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Antihistamines Eye Drops for Allergic Eyes Relief

There are different medications for treating eye allergy - an inflammation of the conjunctiva. Among them there are various types of eye drops available on the market, starting from “artificial tears” and up to more serious ones – antibiotics.

 Antihistamines are one of the major allergy drug categories, which include eye drops with antihistamines content. Like most of the eye drops they reduce the symptoms of eye allergy: the itching, the redness and the swelling of your eyes. But unlike others, antihistamines eye drops provide rather quick relief, although need to be used several times a day to prolong the effect (as it lasts only few hours).

As eye allergy is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the medicine should be delivered right to conjunctiva, the tissue that covers the eye (its white part). Eye drop are the best way to get the medication directly into that area. And the effect of reducing all the symptoms that are connected with eyes is the fastest. They are called antihistamines because they prevent the action of histamine produced in the body (all your symptoms), the chemical that your mast cells release while facing the allergen.

Wide range of medications is available in form of eye drops (even the pain killers). They may require a prescription or may not (over-the-counter drugs). Usually the second ones provide only short-term relief for your symptoms, while the proscribed drugs in form of eye drops also treat the symptoms, providing longer effect. They may be used from time to time when needed or rather frequent (it will depend on your symptoms and on the amount of active compound).

Types of antihistamine eye drops

All antihistamine eye drops may compound different active ingredient, but provide almost the same effect. Among them there are:

· Ketotifen

Its main action – to block the histamine receptors in the eye. These eye drops are used mainly for seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Zaditor is the most known example.

· Levocabastine hydrochloride

They are also indicated in case of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (for example Livostin).

·  Azelastin

They are also called Optilast, eye drops indicated mainly in case of hay fever.  Work by blocking the action of histamine in the body (best example is Optivar).

·   Olopatadine

Or Opatanol are proscribed for different types of seasonal allergies. They work the same as before mentioned drugs (Patanol is one of the example of olopatadine eye drops).

·  Emedastine

Or its brand name Emadine is proscribed for the relief of the signs and symptoms of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis.

·  Pheniramine

Its popular brand names are Opcon-A and some others: Ak-Con-A, and Naphcon-A (that is combination of antihistamines and decongestant). Eye drops are proscribed in case of hay fever.

How to use eye drops properly

It is important you do the following to make sure all the medication reaches the eye and is absorbed in order to achieve the maximum effect:

  1. You hand should be clean and dry
  2. Pull your lower eyelid from the eye
  3. Drop the medicine into your eye, not touching the eye or any areas (especially make-up areas).
  4. Gently close and open your eye several times, so the medicine will get all over the eye
  5. If another drop is required, wait for a couple of minutes and do the same.
  6. In some time you will know how to fill that the medicine gets to your eye (and not to your eyelash or surrounded area). It is very important to fix that fact.
  7. If you wear contact lenses you should probably get them off before using the medicine (for better effect), consult with your doctor.

Don’t forget to store the eye drops in the required temperature and condition. Make sure you are allowed to use eye drops in case you are:

  • pregnant or breastfeeding
  • have diabetes
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • disorders that involves optic nerve damage and any bleeding disorders
  • overactive thyroid
  • past allergic reactions to drugs (especially to antihistamines)
  • past or present infection of the eye or eye injury

Most common minor side effects from taking antihistamine eye drops are rather unlikely to appear but still required to be mentioned:

  • the eye lashes may become thicker or longer
  • the skin around eye lashes may become darker
  • you may experience redness around eye or burning and dryness of eyes (and any similar symptoms)
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  • blurry vision is possible
  • you may fill the taste of drops in your throat
  • headaches are possible
  • difficulty in passing urine
  • feeling sick
  • constipation or stomach upset
  • irritation
  • sometimes nose dryness occur (or runny / stuffy nose)
  • some other symptoms

Among more serious but unlikely to occur symptoms are irregular (and very fast) heartbeat and respiratory distress. Also confusion, depression and over-excitement in children. In any case (even if the minor symptoms worsen) call your doctor and get his or her consultation.

Valentyna Ant.


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