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Eye Drops and Ointments

 –  Most people have eye irritation at one time or other. There are a number of reasons why eyes become irritated, red or itchy. Two of the most common are dry eye and allergies. Eye irritation may be short lived – for example, eye redness and irritation after walking outside in the wind and cold or due to fatigue from focusing too long. In this case, redness relievers that "get the red out" and soothe eye irritation may be enough but always talk to your eye doctor about your symptoms and concerns and ask which products are right for you.
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Redness relievers contain ingredients like tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride that constrict blood vessels to help reduce redness. They're sometimes referred to as decongestant eye drops. They work well for relieving minor irritation, but your eyes can become tolerant to their effects so they no longer work as well. That's why they aren't the best choice for long-term use. For soothing irritation longer term, lubricant eye drops are another option.

Dry Eye is a Common Cause of Eye Irritation

Lubricant eye drops and ointments are usually advised for addressing dry eyes that feel gritty and irritated due to a lack of quality tears. Lubricant eye drops contain ingredients that mimic natural tears to moisten eyes that are too dry. Dry eye may be caused by exposure to wind, eye strain, hormonal changes and certain medications and medical conditions. It's a condition that becomes more common with age as tear gland production slows down. It's important to lubricate dry eyes since chronic dryness can damage the surface of your eye.

Allergy Relief for Itchy, Irritated Eyes

Another common cause of eye irritation and redness is allergies. A number of people experience eye irritation due to seasonal allergies and need relief from the constant itching, irritation, eyelid swelling and redness. Antihistamine eye drops work well for relieving allergic eye irritation. They work by counteracting the effects of histamine, a chemical released by your body that triggers allergy symptoms. Some antihistamine eye drops also contain an ingredient that constricts blood vessels to relieve redness.

Eyelid irritation is another common problem. Pre-moistened lid scrub pads are a sterile way to remove dust or debris from your eyelids, including pollen, which can worsen eye irritation due to allergies. These pads provide a layer of soothing moisture to dry or irritated eye lids.

Why Eye Care is Important

You only have one pair of eyes and you depend on them every day. If you work in front of a computer or live and work in a dry environment, you're more at risk for eye strain and dry eyes. Give your eyes a rest by taking frequent breaks, and keep lubricating eye drops on hand to refresh and lubricate your eyes. If you're prone towards seasonal allergies, keep antihistamine eye drops on hand to relieve eye irritation and itching due to allergies. Don't forget about the importance of regular eye care and vision exams so you can keep your eyes healthy for a lifetime.

This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

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