Ask The Pharmacist: 6 quick ways to relieve itchy red eyes
My eyes are driving me crazy and I thought I’d share what I know with you in case you are feeling the same way right about now. For me, it’s a triple hit from the smoke generated by fires nearby in Colorado, the ragweed pollen and some drywall dust kicked up when I demo’d a fireplace in my new home.
Here’s a sample of what I’ve been doing to tame the red so that people stop asking if I was up all night drinking, lol, which I was not I assure you!
1. Dry up
Take an oral antihistamine such as Loratadine (Claritin). I am taking about a half tablet daily with a natural supplement which I’ll tell you about in my longer article at my website. Now that you’ve got your antihistamine on board, proceed to step 2.
2. Wash your eyes
Irrigate your eye with saline and a sterile eye cup. Your local pharmacy, department store or online e-tailer has Bausch & Lomb’s brand of “eye wash” or “irrigating eye wash” or a similar brand of saline that comes with an eye cup. You do not want contact lens cleaner, you want to basically rinse your eye out. It’s similar to opening your eye underwater in a pool, you just have to do it.
3. Apply a cold compress
Take a clean washcloth, dip it in ice water and wring out, then apply. I like to take them and fold the washcloth in half, then roll it up tightly. The ends of the washcloth will now ‘fit’ into your eye socket, and it is such sweet relief! Be intelligent and apply sparingly, you just want to cool your eye for a few seconds, don’t hurt yourself.
4. Get the red out
You can choose what you like, or can afford. I use various ones including Zaditor because this lasts 12 hours, and contains a histamine blocker only (Ketotifen), whereas most eye drops contain an antihistamine as well as a vasoconstrictor. If you’re looking for that type of combination, try Opcon or Visine, or their store-brand generic equivalents which will save you money.
5. Lie down and breathe
Buy an eye pillow, preferably unscented and put it in the freezer for 15 minutes. You can always store yours in there, that’s what I do. Put it on your eyes and just breathe. Mmm.
6. Look like a diva
Cucumber slices on the eyelids… you see this all the time in spa pictures and the reason is that cucumbers reduce eye inflammation and they’ll temporarily hide the fact that you pulled an all-nighter last night, played with your neighbor’s cat or went horseback riding through ragweed. You can apply them topically, or better yet, juice cucumbers along with some carrots and celery and drink it.
Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.