Eyedrops for Allergic Rhinitis

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Eyedrops for Allergic Rhinitis


Over-the-counter decongestant eyedrops

Generic NameBrand Name
naphazoline hydrochlorideClear Eyes
tetrahydrozoline hydrochlorideVisine

Over-the-counter antihistamine plus decongestant eyedrops

Generic NameBrand Name
naphazoline hydrochloride/pheniramine maleateNaphcon-A Solution, Opcon-A Solution

Prescription anti-inflammatory eyedrops

Generic NameBrand Name
ketorolac tromethamineAcular

Prescription antihistamine eyedrops

Generic NameBrand Name
levocabastine hydrochlorideLivostin

Mast cell stabilizers

Generic NameBrand Name
cromolyn sodiumCromolyn, Apo-Cromolyn
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

Side effects of eyedrops may include:

  • Temporary stinging or burning of the eyes when you first apply the drops.
  • Damage to contact lenses. You should not wear contacts while using eyedrops.

Ketorolac can cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ASA (Aspirin). Ketorolac can also cause excess bleeding in people with bleeding disorders or who are on medicines such as ASA (Aspirin) that may also cause excess bleeding.

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. Before you give decongestant medicines to a child, check the label. These medicines are not recommended for children younger than age 6.

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

What To Think About

Avoid using eyedrops for a long period of time.

Do not use these types of eyedrops to treat a bacterial infection of the eye (conjunctivitis).

Cromolyn works more slowly than antihistamine eyedrops.

People who have narrow-angle glaucoma cannot use Opcon-A Solution, Naphcon-A Solution, and Vasocon-A Solution.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should talk to their doctors before using eyedrops.

Children cannot use all eyedrops. Talk with your doctor before using them on your child.

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 Harold S. Nelson, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Last Revised November 21, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.