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Irritated Eyes from Allergies
Eye irritation is a symptom of allergies. When a person is allergic to a substance such as pollen or dander, his or her immune system releases a chemical called histamine which is responsible for red, swollen, watery and itchy eyes. Read on to learn ways to get allergy relief for irritated eyes.
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Oral antihistamines can help control many symptoms caused by allergies, including eye irritation. Diphenhydramine, like Benadryl, and chlorpheniramine, like Chlor-Trimeton, are common over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines. Both come as a tablet, capsule and liquid. Side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, constipation, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and increased chest congestion. Serious side effects include difficulty urinating and vision problems. Benadryl may cause excitement, especially in children, and nervousness.
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There are a number of eye drops for allergies. OTC eye drops that contain a vasoconstrictor (decongestant) can help relieve irritated eyes, but are recommended for short-term use only.Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an OTC eye drop, ketotifen, that does not contain a vasoconstrictor. Brand names include Zaditor and Alaway. For fast and continuous relief, only one drop two times a day is required.
Prescription eye drops come in a variety of forms, including decongestants, decongestant/antihistamine combinations, antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers, antihistamine/mast cell stabilizer combinations, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and corticosteroids.
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• Place a freshly sliced cucumber on your eyelids for 15 minutes to soothe and heal irritated eyes.
• Pour 1 cup of hot water over 1 teaspoon of dried horsetail herb, cover, steep for 10 minutes and strain. Dunk two cotton pads in the liquid, place the pads over your eyelids, keep them on for 10 minutes, redunk the pads and place over your eyelids for another 10 minutes. Repeat in 30 minutes if needed.
• Crush 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the crushed seeds, cover, steep for 15 minutes and strain. Saturate two cotton pads and place them over your eyelids for 15 minutes.
• Using an eyewash is another natural way to get allergy relief from irritated eyes. Prepare one of the following:
- Pour 2 cups of boiling water over 1 ounce of whole dried eyebright herb, cover, steep for 20 minutes and strain.
- Add 3 drops of eyebright tincture to 1 tablespoon of boiled water.
- Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers, cover, steep for 5 minutes and strain.
- Add 12 drops of chamomile tincture to 1 cup of boiled water.
To use, fill an eyewash cup (available at drugstores) half full with one of the above cooled mixtures. Lean forward, place the cup tightly around your eye, tilt your head backward, open your eye, rotate your eyeball to thoroughly wash the eye, lean forward and remove the cup.
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Pub Med: Diphenhydramine - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000704
Pub Med: Chlorpheniramine - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000707
The Weather Channel: Types of Allergies: Eye Allergies - http://www.weather.com/activities/health/allergies/helpclinic/help_allergy_eyes.html
Zaditor - http://www.zaditor.com/index.jsp
Bausch + Lomb: Alaway - http://www.bausch.com/en_US/ecp/visioncare/product/drops/alaway_ecp.aspx
Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen, Bottom Line's Healing Remedies (2006)
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Photo by derrickrichmond (CC/flickr) - http://www.flickr.com/photos/derrickrichmond/4797930863/
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