The 8 Best Eye Drops for Allergies of 2023

Bausch + Lomb Alaway Eye Drops provide relief up to 12 hours

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Best Eye Drops for Allergies

Verywell Health / Ashley Bayley

Pet dander, dust, ragweed, grass, and pollen can trigger your eyes to have an allergic reaction. Common OTC allergy medications may help, but according to Christine Franzese, MD, allergist at the University of Missouri Health Care, eye allergies can be hard to treat. Whether it's dryness, redness, or itching, eye drops can provide some relief for the different symptoms of eye allergies.

Reviewed & Approved

Bausch + Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops is our top pick. It not only provides relief up to 12 hours, but it can be used to treat allergic responses to pollen, pet dander, and grass. We recommend Refresh Optive Lubricant Eye Drops if you wear contacts.

When looking for eye drops, it's important to choose one with oral antihistamines, as they "will help with eye symptoms about 50% of the time, and nasal steroid sprays, like fluticasone, will help 60% of the time,” she says. We researched dozens of eye drops for allergies and evaluated them for ingredients, price, and treatment duration to find the best eye drops for allergies on the market.

A woman potentially using eye drops for allergies or dry eye

ljubaphoto / Getty Images

Best Overall

Bausch + Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops

Bausch and Lomb
  • Broad-spectrum allergy relief

  • Lasts up to 12 hours

  • Fast acting for irritated eyes

  • May sting or burn with application

  • Can’t be used while wearing contacts

We chose the Bausch + Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops as our top pick because it features 0.025% ketotifen, an opthalmic antihistamine that provides allergy relief. Antihistamines like ketotifen are designed to block the response of histamines. Alaway, with its 12-hour protection, can easily be used to treat common allergic responses to pollen, pet dander, and grass. It starts working right away and can be used with contact lenses (following the directions on the packaging). Eye drops containing only antihistamines, like Alaway, are generally safe for everyday use.

Price at time of publication: $19

Active Ingredients: Ketotifen 0.025% | Dosage: 1 drop in affected eye(s) twice per day or every 8-12 hours

Bausch + Lomb Alaway itch relief

Verywell Health / Hildara Araya

What the Experts Say

“Ketotifen works by reducing eye allergies through its antihistamine and mast cell stabilizer properties. It works within minutes of administering the drops.” —Yuna Rapoport, MD, director of Manhattan Eye in New York City

Best Budget

Visine Allergy Eye Relief Multi-Action Eye Drops

  • Contains an antihistamine for itching and a decongestant for redness

  • Can be used up to 4 times a day

  • Redness rebound possible

  • Doesn’t last as long as other drops

The mere mention of OTC eye drops probably makes you think of Visine. The company has been doing eye care for decades, and they offer several different formulations of drops designed to help with literally any eye problem you could possibly have (yes, even eye strain from too much screen time).

Because Visine products are pretty affordable, their Visine Allergy Eye Relief Multi-Action Eye Drops are a winning budget pick for anyone who needs allergy relief stat without shelling out lots of cash. With both an antihistamine for itching and a decongestant for redness, they're the eye drops you should grab when allergies catch you by surprise and leave you roaming the pharmacy aisles in desperation.

These eye drops are easy to use, and you can use these drops up to four times per day as needed, but not for more than 72 hours in a row. These drops contain a decongestant which you could become dependent on if you use them consistently. Eye allergies that are seasonal or require longer symptom relief should be treated with a product that doesn’t contain any decongestant.

Price at time of publication: $7

Active Ingredients: Naphazoline HCl 0.025%,  Pheniramine maleate 0.3% | Dosage: 1 or 2 drops in the affected eye(s) up to 4 times a day

Visine Allergy Eye Relief Multi-Action Eye Drops

Verywell Health / Bailey Fink

Best for Redness

Bausch & Lomb Opcon-A Allergy Eye Drops

Bausch & Lomb Opcon-A Allergy Eye Drops


  • Relieves itching and redness

  • Relief of pollen, grass, and pet dander allergies

  • Safe for intermittent use

  • May cause redness rebound

  • May cause stinging and burning

If eye redness is your biggest problem, you’ll probably have to choose drops that contain a decongestant like naphazoline. This ingredient acts as a vasoconstrictor, meaning it shrinks the inflamed blood vessels so they become less noticeable. 

Bausch & Lomb Opcon-A Allergy Eye Drops are a good choice for redness caused by allergies because it also contains an antihistamine. It can do double-duty on your symptoms, reducing redness on the spot while also relieving itching due to grass, pollen, ragweed, and pets. 

You need to be careful, though, about overusing this product: Your eyes can become accustomed to the decongestant, and more severe redness can result when you stop using it (which leads you to use the product again, thus continuing the vicious cycle). But intermittent use—up to four times per day for 72 hours at a time—is safe. 

Price at time of publication: $10

Active Ingredients: Naphazoline HCI 0.02675%, Pheniramine maleate 0.315% | Dosage: 1 or 2 drops in the affected eye(s) up to 4 times daily

Bausch & Lomb Opcon-A Allergy Eye Drops

Verywell Health / Jennifer May

Best for Contact Lens Wearers

Refresh Optive Lubricant Eye Drops

Refresh Optive Lubricant Eye Drops

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Lubricates and hydrates dry eyes

  • Can be used with contacts

  • Relieves grittiness, blurriness, and itching

  • Won’t treat allergies

  • May need to be applied frequently

Refresh Optive Lubricant Eye Drops mean good news for contact lens wearers who also suffer from allergies: you don’t have to choose between your contacts and freedom from allergy symptoms! Many allergy eye drops are safe to use with soft contacts. The trick, in this case, is keeping your eyes moisturized since the one-two punch of contact lenses and allergy irritation can do a number on your eyes’ overall moisture. Also comes in a preservative-free option.

Price at time of publication: $11

Active Ingredients: Carboxymethylcellulose sodium 0.5%, Glycerin 0.9% | Dosage: 1 or 2 drops in affected eye(s) as needed

Best for Dry Eyes

Systane Lubricant Eye Drops

Systane Lubricant Eye Drops

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Like artificial tears for dry, gritty eyes

  • Long-lasting moisture for irritated eyes

  • Won’t treat allergies

  • Not for use with contacts

  • No antihistamines

If dryness is your number one eye allergy symptom, you may want to start small with Systane Lubricant Eye Drops, an artificial tear product. You might not need to use antihistamine or decongestant products if lubrication solves your dryness problems.

When it comes to keeping your eyes nice and moist, Systane is a consistently good choice: With two different kinds of glycol, a humectant that attracts and binds water to the outer layer of a surface, these drops can be applied anytime your eyes need a serious refresher. 

While these drops work well for lubricating dry eyes caused by allergies, they can also be used to moisturize gritty or blurry eyes, eye strain or fatigue, and excessive tearing. They're also preservative-free which makes them a great choice for sensitive eyes. They’re basically an all-purpose moisturizer for your eyes.

Price at time of publication: $18

Active Ingredients: Polyethylene glycol 400 0.4%, propylene glycol 0.3% | Dosage: 1 or 2 drops in affected eye(s) as needed

Systane Lubricant Eye Drops

Verywell Health / Ashley Bayley

What the Experts Say

“Lubricating drops or artificial tears will treat dry eye, which causes many of the same symptoms that allergic conjunctivitis causes, such as burning, itching, foreign body sensation.” —Yuna Rapoport, MD, director of Manhattan Eye in New York City

Best for Itchy Eyes

ALCON Pataday Once Daily Relief

ALCON Pataday Once Daily Relief

Courtesy of Amazon

  • One application needed per day

  • Contains antihistamine ingredient

  • Approved for use in kids over 2 years old

  • You can’t reapply if it wears off

  • May not work as well as ketotifen

If you need an antihistamine for your eye allergies, the last thing you want is one that irritates your eyes even more before it starts working. If you haven’t had success with ketotifen-based eye drops, you may want to try one containing olopatadine, like Alcon Pataday Once Daily Relief. Dr. Franzese says this ingredient typically doesn’t sting as much as some others.

The antihistamine in Alcon Pataday Once Daily Relief targets itchy eyes and other allergic symptoms caused by grass, pollen, ragweed, and animals, like Bausch + Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops. It’s perfect for people who work all day around their allergy triggers, since it lasts 16 hours and only needs to be used once a day (although there is also a twice-daily formulation if you need the overnight protection). 

Price at time of publication: $9

Active Ingredients: Olopatadine 0.2% | Dosage: 1 drop in affected eye(s) once daily

Best for Sensitive Eyes

Similasan Allergy Eye Relief Drops

Similasan Allergy Eye Relief Drops

Courtesy of Amazon

  • No pharmaceutical ingredients

  • Multi-symptom allergy relief

  • Gentle so can be used as needed

  • May not be strong enough for severe allergies

  • Possibility of allergic reaction to natural ingredients

Similasan Allergy Eye Relief Drops are for anyone with sensitive eyes looking for natural eye allergy treatments. Similasan eye drops don't contain medications, preservatives, or other chemicals, Similasan offers an eye drop containing gentle, non-irritating ingredients. These allergy relief drops treat sensitive eye symptoms such as redness, itching, and stinging.

Because the ingredients are natural, you can use the drops as needed without worrying about side effects or rebound symptoms. They contain three primary botanical extracts that work to tackle your symptoms naturally. The company advises wearers to check with a doctor first before using this product with contact lenses.

Price at time of publication: $7

Active Ingredients: None | Dosage: 2 to 3 drops in affected eye(s) as needed

Similasan Allergy Eye Relief Drops

Verywell Health / Paden Reich

Best for Watery Eyes

ALCON Zaditor Antihistamine Eye Drops

 Zaditor Antihistamine Eye Drops

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Lasts a long time and works fast

  • Original prescription strength

  • Broad-spectrum relief for allergens including seasonal

  • May sting or burn with application

  • Can’t be used while contacts are in eye

  • Not a lubricant

Are you sick of hearing about ketotifen yet? Sorry, but we’ve got one more for you. Lots of eye allergy sufferers swear by Alcon Zaditor Antihistamine Eye Drops, which contains this antihistamine powerhouse and relieves your symptoms for 12 hours with just one drop.

If you have watery eyes, you should be looking for a product with an antihistamine—they’re known for their ability to dry up mucus, which is why they are so good at stopping runny noses and post-nasal drip. For watery eyes, an antihistamine can reduce all those excess tears caused by environmental allergens. 

Zaditor can help with everything from seasonal pollen to dry air in office buildings, providing both immediate and long-lasting relief. They can be used indefinitely without any rebound effect and are safe for use with contacts, too (per the directions on the packaging). 

Price at time of publication: $19

Active Ingredients: Ketotifen 0.025% | Dosage: 1 drop in affected eye(s) twice per day or every 8-12 hours

How We Selected the Best Eye Drops for Allergies

When selecting the best eye drops for allergies, we researched dozens of top brands and formulations. We also spoke to allergists and an ophthalmologist to find out what patients should look for in an over-the-counter solution to eye allergy irritation. When narrowing down our choices, we considered two different types of drops: mast cell stabilizers and antihistamines, as well as the dosages for each product, and whether or not they work for contact lens wearers. Our top priorities were finding eye drops that target allergy-related symptoms and identifying products that are effective without being expensive.

What to Look for in Eye Drops for Allergies


There are two main kinds of ingredients in eye drops that can reduce your allergic reaction to seasonal or environmental triggers:

While eye drops that include lubricating ingredients, like the polyethylene glycol found in artificial tears, may be helpful in soothing eye irritation, they don’t actually stop the histamine response at the root of your problems.

The ingredient that will work best varies from person to person, so be ready for a little trial and error.

“If you have tried an antihistamine eye drop and not found relief, you may find relief with a mast cell stabilizer,” says Kathleen Dass, MD, Michigan-based allergist and immunologist. “In rare circumstances, we use both to treat because they work differently.”

You might think that more ingredients equals more kinds of relief, but that’s not necessarily the case. Many eye drops, especially those that reduce redness, include vasoconstrictors in the form of decongestants, and these aren’t safe for long-term use.

“It's okay to use these drops rarely if you need to—however they will not provide long-term allergy relief [and can also] create rebound redness,” explains Dr. Dass.

Target Symptoms

Because eye drops often focus on relieving a single symptom of allergies, you’ll have to experiment a little when it comes to finding a product that works for you. If you only have one symptom, like dryness, you don’t need a multi-action drop. On the other hand, if your eyes are itchy, red, and watery, that might be your best bet.

As with any other medication, you can’t properly treat your symptoms if you don’t know what they are. Dr. Dass says it's important to confirm that you’re definitely dealing with eye allergies, not a similar problem like dry eyes or blepharitis (also called granulated eyelids), since those conditions are treated differently. Eye redness and grittiness can also be symptomatic of viral conjunctivitis or pink eye, in which case getting an accurate temperature reading would aid in diagnosis and treatment. You may need to meet with an allergist to hone in on your individual symptoms and, preferably, figure out your triggers; while eye drops can treat symptoms, the only way to prevent symptoms entirely is to avoid your triggers.


Most drops will require you to use them once or twice per day. You’ll get the same amount of medication over a 24-hour period, but one way may end up being more preferable to you than the other.

For example, if you find the effects of the drops wearing off after 10 hours but you’re using a once-daily drop, you’ll be left with symptoms for a long time before you can take another dose. But if you wear contact lenses, it could be a total hassle to remove your contacts twice a day for administering drops, warns Dr. Dass. Make sure you think about your schedule and ability to use the drops before choosing between 12- and 24-hour formulations.

Use With Contact Lenses

Speaking of contacts, it’s important to make sure the eye drops are safe for use with your lenses.

“Most eye drop instructions recommend waiting 10 to 15 minutes before putting in your contacts,” says Dr. Dass, who emphasizes the importance of reading the instructions that come with your brand of eye drops (you want the medication to be fully absorbed before you put your lenses in, or they can interfere with the effectiveness of the medication). Also, it is a good idea to take your allergies into account when shopping for contacts to find ones that won't further exacerbate your symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I use allergy eye drops for pink eye?

    It depends on what’s causing your pink eye; conjunctivitis can be caused by allergies, a virus, or bacteria, says Yuna Rapoport, MD, director of Manhattan Eye in New York City, so if your pink eye has been caused by allergies then these types of drops would be useful. If a virus or bacteria is the culprit, allergy drops won’t help.
    So how do you know if your pink eye is from allergies? Dr. Rapoport says if your symptoms are chronic (i.e., they last over a long period of time, not suddenly), if there is no yellow mucus that comes out, and if the ophthalmologist sees "papillae" or bumps on the inside of the eyelid during an eye exam.

  • Do eye drops for allergies help with red eye?

    Just like with pink eye, the cause for your red eye symptoms matters: if pollen or animal dander (or all that scratching you're doing because of pollen or pet dander) has made your eyes red and irritated, then allergy eye drops may help. 
    But Dr. Rapoport stresses that other eye conditions like dry eye, blepharitis, and infection can also cause red eye—and allergy eye drops will not relieve your red eye in those cases.

  • Can I develop a dependency on eye drops?

    If the eye drops contain certain ingredients, you can develop a dependency. The main ingredient to be extremely mindful of is Naphazoline HCI; this is a decongestant ingredient which shrinks the blood vessels in your eye to make them appear less visibly red, but it will cause a rebound effect if used too often.
    In other words, the more you use redness relieving eye drops, the redder your eyes will become—and the more you’ll feel like you need to use a redness reliever, kicking off a vicious cycle where you become dependent. 
    How can you avoid this? By using redness relieving drops with decongestant ingredients sparingly.
    “Those drops should not be used more than just every so often for a special occasion or picture,” explains Dr. Rapoport.

  • How much do allergy eye drops cost?

    Because allergy eye drops are generally sold over-the-counter, the price range is largely affordable, with most prices falling under $15. A few of the options on our list are multipacks—great for people who frequently use eye drops or households of allergy-sufferers—which might run closer to $20. The most expensive item on our list is our top choice, Alaway, which comes in a two-pack; our least expensive option is Visine, which came in at under $7 at the time of publication. Name-brand are typically around the same price as generic products.

Why Trust Verywell Health

Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017—everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that manage everyday health conditions, from GI issues and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.