Eye Allergy Medicine: A Comprehensive Guide

Dinesh Patel
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Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
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eye_allergy_medications - watery red eyes from spring allergies

Allergic conjunctivitis or eye allergy is a common eye condition. As per NCBI data, simple eye allergy impacts 10% to 30% of the general population.

It is treatable with the help of medications. There are a lot of prescription and OTC allergy eye drops that can help you ease the symptoms.

Allergy eye drops come in a variety of forms. Not all allergy medications treat all allergy symptoms. 

For instance, a medication that soothes red eyes might not also stop the itching.

Some provide immediate relief from symptoms. Others are intended to provide long-term relief.

The following are the various types of allergy eyedrops:

  • Antihistamine
  • Mast cell stabilizers
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Decongestant

If you can’t get enough relief without medications, doctors recommend this as the first treatment for eye allergies

In this article, learn more about different eye drops for allergies. 

Check with your doctor for the best eye drops for allergies.

Warning
Always follow your doctor’s prescription when undergoing treatment. To avoid the side effects of the medicine, do not self-medicate.

Antihistamine eye allergy relief

Antihistamine eyedrops may help you if you have itchy, watery eyes. 

These medications inhibit histamine production in the body.

Histamine is a chemical your immune system produces in response to an allergy trigger. 

Many of your allergy symptoms are caused by it.

Antihistamine eyedrops can relieve your symptoms. But relief may only last a few hours. 

It can also make your eyes drier. You may need to apply the drops several times throughout the day.

  • Azelastine hydrochloride 
  • Levocabastine 
  • Emedastine difumarate
  • Alcaftadine 

Oral antihistamines

Oral antihistamines may be mildly effective in relieving itching caused by eye allergies. But they can cause dry eyes and worsen symptoms. 

Your doctor may prescribe oral histamines such as Cetirizine and Loratadine.

If you need more help, a doctor can prescribe additional eye drops.

Mast cell stabilizer eye drops

These are some of the most recent types of eyedrops. They aid in the prevention of histamine and other chemicals produced by your body during an allergic reaction.

Mast cell stabilizers are designed to reduce your symptoms.

You can use these drops for several months without experiencing any side effects. 

As per Dr. Tracy Bildstein, OD, MS, Mast cell stabilizers may allow you to wear contacts for more extended periods if you wear them.

Ketotifen fumarate is an OTC mast cell stabilizer eye drop. 

Mast cell stabilizer eyedrops that are available with a prescription include: 

  • Cromolyn 
  • Lodoxamide
  • Nedocromil sodium 
  • Pemirolast potassium 

Anti-inflammatory allergy eye drops

eye allergy medicineSource: Brittany_Schauer_Photography_from_Getty_Images
eye drops for allergies

These eye drops are classified into two types:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
  • Corticosteroids

NSAID eye drops affect certain nerve endings. They alter the way your body makes you itch.

The only NSAID approved for treating itchy eyes is Ketorolac.

The itching usually subsides within about an hour of using the drops. These eye drops can cause stinging or burning when first applied to the eyes.

Corticosteroid eyedrops help treat severe, long-term symptoms of eye allergies

Loteprednol is a corticosteroid eye drop available with a prescription from your doctor.

Corticosteroid drops are generally not recommended for long-term use unless your case is severe.

There is a risk of potential side effects such as increased eye pressure and cataracts.

When using these eyedrops, you should have regular eye examinations with an eye specialist. 

These eyedrops can increase your chances of getting:

  • Eye infection
  • Increased pressure in the eye

Artificial tears

Tears substitute are eyedrops used to lubricate dry eyes and maintain a moist outer eye surface.

They can temporarily remove allergens from the eye while also moistening the eyes, which often become dry when red and irritated.

Overusing these drops can cause adverse effects. They can be refrigerated to provide additional soothing and comfort.

Additionally, some OTC tears can cause sedation, excitability, dizziness, or impaired coordination.

Eyemist E/D 10 ml is an eye lubricant that your doctor may recommend to keep your eyes moist and reduce discomfort.

Decongestant allergy eyedrops

These eyedrops can brighten the whites of your eyes and reduce redness. They constrict blood vessels around the eyes, reducing the appearance of red, bloodshot eyes.

These eye drops are available without a prescription. But, doctors may not recommend them for treating eye allergies the first time.

Over-the-counter decongestant eyedrops include:

  • Naphazoline hcl
  • Phenylephrine hcl
  • Oxymetazoline hcl
  • Tetrahydrozoline hcl
Warning
Use these over-the-counter decongestant eyedrops for no more than two to three days.

Prolonged use can result in a “rebound effect,” which is increased swelling and redness that may last even after the drops are stopped.

Multiple-action allergy eyedrops

Some eyedrops contain multiple types of medication. They are known as Dual-action or multiple-action eyedrops.

Eyedrops with antihistamine and a decongestant reduce itching, watering, and redness. 

Here are some examples:

  • Antazoline phosphate/naphazoline HCL 
  • Pheniramine maleate/naphazoline HCL 

The antihistamine and mast cell stabilizer eyedrops treat and prevent eye allergy symptoms.

These newer eyedrops are especially beneficial for people who suffer from allergic conjunctivitis. Here are some examples:

  • Epinastine
  • Ketotifen
  • Olopatadine hydrochloride 
  • Cetirizine 
Checkout
To get the best OTC and prescription allergy eye drops, visit WowRxPharmacy. One-stop shop for all your eye care needs.

Risks and side effects of allergy eye drops

A person holding eye drop bottle to check the labelSource: Devonyu_from_Getty_Images
eye drop bottle

As with any medication, you should always follow the directions on the label. Over-the-counter eye drops should be used for at most 2 to 3 days. 

If you use them for any longer than that, it may aggravate the situation.

You should not use eye drops if you have an eye infection or glaucoma. Discuss other options with your doctor.

When you put some eyedrops in your eyes, they may sting or burn. It may be beneficial to keep them in the refrigerator.

When you wear contact lenses, you can’t use many eye drops.

Your doctor may ask you to remove your contact lenses before using the drops and to wait at least 10 minutes before replacing them. 

You may not be able to wear them at all during eye drop treatment.

Most allergy eye drops must be used several times per day.

Conclusion

Your eyes are the windows to the world around you. It is essential to take care of them. 

See an eye doctor to get the best allergy eye drop if you have allergic symptoms. 

Depending on the condition, your doctor will recommend a prescription or OTC allergy drops. 

Allergic conjunctivitis is treatable; however, delaying the treatment might lead to irreversible damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best medicine for eye allergies?

There are a lot of medicines available for eye allergies. Your doctor may recommend eye drops like Cromolyn and Emedastine difumarate. Oral antihistamines like Cetirizine and Loratadine may be recommended.

Do oral antihistamines help eye allergies?

Prescription antihistamines can help relieve the itching associated with eye allergies. While they do not have the same sedating side effects as over-the-counter antihistamines, they can cause dry eyes and worsen symptoms.

What is the best antihistamine for swollen eyes?

There are various OTC medicines like Loratadine, Cetirizine, and Fexofenadine. Others are only available with a prescription. Another option is to use eye drops containing mast cell stabilizers, limiting inflammatory chemical release.

Citations:
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