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Best eye drops for hay fever

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger HendersonReviewed on 29.04.2024 | 2 minutes read
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You know when the pollen season has arrived if you suffer from itchy, streaming eyes and they look red and puffy. It can be really uncomfortable, and you feel desperate for some relief. Our pharmacist has put together some remedies to help soothe your eyes and heal your eye symptoms.

Doctor’s advice

Will antihistamines help?

Taking an oral antihistamine is a good starting point for most people since the tablets can help dry up the excess eye and nasal secretions and help if you get lots of symptoms at once.

It’s worth starting these two weeks before you anticipate the season, to prevent symptoms from coming or reduce their severity. You’ll need to know which tree or grass pollen you’re allergic to, as they come out at different times of the year – a symptom diary can help.

Be aware that double-dosing doesn’t bring added benefits, so if you’re already taking antihistamine tablets, there’s no point adding in antihistamine eye drops.

My eyes get itchy and watery

Antihistamine eye drops are one option if you're not on oral antihistamines already. They dampen down the histamine response to help ease your eye symptoms. These eye drops – such as olopatadine or azelastine – are fast-acting but can cause a little discomfort or stinging when they’re first put in, although this quickly settles.

An alternative that can work with oral antihistamines is sodium cromoglicate 2% eye drops. These are not in the same class of medication as antihistamines but work as a stabiliser of the cells that release histamine (mast cells), preventing them from releasing histamine. It works directly in the eyes to suppress allergy symptoms.

My eyes feel gritty

Other eye drops or eye soothers may help to calm and ease irritation. They don’t have any antihistamine action but serve to soothe and hydrate the eyes. They can also cleanse, washing out any allergens or irritants.

Eyelid wipes cleanse away trapped pollen trapped around the eyelids and eyelashes that can cause itchiness and irritation, preventing ongoing irritation and allergic response.

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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 29.04.2024
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