Healthy Body

Optometrists Say These Are the Best OTC Eye Drops for Intense Fall Allergies

Zoe Weiner

Photo: Getty Images/CoffeeAndMilk
Spring gets all the credit for being allergy season, but if the itchy eyes you're experiencing right now are any indication, fall deserves its fair share of flack, too—and that's where allergy eye drops can be super helpful. This time of year, an influx of air irritants—which come by way of the weed pollination that happens from August through November—causes an uptick in allergy symptoms, including dry, watery, and all-around uncomfortable eyes. But according to Monica Haizen, OD, a board-certified optometrist with My Eyelab, treating your peepers with one of the best allergy eye drops on the market will help you easily keep these issues at bay.

The best eye drops for itchy eyes

Dexterity Health Liquid MSM Eye Drops 2-Pack — $23.00

For dry, itchy eyes, Sam Berne, OD, a holistic optometrist, recommends using MSM eye drops, like these. They contain sulfur, which helps to reduce inflammation, one of the main causes behind the dryness that causes itching.


PATADAY Eye Itch Relief — $13.00

Dr. Haizen cites these as her over-the-counter allergy eye drops of choice. “It is my preferred allergy drop because it is usually very effective and only dosed once a day as needed, instead of multiple doses a day,” she says. It used to only be available with a prescription, but now you can snag it for yourself online or at your local drugstore.

Visine Allergy Eye Relief Multi-Action Antihistamine & Redness Reliever Eye Drops — $6.00

Allergy symptoms are no match for these drops, which offer multi-action relief and are clinically proven to treat red, itchy eyes. They have the antihistamine properties that Dr. Haizen recommends, as well as 0.25 percent naphazoline hydrochloride to help with redness.

Bausch and Lomb Allergy Eye Drops — $7.00

These antihistamine drops have been called “THE BEST” for red and itchy eyes by Amazon reviewers, and as longtime user myself, I must say I agree. Whether it’s pollen or pet dander that’s got your eyes on fire, these will help relieve the burn.

Zaditor Eye Itch Relief Antihistamine Eye Drops — $22.00

This formula offers 12 hours of relief from itching, which means that a few drops in the morning should be enough to get you through the day, no matter how many airborne irritants you come across. It was originally prescription strength but is now available over the counter, so you know it’s sure to be effective.

Naphcon-A Eye Drops — $11.00

This allergy eye drop packs a one-two punch for symptom relief. The formula pairs a decongestant, which constricts the blood vessels in your eyes to reduce redness, with an antihistamine that helps with watering and itchiness.

Best eye drops for watery eyes

Clear Eyes Eye Drops, Complete 7 Symptom Relief (Pack of 3) — $17.00

These drops will help your eyes simply feel better overall, thanks to the fact that they target seven of the most common ocular allergy symptoms. Among them? Redness, dryness, itch, and—unlike the others listed above—watering.

Rohto Ice All-in-One Multi-Symptom Relief Cooling Eye — $15.00

In addition to helping stop tearing in allergy-prone eyes, these drops have a glorious cooling effect that will leave your peepers breathing a sigh of relief.

What causes fall allergies

Aside from the fact that weed pollination is at its annual high right now, there are a few other things that may be causing your post-LDW allergy flare. "Outdoor allergy causes in fall include high mold counts and high pollen counts," says Dr. Haizen, naming ragweed and mold spores from decaying leaves as two of the biggest culprits. "Indoor allergens like pet dander and dust mites can also cause allergy flare-ups, especially as students return to school and spend more time indoors."

Symptoms of fall allergies

While allergies can cause symptoms throughout your body and make you feel congested and sluggish, one of the most common places they show themselves is in your eyes. "Patients with seasonal allergies may experience eye itching and itching around their eyes, watery eyes, eye redness, eye puffiness, and dark circles under their eyes," says Dr. Haizen. If you've ever dealt with any of these, you know that the itching, in particular, can be brutal. The reason? "Eye itching is caused by histamine released by the body after an allergic trigger is sensed," says Dr. Haizen. "When patients with allergies itch their eyes, more histamine is released and eye itching continues or increases instead of feeling relief unless medication is taken."

What to look for in an allergy eye drop

Speaking of medication, Dr. Haizen recommends looking for anti-histamine products to best treat your ocular symptoms. "An effective allergy eye drop should target allergy relief, instead of just being an artificial tear or lubricating eye drop or drop that that only targets redness," she says. Keep scrolling for eight picks that fit the bill.


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