Antihistamine (eye drop)

Medication Information Leaflet

What is this medication for?

Antihistamines are a group of medications which can be used to relieve symptoms of allergic reactions. Antihistamine eye drops are used to treat symptoms of eye allergies (allergic conjunctivitis), such as red, itchy eyes and watery eyes. They may contain ingredients such as:
  • Ketotifen
  • Olopatadine

How should I take/use this medication?

Apply this medication to the affected eye once or twice a day as directed by your healthcare professional

For proper use of eye drop:
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, and read the instructions on the label
  • Shake the bottle
  • Tilt your head backwards and look up
  • Gently pull the lower eyelid down to form a pocket and squeeze the bottle to apply one drop into your eye. To prevent the tip of the bottle from getting dirty, make sure the tip does not touch the eye or any other surface
  • Close your eyes and press down gently on the inner corner of your eye for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the medicine to be absorbed and prevent it from being drained into the back of your throat
  • If you need to use more than 1 drop of medicine, or if you are using another type of eye drop, wait at least 5 to 10 minutes before applying the next eye drop. This is to prevent the first drop of medicine from being washed away by the second drop of medicine before it has time to work. This also prevents any medicine interactions between different eye drops
  • If your doctor prescribed both eye drops and eye ointments, you should use the eye drops first
For contact lens wearers:
  • Remove your contact lens before each application of medication
  • If you are using hard lens, you can put them on directly after applying the eye drops
  • If you are using soft lens, you can put them on 30 minutes after applying the eye drops. Otherwise, your lens may be damaged by the preservatives present in the eye drops 

What should I do if I forget to take/use this medication?

If you forget to apply a dose, apply it as soon as you remember. Then apply your next dose at the usual time. Do not apply two doses to make up for the missed dose. 

What precautions should I take?

Inform your healthcare professional if:
  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding

What are some common side-effects of this medication?

  • Headache, blurred vision
These effects are mild and will subside after some time. Do not drive or operate machinery immediately after using the eye drops.

  • Burning, stinging, redness or irritation of the eye
 If the discomfort continues for more than a few minutes, discontinue the medication, and rinse the affected eye with normal saline eye wash.

What are some rare but serious side-effects that I need to seek medical advice immediately?

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:
●        Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
●        Difficulty in breathing
●        Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

If you experience the following symptoms, your condition may be too serious for self-treatment and you should consult a doctor
  • Pain in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Change in vision
  • Gritty, sandy sensation in the eye
  • Discharge or mucous coming from the eye
  • Symptoms persist after self-treatment

What should I avoid when I take this medication?

To avoid eye irritation, remove contact lens prior to application of the eyedrops and wait at least 30 minutes before re-inserting the contact lens.

How should I store this medication?

Store in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Keep this medication away from children.

How should I throw away this medication safely?

Eye drops should be discarded 4 weeks after first opening, unless stated otherwise by the manufacturer.

Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing it into the rubbish chute or bin. 

If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore.

Last reviewed on December 2019
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