With spring right around the corner, many people’s allergies begin to flare up. That can mean dry, itchy eyes that quickly become red and bloodshot.

Anti-histamine eye drops are often prescribed or recommended to relieve the symptoms that allergies produce. There are two main types of eye drops available over the counter.

The first type combines naphazoline and pheniramine. Naphazoline is a decongestant, which takes away the red, and pheniramine is an anti-histamine, wich helps to take away the itchiness. These are the active ingredients in Visine-A and NaphCon-A.

The other common type of over the counter eye drops contains ketotifen. Ketotifen works as an anti-histamine, eosinophil inhibitor, and mast cell stabilizer, which provides longer lasting relief. It is the active ingredient in Claritin eye drops and Zyrtec eye drops.

In addition to the dry, itchy eyes, if your allergies are causing a runny nose and sore throat, you may consider an oral histamine instead. If your symptoms only include discomfort in the eyes and nose, your ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor may prescribe a nasal steroid spray, which will help to alleviate those specific symptoms.

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