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Antihistamine eye drops are a form of liquid medication for eye allergy relief. They are taken topically and applied directly to the affected eye.
Eye allergies are caused by environmental stimulants, such as:
Some of these eye drops require a prescription. However, most antihistamine eye drops do not, including leading medications such as Pataday, Alaway, and Zaditor.
Antihistamine eye drops prevent and treat itchy eyes caused by allergies, including seasonal allergies and conjunctivitis.
In addition to itchiness, antihistamine eye drops help alleviate red eyes, swollen eyelids, and a feeling of something in the eye.
In the case of underlying issues like glaucoma, consult your eye doctor before starting any new eye drops.
This type of eye drop is usually recommended as the first line of treatment for eye allergies, especially if oral antihistamines are not effective. Most people with itchy, watery eyes caused by histamine reactions from allergens will benefit from short-term use.
For those with underlying eye issues, seek immediate medical attention.
Side effects of antihistamine eye drops are generally mild.
They can include:
There are many types of antihistamine eye drops. Some have the same active ingredients with differing dosages. Others are made of various medicinal components.
It's not clear which is best for you. People react differently to medications.
Below is more information on several types of over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops to help you make a more informed decision:
Ketotifen fumarate is a type of antihistamine. It treats allergic conjunctivitis symptoms by blocking the release of histamines. These are naturally occurring substances that cause allergic reactions.
These drops provide eye itch relief by acting as a mast cell stabilizer to further prevent allergic reactions.
Many leading eye drop brands contain ketotifen fumarate, though there are also generic options available.
Brands that use ketotifen fumarate as the main active ingredient include:
Zaditor is a prescription-strength antihistamine eye drop that is available over-the-counter. It targets itchy eyes at the source with a powerful antihistamine.
Unlike some other antihistamine eye drops, Zaditor does not contain a vasoconstrictor. This is often used as a redness reliever for clear eyes, but is not recommended for regular use. Similar generic options are also available.
Alaway eye drops are manufactured by Bausch & Lomb. They are clinically tested to relieve itchy eyes for up to 12 hours. They begin to work in less than three minutes.
Epinastine is another type of antihistamine eye drop that is also a mast cell stabilizer. It is used to treat allergic conjunctivitis, much like ketotifen eye drops.
Epinastine targets highly selective receptors. As a result, it never crosses the blood-brain barrier. It is manufactured by Allergan. Pataday used to be prescription-only, but is now available OTC.
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