What eye drops to use for allergies
Availability of medicines
- GENERAL SALE available through pharmacies and possibly other retail outlets.
- PHARMACY ONLY available for sale through pharmacies only.
- PHARMACIST ONLY may only be sold by a pharmacist.
Search myDr for Consumer Medicine Information
Last Reviewed: 16/04/
Resources We Love
Favorite Orgs for Essential Pink Eye Info
American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)
Learn every the fundamentals about pink eye from the professional medical association of ophthalmologists (medical doctors who specialize in eye care).
The site displays some eye-opening photographic and video examples of conjunctivitis, as well as quick home remedies.
American Optometric Association (AOA)
The AOA looks at the essential aspects of pink eye, including causes, diagnosis, and treatment. Because excellent hygiene is one of the best ways to control conjunctivitis, the association instructs readers on best practices to prevent this inflammation.
The College of Optometrists
The College of Optometrists highlights guidelines on the diagnosis and management on a type of conjunctivitis that occurs in newborns within the first month of life.
The cause is a sexually transmitted disease in a parent. The site discusses diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC gives in-depth information about causes, treatments, and the diverse types of this ailment, including viral, bacterial, and allergic conjunctivitis. The site features a fact sheet, a helpful infographic, and a podcast by a pediatrician who specializes in the condition.
A digital extension from the American Academy of Pediatrics, this group answers parents’ health questions regarding children of every ages, including inquiries concerning conjunctivitis.
For example, one of the AAP doctors replies to a query asking “Do I need to hold my son home if he has pink eye?”
National Eye Institute
Part of the National Institutes of Health, this organization lays out the facts about pink eye, telling you how to recognize it, take care of it, and avoid getting it altogether. You can also search for news, events, and latest research on the topic.
Favorite Orgs for Related Pink Eye Info
American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation (ABIMF)
ABIMF supports the Choosing Wisely initiative to promote conversations between clinicians and patients.
The site addresses several eye-heath subjects, such as conjunctivitis. The website explains when antibiotics are and aren’t needed for pink eye.
Measles and Rubella Initiative
Because measles has been making a comeback recently among unvaccinated children and pink eye can be a symptom of measles, it’s helpful to know other symptoms of measles and how to identify the potentially life-threatening disease. The Measles and Rubella Initiative describes the serious health consequences from measles and why vaccination is so important.
Favorite Blogs Related to Pink Eye
Nationwide Children’s Hospital Children’s Blog
This blog gives parents access to the most current pediatric news and research.
A portion of the blog gives parents a guide to pink eye with advice on symptoms and home care.
Redness and inflammation of the eye has been reported as being the most common eye problem in Australia. A major cause of eye problems is conjunctivitis, which is an inflammation of the ‘conjunctiva’ (the thin clear tissue that lines that inner eyelids and covers the white part of the eyeball).
There are 3 main types of conjunctivitis: allergic, bacterial and viral.
They can be hard to tell apart, and each is treated differently. Irritant conjunctivitis can also happen due to dryness and/or foreign matter in the eye. Always seek medical advice if you own red or painful eyes, loss of vision, irregular shaped pupils or there is unusual discharge.
Allergic conjunctivitis is generally caused by triggers, such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander (hair and dead skin cells from animals), cosmetics or preservatives in eye drops.
- itchy, burning, sore, red eyes with puffy eyelids
- watery eyes
- sensitivity to light
- dark pouches under eyes
- other symptoms of allergy, such as sneezing and a blocked or runny nose
Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria and is extremely contagious, commonly infecting other family members.
Symptoms, which may start suddenly and may affect one eye before the other, include:
- swelling of the eyelid
- red, burning, sore or gritty eyes with puffy eyelids
- eyelids may be stuck together when you wake up, or there may be yellow discharge coming from your eyes.
- there are generally no other symptoms associated with bacterial conjunctivitis
Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus and is contagious.
Sometimes it is accompanied by freezing or flu symptoms. Symptoms include:
- red, sore, watery or gritty eyes
- itchy and swollen eyes
- crusty eyelids
See Your Pharmacist or Medical Professional
- if you own strangely shaped pupils or cloudy eyes
- if you own other symptoms, such as headache, vomiting or a rash
- if you own allergies to any medicines
- if you ponder the problem was caused by something stuck in your eye
- if only one eye is affected
- if you own a freezing sore, herpes or shingles
- if you own significant swelling of the eyes
- if your eyes are painful, sensitive to light, you see colour around lights, or your sight is affected
- if you own other medical conditions or use other medicines
- if you are pregnant or breastfeeding; some medicines may not be suitable
- if your eyes do not reply to treatment, or do not improve in 2 days
- if the person with the eye problem is a baby, young kid, or elderly
- if your eyes own a discharge, such as pus
- if you own had the problem before
- if you wear contact lenses
Oral antihistamines (tablets and syrups)
Antihistamines block this reaction. There are two types:
- newer, less sedating antihistamines, which do not typically cause drowsiness
- older sedating antihistamines that cause drowsiness
- antihistamines are excellent for treating hay fever symptoms as they happen, especially if you own a lot of diverse symptoms. You can also take them in advance if you know you are going to be exposed to allergens or triggers
Older, sedating antihistamines
chlorpheniramine + pseudoephedrine (Demazin 6 Hour Relief Tablets), dexchlorpheniramine (Polaramine), loratadine + pseudoephedrine (Claratyne-D with Decongestant Repetabs), promethazine (Phenergan, Sandoz Fenezal)
- not available without a prescription for children under 2 years old
- do not drink alcohol with medicines that make you drowsy
- sedating antihistamines are not suitable for everyone; check with your pharmacist.
- these medicines can cause drowsiness, sometimes the next day; it is significant you do not drive or operate machinery
- if you own other medical conditions, such as glaucoma, epilepsy or prostate problems, or you take antidepressants, check with your pharmacist before taking these medicines
- don’t share face cloths, towels or eye drops
- dispose of tissues carefully
- apply a freezing face cloth or lubricating eye drops to soothe eyes
Combination eye drops including decongestant
naphazoline + antazoline (Antistine-Privine, Albalon-A), pheniramine + naphazoline (Visine Allergy with Antihistamine, Naphcon-A)
- some eye drops contain an antihistamine (such as pheniramine, antazoline) to stop itching, and a decongestant (such as naphazoline) to take away redness
- some eye drops cause temporary stinging
- limit use of combination eye drops to no more than 5 to 7 days to avoid a ‘rebound’ redness from overuse
Antihistamines (to treat and prevent symptoms)
- allergic conjunctivitis can be treated with antihistamine tablets or eye drops.
- when you own an allergic reaction your body releases histamine, which leads to ‘allergic’ symptoms
- you can prevent and/or treat the allergic reaction by taking antihistamines when you are around triggers, such as pollen or pet dander
Other eye drops, to prevent allergy symptoms
cromoglycate (Cromolux Eye Drops, Opticrom), lodoxamide (Lomide Eye Drops %)
- these prevent allergic reactions in the eyes and need to be used 4 to 6 times per day, depending on the ingredient, for the entire time you are exposed to triggers, such as during spring
Newer, less-sedating antihistamines
e.g. cetirizine (ZepAllergy, Zilarex, Zyrtec), desloratadine (Aerius), fexofenadine (Fexotabs, Telfast), loratadine (Claratyne, Lorano)
- cetirizine and loratadine are available as syrups for children; check correct doses for diverse age groups
- newer antihistamines may rarely cause drowsiness; do not drive or operate machinery if you are affected.
Cetirizine is more likely to cause drowsiness than other less sedating antihistamines
e.g. fexofenadine + pseudoephedrine (Telfast Decongestant)
- avoid triggers (e.g.
pollen, animal dander) where possible
- apply a freezing flannel or lubricating eye drops to soothe eyes
Antibacterial eye drops and ointment
e.g. propamidine (Brolene Eye Drops)
e.g. chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin Eye Ointment and Drops, Chlorsig Eye Ointment and Drops, Minims Chloramphenicol % Eye Drops), sulphacetamide (Bleph Eye Drops)
- continue using treatment until 24 hours after your conjunctivitis has cleared
- eye ointment may temporarily blur vision, so it may be better to use it in the evening
- if conjunctivitis persists, see your doctor for further treatment
- for the best effect use drops or ointment every few hours, according to instructions, and clean away discharge before applying
- bacterial conjunctivitis can resolve without treatment; however, antibacterial eye drops or ointments may speed your recovery
- some people may be allergic to the contents of eye drops, so check with your pharmacist before taking
- some of these drops or ointments should be avoided in pregnancy
- bathe eyelids with warm water or saline, and use warm face cloths
- dispose of tissues carefully
- do not use decongestant eye drops as they can mask redness and infection
- do not share face cloths, towels or eye drops
- children should be excluded from school until the infection subsides
Antihistamine eye drops
azelastine (Eyezep Eye Drops), levocabastine (Livostin Eye Drops, Zyrtec Levocabastine Eye Drops)
Antihistamine and mast cell stabiliser eye drops
- histamine is released from mast cells when you own an allergic reaction, which leads to hayfever. Mast cell stabiliser medicines assist reduce this histamine release, and so reduce allergic reactions and hayfever
e.g. ketotifen (Zaditen)
Lubricant eye drops and gels
e.g. Albalon Relief, Bion Tears, Blink Intensive Tears, Cellufresh, Celluvisc, GelTears, Genteal Gel, Genteal Lubricant Eye Drops, HPMC PAA, Hylo-Forte, In A Wink Moisturising Eye Drops, Liquifilm Forte, Liquifilm Tears, Lux Clean, Luxyal, Luxyal Monodose, Methopt, Murine Eye Drops, Murine Revital Eyes, Murine Tears, Optifresh, Optive, Optrex Eye Drops, PAA, Poly Gel Lubricating Eye Gel, Poly-Tears, PVA Forte, PVA Tears, Refresh, Refresh Contacts, Refresh Liquigel, Refresh Plus, Refresh Tears Plus, Rohto Zi Contact Eye Drops, Rohto Zi Unused Eye Drops, Systane, Tears Again, Tears Naturale, TheraTears, Viscotears, Visine Professional, Vistil, Vistil Forte
- viral conjunctivitis generally resolves by itself
- lubricating eye drops and bathing of the eyes can be soothing
- topical decongestant eye drops may help
Eye allergies: Get relief from itchy, watery eyes
By Gary Heiting, OD
Eye allergies — red, itchy, watery eyes that are bothered by the same irritants that cause sneezing and a runny nose among seasonal allergy sufferers — are extremely common.
In addition to having symptoms of sneezing, congestion and a runny nose, most of these allergy sufferers also experience itchy eyes, watery eyes, red eyes and swollen eyelids.
In some cases, eye allergies also can frolic a role in conjunctivitis (pink eye) and other eye infections.
If you ponder you own eye allergies, here are a few things you should know — including helpful tips on how to get relief from your red, itchy, watery eyes.
- do not wear contact lenses with some eye drops; check with your pharmacist
- throw eye drop bottles away one month after opening; mark the date you open them on the bottle (check product details as some eye drops can only be used for shorter periods)
- protect your eyes from wind and sun by wearing sunglasses
- if you are using more than one type of eye drops, leave 10 minutes between applications
- do not wear contact lenses if you own an eye infection, such as conjunctivitis
- some eye drops can cause temporary stinging, if this continues, talk to your pharmacist
- simple analgesics such as paracetamol may help in relieving the pain associated with viral conjunctivitis
Tips for applying eye drops
- pull your lower eyelid below gently with your index finger to form a pocket; tilt your head back slightly and glance up
- do not touch your eye with the dropper tip
- apply only one drop at a time into the affected eye(s) unless the first drop was incorrectly istered
- try not to blink straightaway, as this draws eye drops into the tear duct and out of the eye
- always wash your hands first
- close your eye and press gently over the corner, near your nose, to stop the drops draining through your tear duct
- hold the bottle between your thumb and index finger and squeeze gently to release one drop into your eye pocket
- wait 10 minutes before adding other eye products
- use eye drops before eye ointment
Tips for applying eye ointment
- hold the tube between your thumb and index finger and relax your hand against the base of your nose, to position the tube tip
- apply a little blob of ointment into your lower eyelid pocket
- do not touch the eye with the tube tip