Ocular Allergies Red, itchy, watery eyes are often a sign of ocular allergies. The symptoms for ocular allergies can often be confused with the symptoms for dry eyes and eye infections. Therefore, do not diagnosis yourself! Always see your eye doctor for a professional opinion before beginning treatment. Eye allergies can be caused by pollen, mold, dust and pet dander. They can also be a reaction to preservatives (such as Benzalkonium Chloride, Chlorhexidine and Thimersal) found in cosmetics, eye drops, including artificial tears that contain preservatives and some household cleansers. Anything that causes an allergic reaction is called an “allergan”. The best treatment for ocular allergies is to protect your eyes from the allergan. Try to avoid what is causing your ocular allergies whenever possible. Do not rub your eyes if they itch! People with seasonal allergies benefit from wearing protective eyewear such as WileyX Climate Control Eyewear. People with allergies to specific preservatives should use products with a different preservative or select “Preservative Free” products. Everyone with allergies will get relief by washing the irritants from their eyelids and lashes with an eyelid cleanser such as OCuSOFT Lid Scrub. In addition, using a cold compress on your closed eyelids is another simple way to get relief. The Oasis Rest & Relief Eye Mask with Gel Beads is an excellent eye masks that will make your eyes more comfortable. Eyes become dry when a person has ocular allergies. Therefore, using the following preservative-free dry eye drops will provide some relief: Oasis Tears or Oasis Tears Plus PF Lubricant Eye Drops) Genteal Moderate Relief PF (Novartis) retain PF (OCuSOFT) Ocucoat PF (B+L) Sooth Lubricant Eyedrops PF (B+L) Refresh Optive (Allergan) Systane Balance PF (Alcon) Systemic Antihistamines and Decongestants (OTC) such as Zyrtec, Xyzal, Claritin or Allegra may be used for general allergy symptoms. Benedryl is an excellent choice to get relief from severe and sudden allergy symptoms. Follow the medical precautions on the label when using these medications. If more relief is needed, there are some OTC eyedrops with an ocular antihistamine known as ketotifen fumarate (0.025%). The dosing for these drops is twice a day during allergy season. Alaway (Bausch + Lomb) TheraTears Allergy Claritin Eye (Shering-Plough) Zaditor (Alcon) Refresh Eye Itch Relief (Allergan) Zyrtec (J & J) AllAboutVision.com is an excellent resource for more information. For more severe allergy relief see your eye doctor for further evaluation and treatment.