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  • Best overall eye drops for allergies: Bausch + Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops
  • Best once daily eye drops for allergies: Pataday Once Daily Relief
  • Best antihistamine eye drops with redness reliever: Visine Allergy Eye Relief Multi-Action Antihistamine & Redness Reliever Eye Drops
  • Best cooling eye drops: Rohto Ice All-in-One Multi-Symptom Relief Cooling Eye Drops
  • Best itch relief eye drops for allergies: Zaditor Antihistamine Eye Drops
  • Best eye drops for sensitive eyes: Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops
  • Best eye drops for dry eyes: Thera Tears Eye Drops for Dry Eyes
  • Best eye drops for contact lens wearers: Refresh Optive Lubricant Eye Drops
  • Best homeopathic eye drops for allergies: Similasan Allergy Eye Relief Eye Drops

The most common cause of eye inflammation? Run-of-the-mill allergies. According to research published in the Cochrane Library, the itching, redness, and tearing associated with eye inflammation is most commonly caused by indoor and outdoor allergens like pollen, pet dander, and dust mites.

The good news is that, according to the research, over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops that block histamine response can help to alleviate symptoms. If you’re experiencing eye discomfort due to allergies, read on to find our picks for the 9 best eye drops to choose from.

But first, some background information. The reason you’re experiencing the allergic response to begin with is because your body detects pollen or dust mites as something harmful, and in response releases several chemicals including histamine. Histamine causes inflammation, which leads to the unpleasant symptoms.

There are essentially two kinds of drops to support your allergic eyes: Those that help to address the histamine release (known as antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers) and those that help to lubricate the eye and calm down some of the irritation more generally.

Here are some of the common active ingredients found in eye drops that can support you when you’re dealing with allergies:

  • Ketotifen, pheniramine, and olopatadine are antihistamines often found in allergy eye drops. By blocking histamine — either throughout the whole body as with an oral antihistamine or locally when directly applied to the eye — you can feel relief from your allergy symptoms.
  • Naphazoline is a decongestant that relieves the symptoms of red eyes from irritation, such as seen in an allergic reaction.
  • Carboxymethylcellulose and glycerin are what’s known as “ophthalmic lubricants” which help to generally lubricate the eye and lock in moisture. Just like you put moisturizing cream on dry skin to relieve irritation — that’s the same purpose of this ingredient in a drop.
  • Hypromellose is a common lubricant for dry and irritated eyes.
  • Polyethylene glycol relieves dry, irritated eyes.

Note that you should stay away from overuse of redness-reducing eye drops. They have something called vasoconstrictors that are not safe for long-term use.

For contact lens wearers, most of the eye drops for allergies in the list below cannot be used with contacts in the eye. It’s recommended to remove contact lenses, put the eye drops in, wait 15 minutes, and then the contact lenses can be safely worn again. If you want to use eye drops while wearing your contact lenses, check out our best eye drops for contact lens wearers on this list.

We chose eye drops that featured the tried-and-true allergy alleviating active ingredients listed above. We also focused on those from well-known brands with a strong reputation and market presence. Finally, we went for those with a solid customer reputation — if a product did not have more than 4 stars and 100 reviews on Amazon, it didn’t make the cut.

Pricing guide

We included eye drops with a range of price points using the following guide:

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–$20
  • $$$ = over $20

Best overall eye drops for allergies

Bausch + Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredient: ketotifen

When it comes to highest rated and reviewed allergy eye drops on Amazon, these drops rule, with 4.5 stars and almost 9,000 ratings. That may be because they contain the king of antihistamine ingredients: ketotifen.

Pros

  • works for up to 12 hours
  • prescription strength for quick relief
  • clinically tested

Cons

  • cannot be used with contact lenses in the eyes

Best once daily eye drops for allergies

Pataday Once Daily Relief

  • Price: $$$
  • Active ingredient: olopatadine

Those who find it easier to take their drops once a day will appreciate these extra strength eye drops from Pataday, containing olopatadine. Though not quite as common as ketotifen, olopatadine is effective at blocking the histamine that’s causing your peepers so much discomfort.

Note that though they are priced higher, because you only use one dose a day, they’re actually comparable in price to the other antihistamines on the list.

Pros

  • only one dose needed daily
  • great for blocking histamine response
  • approved for use in children (over 2 years old)

Cons

  • cannot be used with contact lenses in the eyes
  • cannot be reapplied if effects wear off

Best antihistamine eye drops with redness reliever

Visine Allergy Eye Relief Multi-Action Antihistamine & Redness Reliever Eye Drops

  • Price: $
  • Active ingredients: pheniramine, naphazoline hydrochloride

Those that want to block their antihistamine response and reduce eye redness will want these highly rated drops from well-known brand Visine. In addition to the antihistamine pheniramine, they also contain naphazoline hydrochloride for redness relief.

Pros

  • dual-purpose
  • clinically tested
  • cheaper

Cons

  • redness-relievers should not be used long-term
  • cannot be used with contact lenses in the eyes
  • relief may not last as long

Best cooling eye drops

Rohto Ice All-in-One Multi-Symptom Relief Cooling Eye Drops

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredients: hypromellose, lubricant tetrahydrozoline, redness reliever zinc sulfate

For eyes that burn, you may want to go for these cooling drops from Rohto. Though they don’t actually contain any antihistamines, they do target eight common symptoms of allergies: Redness, dryness, irritation, itchiness, burning, grittiness, stinging, and watery eyes.

Pros

  • targets multiple symptoms
  • fast-acting
  • good for eye strain

Cons

  • does not block histamine
  • has to be reapplied up to 4 times per day
  • cannot be used with contact lenses in the eyes

Best itch relief eye drops for allergies

Zaditor Antihistamine Eye Drops

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredient: ketotifen

These ketotifen-based antihistamine eye drops target itchy eyes, claiming to reduce itchiness for up to 12 hours. Customers gave these prescription-strength drops high ratings, reporting that they felt improvement in their symptoms quickly.

Pros

  • does not contain vasoconstrictor (that reduce redness) so can be used in children age 3 and up
  • fast-acting
  • works for 12 hours

Cons

  • cannot be used while contacts are in the eyes
  • contains preservatives

Best eye drops for sensitive eyes

Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredients: polyethylene glycol and propylene glycol

These eye drops do not contain antihistamines, but instead use polyethylene glycol to relieve allergy and dry eye symptoms, such as burning, dryness, and irritation. The ingredients included, and the preservatives excluded, make these particularly good for those with sensitive eyes.

Pros

  • fact-acting relief of dry eyes
  • preservative free
  • good for dry eyes

Cons

  • does not contain any antihistamines
  • not clinical-strength

Best eye drops for dry eyes

Thera Tears Eye Drops for Dry Eyes

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredient: carboxymethylcellulose

Managing dry eyes during allergy seasons is difficult. That’s because in some cases, antihistamines can actually cause dry eyes as a side effect. To err on the side of caution in that regard, you can support dry eyes during allergy season more generally with these lubricating drops from Thera Tears.

Though they contain no antihistamines, they contain carboxymethylcellulose to help lubricate the eyes. They also use an electrolyte formula that improves the salt imbalance that can cause dry eye symptoms.

Pros

  • replicates healthy tears to help lubricate the eyes
  • preservative free

Cons

  • do not contain antihistamines
  • targeted for those with dry eyes only

Best eye drops for contact lens wearers

Refresh Optive Lubricant Eye Drops

  • Price: $$$
  • Active ingredients: carboxymethylcellulose and glycerin

The thing that contact lens wearers have to keep in mind is the use of preservatives, which are not recommended for those wearing contacts. These are preservative-free so contact lens wearers can grab that dropper without an issue. These drops use carboxymethylcellulose and glycerin to lubricate, hydrate, and soothe.

Pros

  • can be used while contacts are in
  • can be used after Lasik or other eye surgeries
  • fast-acting lubrication of the eye

Cons

  • does not contain an antihistamine
  • they come in separate small vials which may be difficult to open for some

Best homeopathic eye drops for allergies

Similasan Allergy Eye Relief Eye Drops

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredients: euphrasia, sabadilla, apis mellifica

The Similasan brand, from Switzerland, prides itself on its preservative-free formula that uses natural botanical extracts to stimulate the body’s defenses against allergens. It uses euphrasia, a wildflower known to temporarily relieve eye irritation; sabadilla, a Mexican plant used to treat allergies; and honeybee extract to help with your body’s natural reaction to pollen allergies.

Pros

  • made from natural, botanical ingredients
  • supports the body’s natural response
  • can be used while wearing contact lenses

Cons

  • contains no antihistamines
  • may not be as effective as nonbotanical options in treating allergic eyes

Other treatments for allergies can help alleviate all symptoms, including those affecting your eyes. Oral antihistamines, with brand names such as Claritin and Zyrtec, work to block the effect of histamine throughout your body. Nasal steroid sprays such as fluticasone, can help to decrease the swelling and irritation in the airways. It’s also possible to find home remedies for treating specific allergy symptoms, such as itchy eyes.

Putting a warm compress on the eyes morning and night can help to keep the oily surface on the eyes flowing, which can in turn help to lubricate them. Also, supplements such as fish oil can help ensure overall eye moisture.

Knowing the source of your allergies, whether indoor or outdoor, is often a good piece of information. An allergist, a doctor trained in treating allergies and other immune problems, can help with this — and perhaps even prescribe allergy shots to prevent your histamine response to begin with.

When it comes to allergy symptoms affecting the eyes specifically, the eye drops on this list can become an important line of defense in your battle with the elements.