Skip to content

Allergies Health Center

Font Size

Eyedrops for Allergy Symptoms


Over-the-counter decongestant eyedrops

Generic Name

Over-the-counter antihistamine plus decongestant eyedrops

Generic Name Brand Name
naphazoline/pheniramine Naphcon-A , Opcon-A

Over-the-counter antihistamine eyedrops

Generic Name Brand Name
ketotifen Alaway, Zaditor

Prescription anti-inflammatory eyedrops

Generic Name Brand Name
ketorolac tromethamine Acular

Prescription antihistamine eyedrops

Generic Name Brand Name
alcaftadine Lastacaft
epinastine Elestat
olopatadine Pataday, Patanol

Mast cell stabilizers

Generic Name Brand Name
cromolyn Crolom
lodoxamide tromethamine Alomide

How It Works

Eyedrops camera.gif relieve the eyes of redness, itching, and watering caused by allergies, or they reduce these symptoms.

Why It Is Used

You can use eyedrops for eye symptoms caused by allergic rhinitis.

How Well It Works

Eyedrops often provide prompt relief of itching and watering. How much relief you get depends on the type of eyedrops you use.

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Increase in eye irritation.
  • Eye redness and swelling.
  • Headache.

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Stinging or burning of the eyes when you first apply the drops.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Do not use decongestant eyedrops (such as naphazoline) longer than the label says. Using these eyedrops too often or for too long can cause congestion to occur when you are not having allergy symptoms. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.


Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Current as of March 12, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

man blowing nose
Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
Allergy capsule
Breathe easier with these products.
cat on couch
Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
Which ones affect you?

blowing nose
woman with sore throat
lone star tick
Woman blowing nose

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

cat lying on shelf
Allergy prick test
Man sneezing into tissue
Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching