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Which allergy-relief eye drops are best?

Whether it’s pollen, dust, or pet dander, sooner or later it will find its way to someone’s eyes, nose and throat. While there are oral medications available for nasal allergies, the best source of relief for irritated eyes is sterile, medicated eye drops.

Some eye drops for allergy relief contain antihistamines, while others add astringents that actively shrink swollen tissues. Prescription-strength eye drops may also contain corticosteroids that help reduce eye pressure.

At the top is Bausch + Lomb’s Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops, a long-lasting, concentrated eye drop that works across the spectrum of allergens.

What to know before you buy allergy-relief eye drops

Range of treatment

Nonprescription eye drops all provide relief from dust and pollen simply by rinsing them away. Simple saline solution can be used as a basic eye wash, for instance. Eye drops formulated specifically for allergies should address several issues. Some help reduce the itch but do not reduce swelling. Others treat inflamed blood vessels that cause redness but don’t contain antihistamines.

When shopping for allergy-relief eye drops, it helps to consider the most common symptoms triggered by your personal environment and look for a formulation that meets those needs. There’s no sense investing in a high-end multi-symptom eye drop if the irritation is caused primarily by a dusty environment.


Some eye allergies are triggered by a reaction to pollen, mold, or pet dander. The body reacts by releasing histamines to the affected area, which can create itching, redness, and tearing. Eye drops containing antihistamines essentially neutralize the histamines, reducing the symptoms almost immediately. However, the relief may only last a few hours per dose.

When eyes become inflamed and swollen from severe allergies, anti-inflammatory eye drops are often more helpful than antihistamines. These powerful drops can sting or burn on application, however, and they can take up to an hour to become fully effective. Some anti-inflammatory eye drops require a prescription, and their use should be limited unless directed by a physician.

For those with severe eye allergies, there are nonprescription and prescription eye drops that prevent the release of histamines from the body’s “mast cells,” a natural defense system that reacts to allergens. Some eye conditions may even require a prescription-only product containing corticosteroids, which can affect eye pressure and vision.

Ease of use

Many people with known eye allergies prefer to carry their OTC eye drops in a purse, pocket or glove compartment in order to have immediate relief on hand. This means the packaging should be portable, secure and easy to open. The contents should remain protected from contamination and leakage.

Some users may find applying the drops to be challenging because of the bottle’s design. Ideally, the tip of the bottle should form and release drops with minimal pressure required. There are also single-use doses of eye drops available that eliminate the need to carry a full bottle at all times.

How much you can expect to spend on allergy-relief eye drops

The most basic eye drops containing allergy-relieving ingredients can usually be found on store shelves for $3-$6 a bottle. For those who require a multi-symptom approach, brands with stronger active ingredients retail between $7 and $12, while prescription-strength products or economical multipacks can cost up to $25.

Allergy-relief eye drops FAQ

Q. Are eye drops for allergy relief safe for children?

A. Many eye drop brands are formulated to be safe for ages 3 and up, but you should consult the product information before using the drops on children. You may also consider using an oral allergy medication to bolster the effectiveness of the eye drops.

Q. I wear contact lenses. Can I still use allergy eye drops?

A. Many OTC eye drops are promoted as safe for contacts, but you may want to remove them temporarily to give the active ingredients time to work. Applying drops directly to the contact lens can create some cloudiness.

What allergy-relief eye drops are best to buy?

Top allergy-relief eye drops

Bausch Lombs Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops

Bausch + Lomb’s Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops

What you should know: These medicinal drops from a well-respected brand work quickly on a number of different irritants, not just pollen or dust.

What you’ll love: You’ll get long-lasting relief from one drop. The active ingredients are prescription-strength, and no prescription is required. It works on multiple sources of eye irritation and allergies and contains up to a 60-day supply in one bottle.

What you should consider: Some users report burning sensations and allergic reactions.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top allergy-relief eye drops for the money

Similasans Allergy Eye Relief Eye Drops

Similasan’s Allergy Eye Relief Eye Drops

What you should know: This homeopathic eye treatment is ideal for users who seek a gentler alternative to chemical-based eye drops.

What you’ll love: It contains natural ingredients and no harsh chemicals. It works well as an enhanced eye rinse and works within minutes.

What you should consider: The formula is mostly water with less powerful homeopathic ingredients.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Alcons Naphcon Eye Drops, Allergy Relief

Alcon’s Naphcon Eye Drops, Allergy Relief

What you should know: This prescription-strength eye drop is one to carry in a purse or pocket while working outdoors/traveling/camping.

What you’ll love: Dropper is very user-friendly. Contains strong antihistamine and astringent. Works on a wide variety of allergens and irritants. Formerly prescription-only.

What you should consider: Some people reported a burning sensation during the first application. The package is smaller than expected.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Michael Pollick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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