Itchy Eyes? A Few Thoughts On Eye Drops.

As pollen season hits with a bludgeon, many people turn to antihistamines to keep their eyes from looking like something out of the Walking Dead.

Those seeking out a doctor’s prescription for itchy eyes are most often prescribed antihistamines, and most doctors do not change the prescription despite continued complaints from patients (43% found the treatment unsatisfactory in one study). 

But what about eye drops? Patients have a choice between simple saline, any number of drug preparations, homeopathic remedies, and even Ayurvedic options. For a start,”The simple washing of nasal cavities using isotonic saline provides a significant improvement and is useful, particularly in children.”

None of the eye drop options are risk-free. Of the studies available, the drug sodium cromoglicate was far less risky than anything in the steroid classes (usually words ending in -one). But patients are typically prescribed both. Of the alternative treatments, homeopathics would generally be considered less likely to cause possible side effects. But anything made in a non-sterile environment should be avoided, as washing the eyes with bacteria or viruses is always a bad idea. Commercially prepared homeopathics have shown some benefit, and usually mix in commonly prescribed remedies like euphrasia, allium, and apis. 

In preparation for the next year, you could get hold of some local honey. The honey contains the local pollens, and a small amount of the honey daily might act in the same way as Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT). In SLIT, patients place a small amount of an allergen under their tongues, which can reduce symptoms over time

If you really want to avoid itchy eyes, better get in a time machine and head back to your own birth. “Based on current systematic review evidence, the most promising intervention for the prevention of AE is the use of probiotics (and possibly prebiotics) during the late stages of pregnancy and early life.”