Over-The-Counter Eye Drops for Allergies

I Have Eye Allergies. Can I Just Use an Over-the-Counter Eye Drop?

I Have Eye Allergies. Can I Just Use an Over-the-Counter Eye Drop?

Certain kinds of over-the-counter eye drops can only be used for short periods of time. Most over-the-counter allergy eye drops contain topical decongestants, like those found in Visine (naphazoline), which should only be used for a few days at a time. When topical decongestants are used long-term, a medical condition called conjunctivitis medicamentosa can develop.

Symptoms may include an increase in eye redness and irritation, with more dependence on the eye drop for relief.

Zaditor/Alaway (ketotifen), a topical antihistamine and mast cell stabilizer eye drop, is now available over-the-counter for the treatment of eye allergies. This medication can be used long-term without the potential side effect of conjunctivitis medicamentosa.

Find out more about the diagnosis and treatment of eye allergies.

Sources:

Ono SJ, Abelson MB. Allergic conjunctivitis: Update on pathophysiology and prospects for future treatment. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005; 115:118-22.

Bielory L. Allergic and Immunologic Disorders of the Eye. Part II: Ocular Allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2000; 106:1019-32.

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