Millions of Americans suffer from allergies, whether they’re seasonal or year-round. For many of these allergy sufferers, the effect is most noticeable in their eyes. For these people, eye drops are the first and only option. Ahead, we’ll take a look at the best eye drops for allergies so you can see which one is best for your case.

Eye Drops for Allergies

Multiple different allergens cause eye allergies. First, you have to determine which allergen is affecting your eye health. After you’ve figured this out, you’ll have a better idea of what eye drop is best for you.

Allergy Triggers

Eye allergies can be triggered by outdoor allergens like pollen or indoor allergens such as dust and pet dander. Additionally, irritants such as cigarette smoke, perfume, and exhaust have been known to elicit allergies in the eyes.

The first line of defense is avoiding these allergens and irritants, but this isn’t always a viable solution. If you don’t know what’s causing your allergies, it’s impossible to avoid the triggers. For these people, eye drops for allergies are usually the best solution.

Antihistamine eye drops are among the most popular options on the market. If you need something more intense, polytrim eye drops and azelastine eye drops are available, but usually only by prescription.

Benefits of Eye Drops

The benefits of eye drops are relatively straightforward. If you’re searching for one of the best eye drops for allergies, then you are probably aware of the discomfort caused by dry, itchy eyes. If your eyes sting or burn all day, it’s hard to focus and get work done without the constant rubbing.

Artificial tears and other forms of eye drops bring moisture that your eye may not create naturally. Some people need this, especially in the height of allergy season. If your eyes were damaged in the past, the need may be even more significant. In short, using eye drops could be the difference between a regular day and a day full of extreme discomfort.

While eye drops don’t naturally make you feel more awake, many people experience this feeling after taking them. With dry eyes, it can be challenging to keep your eyes open throughout the day. If you add eye drops to your dry eyes, you won’t be squinting and nodding off on your lunch break.

Negatives of Using Eye Drops

Eye drops are necessary for a lot of allergy sufferers, but you should take certain precautions. Some over-the-counter eye drops contain preservatives that can trigger allergies rather than prevent them. It’s important to read the ingredients before use, as these cases can mean even more discomfort throughout the day.

If you can, try to limit the use of eye drops and stay away from the triggering allergen in the first place. This option isn’t always possible, but eliminating the allergen should still be the first choice. Continually using eye drops can be annoying, and often serves to add unwanted breaks in your day.

Additionally, it’s essential that you don’t use eye drops when you don’t need them. This may seem like common sense, but users with a lot of allergies can put in eye drops without thinking about it. Just like anything, constant use of eye drops can create a dependency.

If you use eye drops multiple times a day, it may add to the problem of dry, red, itchy eyes. If your body isn’t used to creating its own moisture, it will eventually rely on the eye drops. This means that, even with no allergens, you’ll still experience dry and itchy eyes. The negatives of eye drops aren’t too serious, but make sure you only take them when you need to.

allergy eyes

1. TheraTears Dry Eye Therapy

TheraTears Dry Eye Therapy is a fantastic option if you suffer from year-round allergies. One of the biggest problems year-round allergy sufferers run into is the amount of preservatives found in traditional eye drops. These are fine for seasonal allergies, but can be detrimental after continued use.

TheraTears eye drops are completely preservative-free. If you experience indoor allergies, finding an option with no preservatives is a must. These chemicals can do long-term damage to your eyes, and make them worse in the long run.

As far as lubrication, TheraTears offers relief that is almost immediate. There is a stinging sensation when the drops are applied, but that is relatively common with eye drops. They don’t last as long as some competitors and it’s the only area in which these drops come up short.

Pros:

  • Preservative-free
  • Thick drops
  • Easy to apply
  • Immediate lubricating feeling

Cons:

  • Sting when applied
  • Don’t last very long

2. Systane Ultra High Performance Eye Drops

Systane Ultra High Performance Eye Drops are another option in preservative free artificial tears. Like TheraTears, Systane Ultra eye drops are safe for continued use. If you suffer from constant eye allergies, you’ll want to choose one of these options over a product that contains preservatives.

Although you need to apply these drops a couple times a day, they last a long time. They sting a bit when applied, but not near as badly as some other drops.

For some reason, this product comes in multiple vials which can be a hassle at times. That said, this can be a benefit to people who don’t want to worry about losing their eye drops. Additionally, you can bring the drops with you on the go  and still have an ample supply at home.

Pros:

  • Preservative free
  • Long-lasting
  • Immediate relief
  • Excellent redness relief

Cons:

  • Some users reported minor stinging when applied
  • Comes in multiple vials

3. Visine Eye Allergy Relief Eye Drops

Visine is one of the first brand names that comes to mind when it comes to eye drops. There’s a reason for that. Visine Allergy Relief is one of the top options, and one of the best eye drops for red eyes.

Although the eye drops sting a bit when they go in, they’re easy to get used to. Strangely enough, I grew to enjoy the refreshing sting after a while. Some other eye drops irritate the eye more than Visine drops, so this shouldn’t be too much of a drawback.

Once you put them in, the drops work immediately. You won’t be walking around with bloodshot eyes for a half hour after taking these.

Pros:

  • Fast relief
  • Prevents bloodshot effect
  • Strong lubricating feeling
  • Easy to apply

Cons:

  • Stings a bit when applying according to some users
  • Needs multiple applications throughout the day

4. Bausch & Lomb Alaway Eye Itch Relief

Bausch & Lomb Alaway Eye Itch Relief is a prescription-strength eye drop that reduces itch for up to 12 hours after application. Other eye drops need to be applied multiple times throughout the day, but with the Bausch & Lomb option you can get by with a drop in each eye in the morning.

I hate to remember to apply eye drops, and am usually reminded when my eyes itch like crazy. With these, you won’t have to worry about forgetting. They don’t cause a burning sensation like others do, but aren’t as effective at handling additional allergy symptoms.

One of the main negatives of the Bausch & Lomb eye drops is that they contain preservatives, which can be painful after extended use. If you suffer from year-round allergies, these may not be the best option.

Pros:

  • Long-lasting itch relief
  • Prescription strength allergy relief
  • Doesn’t sting when applied
  • Adequate redness relief

Cons:

  • Contains preservatives
  • Doesn’t address other allergy issues

5. Alcon Zaditor Eye Drops

Alcon Zaditor eye drops are another serviceable option for seasonal allergy relief. They contain preservatives, so you won’t want to use them all the time. Still, if you suffer from occasional allergies, Alcon Zaditor will serve your needs.

These drops last a long time. You can probably apply them once or twice each day. They sting a fair bit, and the sensation lasts longer than many other brands. So, if you hate the stinging feeling, these might not be the drops for you. Once the burning sensation subsides, though, these drops get the job done and lubricate your eyes for an extended period of time.

Pros:

  • Strong allergy relief
  • Long lasting
  • Great redness relief
  • Easy to apply

Cons:

  • Contains preservatives
  • Stings for a while after application according to some users

Best of the Bunch

Out of the five eye drops we reviewed, the best option is the Systane Ultra High Performance Eye Drops. They last a long time, and provide fantastic itch and redness relief. All of the drops on this list are serviceable, but the Systane Ultra product is the best option for most cases.

One of the biggest selling-points for the Systane Ultra eye drops is the lack of preservatives. If you suffer from year-round allergies, you simply can’t use eye drops with preservatives.

In the long run, eye drops with preservatives will only make your problem worse, and could cause permanent damage to your eyes. These drops also last longer than TheraTears eye drops, which is what edged them out in the end. If you’re looking for seasonal relief, another option will work, but the Systane Ultra High Performance Eye Drops are your most well-rounded choice.

Image Source: Adobe Stock

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