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Eyedrops for Allergic Rhinitis


Over-the-counter decongestant eyedrops

Generic Name

Over-the-counter antihistamine plus decongestant eyedrops

Generic NameBrand Name
naphazoline/pheniramineNaphcon-A , Opcon-A

Over-the-counter antihistamine eyedrops

Generic NameBrand Name
ketotifenAlaway, Zaditor

Prescription anti-inflammatory eyedrops

Generic NameBrand Name
ketorolac tromethamineAcular

Prescription antihistamine eyedrops

Generic NameBrand Name

Mast cell stabilizers

Generic NameBrand Name
cromolyn sodiumCrolom
lodoxamide tromethamineAlomide

How It Works

Eyedrops 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 more than 3 days in a row. Using these eyedrops for too long can cause congestion to occur when you are not having an allergic reaction. This effect is similar to the rebound congestion of nasal decongestant sprays. Decongestants may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems. Before you use them, check 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.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Last RevisedJune 30, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 30, 2011
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.

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