Some over-the-counter allergy medications can cause dry eyes.
Our eyes can often get red and itchy from allergies and many of us
take over-the-counter allergy medications to treat those symptoms
such as Claritin, Allegra, etc.
What we often don’t realize is that those allergy medications contain
antihistamines which can
cause dry eyes.


How Over-the-counter Medications Cause Dry Eyes?

Oral antihistamines medications can cause dry eyes in two ways.

1. Active Ingredients of Allergy Medicine get Absorbed

Firstly the active ingredients in allergy medications get absorbed into the
bloodstream and travel to the tear gland. It is also called the
lacrimal gland where they reduce the number of tears produced by
affecting the nerves that innervate the tear gland.

2. Increase the Concentration of Inflammatory Particles

Secondly, those medications can also increase the concentration of
inflammatory particles in the tears and worsen dry eyes by
increasing inflammation. I often recommend that my patients who take
oral antihistamines medications for allergies to use
preservative-free artificial tears 2 to 3 times a day to reduce dry
eyes symptoms. 
Also if you are suffering from itchy eyes due to allergy, over-the-counter
allergy eye drops are more effective than oral allergy medications in
treating ocular allergy symptoms. I have listed a few over-the-counter eye
drops that are effective in treating ocular allergy symptoms.
  • Refresh Digital Eye Drop
  • Optase Eye Drop
  • Pataday Eye Drop
However, Remember that allergy eye drops contain preservatives that
themselves can worsen dry eyes in some people. If you are still
experiencing allergy symptoms in your eyes despite using over-the-counter
allergy eye drops, make sure you get a full eye exam with your eye
doctor to determine the best treatment for you.
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Ruman Amjad

Hello, I am Dr. Ruman Amjad, an Ophthalmologist specializing in the field of eye care, particularly focused on helping individuals with swollen eyelids. I am thrilled to welcome you to, a comprehensive resource dedicated to providing accurate and reliable information on eyelid inflammation.


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