Self-Treatment for Minor Eye Conditions


US Pharmacist. 2001;26(12) 

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Patients may complain that exposure to ragweed, pollen, grass, animal hair, or animal dander causes uncomfortable symptoms. Allergic rhinitis is the classical response to these allergens, with symptoms consisting of nasal itching, rhinorrhea, nasal congestion, and sneezing. Often, these cardinal symptoms can be relieved with nonprescription antihistamine/decongestant combinations; however, the syndrome often includes ophthalmic symptoms such as itching, tearing and redness. Oral medications may treat the ophthalmic symptoms incompletely. Therefore, nonprescription ophthalmic vasoconstrictor/antihistamine combinations may be helpful. All four products currently available contain naphazoline 0.025%-0.05% as the vasoconstrictor and either pheniramine 0.3%-0.315% (Opcon-A, Naphcon A, Visine-A) or antazoline 0.5% (Vasocon-A) as the antihistamine. Patients are instructed to place 1 to 2 drops in the affected eye(s) up to four times daily for a maximum of 72 hours. As is the case with virtually all self-care ophthalmic products, patients should remove contact lenses before instillation.