Itchy eyes caused by hay fever

Some advice if you suffer from itchy eyes caused by hay fever

  • Try to avoid exposure to pollen, staying indoors and refraining from parks and gardens when the pollen count is high (the Met office publishes a 5 day forecast).
  • Wrap around glasses or sunglasses can help prevent pollen from entering your eyes.
  • If you are exposed, then remove the pollen as quickly as possible by washing your hands, face and hair. Unpreserved lubricating eye drops such as Lubristil can help to wash it out of your eyes.
  • Try to avoid rubbing your eyes as it can make things worse and don’t wear contact lenses or eye make up.
  • Cold compresses such as refrigerated eye lid masks, ice packs or slices of cold cucumber can help to alleviate symptoms.
  • Antihistamine eye drops such as Otrivine, or mast cell stabilisers (preventing the histamine response) such as Sodium Cromoglicate are available from pharmacists without prescription. They should ideally be unpreserved in individual vials because the preservatives used in multi-dose bottles can themselves cause inflammation. We keep some unpreserved formulations in stock.
  • There is evidence that steroid based nasal sprays (also available from pharmacists) can give relief to red itchy eyes and there are numerous antihistamine tablets to help with the general symptoms of hay fever. It is extremely important to seek advice from the pharmacist, before using any of these medicines, because each formulation has different pros and cons and they may interact with other medication.
  • If one or both eyes remain red or sore in the absence of hay fever symptoms then please come and see us, or if you are unable to manage your hay fever symptoms then please see your GP.


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