Are your eyes itchy, red, or watery? Many people think that itchiness and redness happen because their eyes are dry, but it could be more than that. Itchy, red, watery eyes often occur because of eye allergies, which can stem from a variety of allergens: dust, pollen, mold, pet hair, etc. Some of these are avoidable, but most of them are not. When you cannot avoid exposure to allergens, allergy eye drops are the next best bet. Here are some of the best types of eye drops for allergies.
Antihistamine Eye Drops
Allergic reactions happen when your body mistakes a substance: dust, milk, peanuts, pollen, as an invader. Your body tries to stop this invader by releasing antibodies, which in turn release histamines that trigger allergic symptoms: congestion, inflammation, stomach problems, etc.
Antihistamine eye drops help to mitigate these symptoms by blocking the histamines. In this way, they can be used to relieve the redness and itchiness that stems from allergies. There are prescription antihistamine eye drops and over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops, the latter of which often come with a decongestant to help with redness. Some of the best ones we have found include Optivar, Emadine, Opcon – A, and Naphcon – A.
Decongestant Eye Drops
These eye drops are most helpful in reducing eye redness. Decongestant eye drops help to shrink the blood vessels in your eyes so you cannot see the redness, but they are not particularly helpful for your other symptoms. They are mostly sold over-the-counter, and include the active ingredient naphazoline. Common brands include Visine, Vasocon, Albalon, and others.
However, you have to be careful with decongestant eye drops, as you can form dependency on them over time if overused. If this happens, you may end up with red eyes when you don’t use the drops, which can end up being uncomfortable.
Artificial Tears & Lubricating Eye Drops
This is probably the best type of eye drop to start out with if you are not used to using eye drops. Artificial tears don’t nullify or reverse the process of an allergic reaction – they simply wash away whatever allergen or irritant is affecting your eyes in the first place. If you put them in the fridge before using them, it’s like an instant cold compress for your eyes! These are especially helpful if you use them before bed, and can be found over-the-counter or online.
If you continue to experience itchiness, redness, and watery eyes while using allergy eye drops, you might be suffering from a different problem. Itchy, red, and watery eyes can also be caused by pink eye, dry eye, or you could be overwearing your contacts. To avoid irritation, make sure you wear high quality contacts from places like Simple Contacts, and that you only wear contacts for as long as you are supposed to – never longer! Taking care of your eyes is an important part of your overall health, and should be taken very seriously.