyes are targeted.

Best eye drops for contact lens wearers

Refresh Optive Lubricant Eye Drops

  • Price: $$$
  • Active ingredients: carboxymethylcellulose and glycerin
  • How to use: one or two drops in the affected eye(s) as needed
  • How long the effects last: not indicated

The thing that contact lens wearers have to keep in mind is the use of preservatives, which are not recommended for those wearing contacts. These are It is free of harmful substances. so contact lens wearers can grab that dropper without an issue. These drops use carboxymethylcellulose and glycerin to help lubricate, hydrate, and soothe.

Pros

  • While contacts are in, can be used.
  • It can be used after eye surgeries.
  • fast-acting.. lubrication of the eye

Cons

  • Does not contain an allergy medication.
  • They come in small jars which may be hard to open.

Best homeopathic eye drops for allergies

Similasan Allergy Eye Relief Eye Drops

  • Price: $
  • Active ingredients: euphrasia, sabadilla, apis mellifica
  • How to use: two to three drops in the affected eye(s) as needed
  • How long the effects last: not indicated

The Similasan brand, from Switzerland, says it prides itself on its It is free of harmful substances. formula that claims to use natural botanical extracts to stimulate the body’s defenses against allergens. It uses euphrasia, a wildflower known to temporarily relieve eye irritation, sabadilla, a Mexican plant used to treat allergies, and honeybee extract to help with your body’s natural reaction to pollen allergies.

Pros

  • It was made from natural ingredients.
  • “supports the body’s natural response.”
  • Can be used while wearing contact lens.

Cons

  • There is no medication for allergies.
  • Nonbotanical options may not be as effective in treating eyes with allergic reactions.

Name Price Active ingredients How long effects last Key features
Bausch + Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops $$ ketotifen 12 hours works on the cause of the eye allergy to relieve allergy symptoms; It was clinically tested.
Pataday Once Daily Relief $$$ olopatadine 24 hours prevents allergic reactions by blocking the chemicals causing the symptoms; only need a drop that lasts up to 24 hours
Visine Allergy Relief Multi-Action Antihistamine + Redness Reliever $ pheniramine, naphazoline hydrochloride not indicated contains antihistamine; It was clinically tested. to relieve eye allergy symptoms
Rohto Ice All-in-One Multi-Symptom Relief Cooling Eye Drops $$ hypromellose, lubricant tetrahydrozoline, redness reliever zinc sulfate 8 hours contains CoolSense™ technology meant to give immediate and lasting cooling relief to the eyes; works for up to 8 hours
Zaditor Antihistamine Eye Drops $$ ketotifen 12 hours relieves dry eyes with just a drop for up to 12 hours; doesn’t contain a vasoconstrictor
Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops $$ polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol not indicated has no antihistamine; has no preservatives
Thera Tears Eye Drops for Dry Eyes $$ carboxymethylcellulose not indicated relieves dry eye symptoms by correcting the salt imbalance that causes these symptoms; no antihistamines
Refresh Optive Lubricant Eye Drops $$$ carboxymethylcellulose, glycerin not indicated no preservatives; good for people with sensitive eyes
Similasan Allergy Eye Relief Eye Drops $ euphrasia, sabadilla, apis mellifica not indicated made with natural ingredients meant to stimulate the body’s natural defenses against allergens and relieve symptoms

Any eye drop for allergies may relieve your allergy symptoms. But those that work on histamine release tend to work faster and longer.

Although most can take histamine-blocking eye drops, you should speak with a doctor first about using these eye drops if:

  • you’re pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You have health conditions like high blood pressure, high eye pressure, and other diseases.

Mild to no side effects are usually the result of using eye drops that lubricate and hydrate the eyes. The recommended dose of some eye drops allows you to use them as often as needed. If you can use these eye drops, you can use other drugs.

If your symptoms last for more than 72 hours, you should see a doctor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends seeing a doctor if:

  • “Most manufacturers say you should use your eye drops for 72 hours if you have symptoms that get worse or don’t improve.”
  • You have an eye allergy because of a weakened immune system.
  • “You develop symptoms like eye pain, light sensitivity or blurred vision that don’t get better when you clean your eyes.”
  • A newborn shows symptoms of eye allergy.

Do eye drops help with allergies?

Yes. Eye drops can be used to relieve eye allergy symptoms.

How do you fix dry eyes?

“Dry eyes can be treated with cold compress, artificial tears, or eye drops. You don’t need a prescription to get these dry eye reliefs.”

Can eye drops damage your eyes?

If you follow the directions for using eye drops, they will not damage your eyes. If your symptoms persist after using as prescribed, you should see a doctor.

Can saline solution be used as eye drops?

Saline solutions are hydrating and can help relieve mild symptoms of eye allergy. But if they don’t work, it’s advisable to go for non-prescription eye drop medicines.

Do eye drops help with pink eye?

Yes, you can use over-the-counter artificial tears to help with the dryness caused by pink eye, but check with your healthcare professional to see what type of pink eye you may have. If the pink eye is viral, your doctor may prescribe antivirals, but if the pink eye is bacterial, your healthcare professional may prescribe antibiotic eye drops.

Other treatments for allergies can help alleviate all symptoms, including those affecting your eyes. Oral antihistamines, with brand names such as Claritin and Zyrtec, work to block the effect of histamine throughout your body. Nasal steroid sprays such as fluticasone, can help to decrease the swelling and irritation in the airways. It’s also possible to find home remedies for treating specific allergy symptoms, such as itchy eyes.

Warming the eyes up with a warm compress in the morning and night can help to keep the oily surface on the eyes flowing. Fish oil can help with eye hydration.

Knowing the source of your allergies is a good piece of information. An allergist can help with this, and may even prescribe allergy shots to prevent your reaction to begin with.

Eye drops can be an important line of defense in your battle with the elements, when it comes to allergy symptoms affecting the eyes.