What are the best prescription eye drops for allergies

Affected organ Common signs and symptoms
Nose Swelling of the nasal mucosa (allergic rhinitis) runny nose, sneezing
Sinuses Allergic sinusitis
Eyes Redness and itching of the conjunctiva (allergic conjunctivitis, watery)
Airways Sneezing, coughing, bronchoconstriction, wheezing and dyspnea, sometimes outright attacks of asthma, in severe cases the airway constricts due to swelling known as laryngeal edema
Ears Feeling of fullness, possibly pain, and impaired hearing due to the lack of eustachian tube drainage.

Skin Rashes, such as eczema and hives (urticaria)
Gastrointestinal tract Abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea

Many allergens such as dust or pollen are airborne particles. In these cases, symptoms arise in areas in contact with air, such as eyes, nose, and lungs.

What are the best prescription eye drops for allergies

For instance, allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, causes irritation of the nose, sneezing, itching, and redness of the eyes.[21] Inhaled allergens can also lead to increased production of mucus in the lungs, shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.[22]

Aside from these ambient allergens, allergic reactions can result from foods, insect stings, and reactions to medications love aspirin and antibiotics such as penicillin. Symptoms of food allergy include abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, itchy skin, and swelling of the skin during hives. Food allergies rarely cause respiratory (asthmatic) reactions, or rhinitis.[23] Insect stings, food, antibiotics, and certain medicines may produce a systemic allergic response that is also called anaphylaxis; multiple organ systems can be affected, including the digestive system, the respiratory system, and the circulatory system.[24][25][26] Depending on the rate of severity, anaphylaxis can include skin reactions, bronchoconstriction, swelling, low blood pressure, coma, and death.

This type of reaction can be triggered suddenly, or the onset can be delayed. The nature of anaphylaxis is such that the reaction can seem to be subsiding, but may recur throughout a period of time.[26]


Substances that come into contact with the skin, such as latex, are also common causes of allergic reactions, known as contact dermatitis or eczema.[27] Skin allergies frequently cause rashes, or swelling and inflammation within the skin, in what is known as a «weal and flare» reaction characteristic of hives and angioedema.[28]

With insect stings a large local reaction may happen (an area of skin redness greater than 10cm in size).[29] It can final one to two days.[29] This reaction may also happen after immunotherapy.[30]

Avoiding exposure to allergens

The best way to hold your symptoms under control is often to avoid the things you’re allergic to, although this is not always practical.

For example, you may be capable to help manage:

  1. food allergies by being careful about what you eat
  2. hay fever by staying indoors and avoiding grassy areas when the pollen count is high
  3. mould allergies by keeping your home dry and well-ventilated, and dealing with any damp and condensation
  4. animal allergies by keeping pets exterior as much as possible and washing them regularly
  5. dust mite allergies by using allergy-proof duvets and pillows, and fitting wooden floors rather than carpets

Treating specific allergic conditions

Use the links under to discover information about how specific allergies and related conditions are treated:

Sheet final reviewed: 22 November
Next review due: 22 November

The primary types of eye allergy are seasonal or perennial allergic conjunctivitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, atopic keratoconjunctivitis, contact allergic conjunctivitis and giant papillary conjunctivitis.

Vernal keratoconjunctivitis

Vernal keratoconjunctivitis is a more serious eye allergy than SAC or PAC.

While it can happen year-round, symptoms may worsen seasonally. It primarily occurs in boys and young men; about 75 percent of patients also own eczema or asthma. Symptoms include:

  1. Itching
  2. The feeling of having something in the eye (foreign body sensation)
  3. Significant tearing and production of thick mucus
  4. Aversion to light (photophobia)

If left untreated, vernal keratoconjunctivitis can impair vision.

What Are the Signs of Eye Allergies?

The common symptoms of eye allergies are:

  1. Redness
  2. Watery eyes
  3. Swollen eyelids
  4. Burning feeling
  5. Itchiness
  6. Feeling love there is dirt or grit in your eyes

You may also own a runny or itchy nose, sneezing, coughing or a sinus headache.

Numerous also discover that their vision is briefly blurred or that they feel distracted, unproductive or tired.

What Causes Eye Allergies?

Eye allergies are a reaction to indoor and outdoor allergens that get into your eyes.

What are the best prescription eye drops for allergies

Examples of these are pollen, mold spores, dust mites and pet dander. Eye allergies are not contagious. They cannot be spread to another person.

Irritants love dirt, smoke, chemicals, and chlorine can also cause swelling and redness of the eyes. This reaction is not an allergic reaction. Viruses and bacteria can also cause the same irritation of the eyes.

What are the best prescription eye drops for allergies

This reaction is also not an allergic reaction. Some medications and cosmetics can also cause eye allergy symptoms.

The eyes are an simple target for allergens and irritants because they are exposed and sensitive. The body responds to these allergens by releasing chemicals, including histamines, which produce the inflammation.

Pink eye is something diverse. It is a viral or bacterial infection of the eye tissue. It’s called infectious conjunctivitis. It generally starts in one eye and can spread easily to the other eye within a day or two. This eye condition is easily transmitted from person to person. But it is generally not a serious health risk if diagnosed correct away.

Giant papillary conjunctivitis

Associated with wearing contact lenses, giant papillary conjunctivitis is a severe form of contact allergic conjunctivitis in which individual fluid sacs, or papules, form in the upper lining of the inner eyelid.

What are the best prescription eye drops for allergies

Symptoms include:

  1. Puffiness
  2. Blurred vision
  3. Mucous discharge
  4. Poor tolerance for wearing contact lenses
  5. Itching
  6. Tearing
  7. Foreign body sensation

Eye Allergies (Allergic Conjunctivitis)

Eye allergies, also called “allergic conjunctivitis,” are a common eye condition. The tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and exterior of the eyeball is called the conjunctiva. This tissue keeps your eyelid and eyeball moist.

Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when this tissue becomes inflamed. With eye allergies, you generally see redness and itching in both eyes, instead of in just one eye.

Atopic keratoconjunctivitis

This type of allergy primarily affects older patients — mostly men with a history of allergic dermatitis. Symptoms of atopic keratoconjunctivitis can happen year-round and are similar to those of vernal keratoconjunctivitis:

  1. Severe itching
  2. Redness
  3. Burning
  4. Significant production of thick mucus that, after sleep, may cause the eyelids to stick together

If left untreated, atopic keratoconjunctivitis can result in scarring of the cornea and its delicate membrane.

Seasonal and perennial allergic conjunctivitis

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) is by far the most common type of eye allergy.

Patients experience symptoms in spring, summer or drop, depending on the type of plant pollens in the air.

What are the best prescription eye drops for allergies

Typical symptoms include:

  1. Itching
  2. Burning
  3. Redness
  4. Clear, watery discharge

People with SAC may own chronic dark circles (known as allergic shiners) under their eyes. The eyelids may be puffy, and bright lights may be bothersome. SAC symptoms often accompany the runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion associated with hay fever and other seasonal allergies. The itching may be so bothersome that patients rub their eyes frequently, making symptoms worse and potentially causing infection.

Perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC), as its name implies, occurs year-round.

Symptoms are the same as with SAC, but tend to be milder. They are caused by reactions to dust mites, mold, pet dander or other household allergens, rather than pollen.

Contact allergic conjunctivitis

This can result from irritation by contact lenses or by the proteins from tears that bind to the surface of the lens.

What are the best prescription eye drops for allergies

Symptoms include:

  1. Redness
  2. Mucous discharge
  3. Itching
  4. Lens discomfort

What Is the Treatment for Eye Allergies?

The first and best option is to avoid contact with substances that trigger your eye allergies. If that is not enough, consider using:

  1. Saline eye drops to wash away the allergens
  2. Prescription treatments from your doctor
  3. Over-the-counter medicine or eye drops (short-term use)
  4. Allergy shots (immunotherapy) from your doctor

Eye allergy symptoms may vanish completely when the allergen is removed or after the allergy is treated.

Talk to your pharmacist and health care provider about what is best for you.

How Can I Prevent Eye Allergies?

The first and best option is to avoid contact with things that trigger your eye allergies. Other tips are:

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  2. Keep pets out of the bedroom to reduce pet dander allergen in your bedding.
  3. Use allergen covers (encasements) for pillows, comforters, duvets, mattresses and consider using them for box springs.
  4. Wash your bed linens and pillowcases in boiling water and detergent to reduce allergens.
  5. Use a vacuum with a CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® filter to reduce exposure to allergens.
  6. Don’t touch or rub your eye(s).
  7. Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed cap to assist hold pollen from getting into your eyes.
  8. Keep windows closed during high pollen and mold seasons.

    Use the air conditioner in your car and home. Also, ponder about using a CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® filter.

Medical Review October

Immune system response to a substance that most people tolerate well

For the medical journal of this title, see Allergy (journal).

Hives are a common allergic symptom
Specialty Immunology
Symptoms Red eyes, itchy rash, runny nose, shortness of breath, swelling, sneezing[1]
Types Hay fever, food allergies, atopic dermatitis, allergic asthma, anaphylaxis[2]
Causes Genetic and environmental factors[3]
Diagnostic method Based on symptoms, skin prick test, blood test[4]
Differential diagnosis Food intolerances, food poisoning[5]
Prevention Early exposure to potential allergens[6]
Treatment Avoiding known allergens, medications, allergen immunotherapy[7]
Medication Steroids, antihistamines, epinephrine, mast cell stabilizers, antileukotrienes[7][8][9][10]
Frequency Common[11]

Allergies, also known as allergic diseases, are a number of conditions caused by hypersensitivity of the immune system to typically harmless substances in the environment.[12] These diseases include hay fever, food allergies, atopic dermatitis, allergic asthma, and anaphylaxis.[2] Symptoms may include red eyes, an itchy rash, sneezing, a runny nose, shortness of breath, or swelling.[1]Food intolerances and food poisoning are separate conditions.[4][5]

Common allergens include pollen and certain foods.[12] Metals and other substances may also cause problems.[12] Food, insect stings, and medications are common causes of severe reactions.[3] Their development is due to both genetic and environmental factors.[3] The underlying mechanism involves immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE), part of the body’s immune system, binding to an allergen and then to a receptor on mast cells or basophils where it triggers the release of inflammatory chemicals such as histamine.[13] Diagnosis is typically based on a person’s medical history.[4] Further testing of the skin or blood may be useful in certain cases.[4] Positive tests, however, may not mean there is a significant allergy to the substance in question.[14]

Early exposure to potential allergens may be protective.[6] Treatments for allergies include avoiding known allergens and the use of medications such as steroids and antihistamines.[7] In severe reactions injectable adrenaline (epinephrine) is recommended.[8]Allergen immunotherapy, which gradually exposes people to larger and larger amounts of allergen, is useful for some types of allergies such as hay fever and reactions to insect bites.[7] Its use in food allergies is unclear.[7]

Allergies are common.[11] In the developed world, about 20% of people are affected by allergic rhinitis,[15] about 6% of people own at least one food allergy,[4][6] and about 20% own atopic dermatitis at some point in time.[16] Depending on the country about 1–18% of people own asthma.[17][18] Anaphylaxis occurs in between –2% of people.[19] Rates of numerous allergic diseases appear to be increasing.[8][20] The expression «allergy» was first used by Clemens von Pirquet in [3]

Immunotherapy (desensitisation) 

Immunotherapy may be an option for a little number of people with certain severe and persistent allergies who are unable to control their symptoms using the measures above.

The treatment involves being given occasional little doses of the allergen, either as an injection, or as drops or tablets under the tongue, over the course of several years.

The injection can only be performed in a specialist clinic under the supervision of a doctor, as there’s a little risk of a severe reaction.

What are the best prescription eye drops for allergies

The drops or tablets can generally be taken at home.

The purpose of treatment is to help your body get used to the allergen so it does not react to it so severely.

This will not necessarily cure your allergy, but it’ll make it milder and mean you can take less medicine.

Allergy medicines

Medicines for mild allergies are available from pharmacies without a prescription.

But always enquire a pharmacist or GP for advice before starting any new medicine, as they’re not suitable for everyone.


Antihistamines are the main medicines for allergies.

They can be used:

  1. as and when you notice the symptoms of an allergic reaction
  2. to prevent allergic reactions – for example, you may take them in the morning if you own hay fever and you know the pollen count is high that day

Antihistamines can be taken as tablets, capsules, creams, liquids, eye drops or nasal sprays, depending on which part of your body is affected by your allergy.

Lotions and creams

Red and itchy skin caused by an allergic reaction can sometimes be treated with over-the-counter creams and lotions, such as:

  1. moisturising creams (emollients) to hold the skin moist and protect it from allergens
  2. calamine lotion to reduce itchiness
  3. steroids to reduce inflammation


Decongestants can be used as a short-term treatment for a blocked nose caused by an allergic reaction.

They can be taken as tablets, capsules, nasal sprays or liquids.

Do not use them for more than a week at a time, as using them for endless periods can make your symptoms worse.


Steroid medicines can assist reduce inflammation caused by an allergic reaction.

They’re available as:

Sprays, drops and feeble steroid creams are available without a prescription.

Stronger creams, inhalers and tablets are available on prescription from a GP.

Treating severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis)

Some people with severe allergies may experience life-threatening reactions, known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock.

If you’re at risk of this, you’ll be given special injectors containing a medicine called adrenaline to use in an emergency.

If you develop symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as difficulty breathing, you should inject yourself in the outer thigh before seeking emergency medical assist.

Find out more about treating anaphylaxis