allergy eye drops

Allergy eye drops

Wednesday 1st of March 2017


Human eyes are the most vulnerable to allergic reactions organ. Most allergens are in the air, and a sensitive surface of an eye-bulb is easily affected by dust, pollen and pet dander. Besides, allergic reactions are sometimes caused by low-quality contact lenses as well as by certain food products and drugs.

Common Symptoms

allergy eye symptomsCommon symptoms of eye allergy are the following:

• itching and or burning often combined with the feeling of dryness;
• reddening and swelling of eyelids;
lacrimation (tears).

These symptoms are annoying and often painful, they cause much discomfort, especially if for some reason a person can’t avoid the allergen completely (for example, pollen in spring and summer is literally everywhere, and it’s impossible to get rid of it). Thankfully, there exist medications that help to relieve the symptoms or even completely eliminate them, depending on the situation. Commonly, drugs in the form of eye drops are used. The assortment of such drops is really vast, and the best way to make a choice is to consult an ophthalmologist. But there is some general information of the types of these drops and their effect that everyone should know

Groups of Allergy Eye Drops

Generally, allergy-eye-drops are divided into three large groups, and each group can be subdivided into smaller categories.

  1. Vasoconstrictor (decongestant) drops. They provide fast vasoconstriction, and are commonly used in case of acute allergic reaction for immediate relieving. These drops help to decongest eyelids and reduce their reddening. Also they effectively cope with the most annoying symptoms, such as burning and itching. However, vasoconstrictor drops build up a tolerance, and doctors don’t recommend taking them too often without need. When taken regularly, these drops lose their effect and become useless.
  2. Antihistamine drops. These drops can suppress the symptoms of an allergic reaction. They are used in periods of seasonal allergy aggravation. They allow quick removing of swelling, relieving itching and reducing lacrimation. Also they prevent distribution of the allergen deeper in the organism. An important advantage of antihistamine drops is that side effects from their use are very rare. One can obtain antihistamine medication without prescription.
  3. Anti-inflammatory drops. They are effective if the allergy is of inflammatory nature. The drops rather effectively eliminate swelling and ease such symptoms as itching and severe tearing. Anti-inflammatory drops(more info) are often sold over the counter, but self-medication is not recommended, if you don’t know for sure what the cause of the allergy is and how it should be treated. Drops belonging to this group are subdivided into two categories – nonsteroidal drops and corticosteroids. Both types are chemically produced.

There is also a separate group of allergy eye drugs – drops of the latest generation relating to the category of mast cell stabilizers. They are intended mostly for prevention, not treatment. The main effect of these stabilizers is blocking of histamine production in the organism and preventing the allergic reaction itself. This group includes both Rx and OTC drops.

Comparison of popular allergy eye drops

Name of eye-drops: Optivar Ketorolac Visine Claritin Eye
Group Antihistamine, Anti-inflammatory Nonsteroidal (NSAID) Vasoconstrictor (decongestant)  Mast cell stabilizers

Mechanism of action

 Suppresses histamine production in the organism, neutralizes the effect of allergens.  Suppresses prostaglandin – the agent that gives rise to inflammation resulting in itching.  Narrows blood vessels in the eye.  Affects mast cells stopping them from histamine production.

Drug designation

 Used for relieving allergy symptoms (itching, sense of dryness, burning and reddening of the eye-bulb) and preventing further development of allergy. Used to ease the symptoms of seasonal allergies and some conditions, e.g inflammation processes following surgical operations on eyes. Used for eliminating eye reddening and swelling of eyelids.  Used for prevention of eye allergy symptoms of all types, for example, in periods of seasonal allergy aggravation.


 Contraindicated to children under three. Not recommended to pregnant and breastfeeding women without medical consultation.  Contraindications include pregnancy (especially 7-9th months) and idiosyncrasy of the components. An absolute contraindication is taking MAO inhibitors or furazolidone. Contraindicated to children under 6.  Don’t take Visine and its analogues longer that 3 days without medical consultation. Not recommended to pregnant/breastfeeding women and children under 3, as there were no relevant clinical trials.
 Side effects

Sometimes: blurred vision.

Rarely: headache, stinging.

Very rarely: allergic reactions, rash, swelling. Sense of stinging or burning right after using.

Sometimes: blurred vision.

 Very rarely: allergic reactions. Rarely: blurred vision.

Sometimes: reddening of eyes, minor swelling.

Rarely: rash, itching, pain and general discomfort of eyes.

Another eye drops – Patanol, the most effective allergy medication, at this page


For the treatment of eye allergy a variety of drops are used. They differ by mechanism of action and an effect. Some of them are available by prescription only; others are freely sold over the counter. To choose what suits you best consult a health professional. If the symptoms are not relieved or become worse after 3 days of taking, stop using the drug and apply for medical help.



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