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Did you know hay fever affects over 16 million people in the UK? As one of the most common allergic conditions, hay fever can cause considerable discomfort to your eyes, making them red, itchy and swollen.

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Eye drops

While the best way to prevent hay fever is to avoid exposure to your pollen triggers, anti-allergy eye drops can be used to help alleviate eye symptoms, as they target the site of discomfort directly.

Mast cell stabilisers

The most widespread group of eye drops used to help relieve these symptoms are called ‘mast cell stabilisers’. These drops can help to prevent symptoms before they start, so are a great option if you know when you are likely to develop the allergy.


Antihistamine eye drops are another option with a more immediate effect. Although they can’t prevent the allergic reaction, they can help treat it quickly when symptoms arise.

Eye drops from both of these groups can be prescribed or purchased from your local optical practice or pharmacy on the advice of your optometrist.

Managing hay fever

Tips to help manage your hay fever symptoms:

Rinse regularly

Rinse your eyes regularly with a dedicated eye wash to remove any dust and pollen from the surface of the eyes.

Avoid exposure

Avoid your exposure to pollen by closing windows and keeping surfaces clear with a damp duster.

Avoid going out in the early evening and midmorning when the pollen count is at its highest.


Wear sunglasses when outside – wraparound styles offer more protection from pollen.

Cool it…

If you develop eye symptoms, a cold compress can provide temporary relief, and the cooling sensation can help reduce inflammation. Dry eye drops that have been cooled in the fridge can have a similar effect.

Make the switch

Switch from contact lenses to spectacles if you develop eye symptoms. Ensure you have an up-to-date pair of prescription spectacles and sunglasses.