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Pataday eye drops for allergy relief

Allergy sufferers are all too familiar with the effects of pollen, dander, ragweed and other various allergens. In addition to excessive sneezing and runny nose, one of the biggest tolls allergies take is on the eyes, causing uncomfortable itching, redness and watering.

Fortunately, products such as Pataday eye drops can provide instant relief for these bothersome eye symptoms. And thanks to recent changes approved by the FDA, all varieties of Pataday drops that were once prescription-only are now available over-the-counter. 

What are Pataday eye drops?

Pataday eye drops are formulated for the temporary relief of eye allergy symptoms such as redness and itching. These are often brought on by allergens like:

  • Pollen

  • Ragweed

  • Grass

  • Pet hair and dander

The product is suitable for relief from both indoor and outdoor allergies, and is approved for use in children ages 2 and older as well as adults. (But speak with your eye doctor before use if you have concerns).

Pataday was previously available only by prescription for allergy relief, but the product line is now widely available over-the-counter. Before becoming available in stores and online, the drops went by different names: Pataday (now called Pataday Once Daily Relief), Pazeo (now called Pataday Once Daily Extra Strength) and Patanol (now called Pataday Twice Daily Relief). 

SEE RELATED: Eye allergies: Take our self-test

How does Pataday work?

Pataday contains an antihistamine called olopatadine, which works to relieve eye allergy symptoms in multiple ways. 

  1. Mast cells, which hold the histamines in your eyes that cause itching, are stabilized. This prevents histamines from being released and prohibits itching in the eyes.

  2. Histamines that have already been released are also blocked from attaching to the eye’s histamine (H1) receptors, stopping the itching in its tracks.

By controlling the release of histamines, Pataday is able to both prevent and put a stop to eye allergy symptoms. Since it is applied directly to the eyes, Pataday eye drops provide relief in minutes.

How to use Pataday eye drops

Pataday drops are applied in the same way as most other eye drops. It’s important to follow the dosage listed on the bottle, as Pataday is only safe to use once or twice a day depending on the variety. 

You should also remove contact lenses before using Pataday (they can be placed back in 10 minutes after application).

The following is important to remember when administering eye drops:

  1. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water and dry them off with a clean towel.

  2. Remove contact lenses before applying drops.

  3. Inspect the lid and cap to make sure they are clean. Never use a bottle that has been tampered with or opened at the store or from an online order.

  4. Tilt your head back or lie down and focus your eyes on the ceiling while holding them open.

  5. Place your index finger an inch or so under your eye and gently pull down to create a pocket between your eyeball and lower lid.

  6. Use your opposite hand to squeeze the eye drops into your eye. Do not touch the bottle to your eye, as this can cause contamination or spread bacteria.

  7. Keep your eye closed for a few moments to ensure the drop spreads evenly across the surface of your eye. Tilting your head down at this point may also help.

  8. Replace the lid securely. To prevent contamination, do not touch or wipe the dropper. 

  9. Wipe away any spills from your face with a clean tissue or cotton round.

  10. Wash your hands once again to remove drops from your hands.

Pataday can be used with other eye drops, but it is best to wait at least five minutes between the use of each.

SEE RELATED: How to put in eye drops

How often can you use Pataday?

Pataday Once Daily Relief and Pataday Once Daily Relief Extra Strength should only be used once a day, with only one drop per eye.

Pataday Twice Daily Relief can be used every 6 to 8 hours, up to twice a day, with one drop per eye.

If you still find yourself struggling with eye allergies even after taking the recommended doses of Pataday, contact your eye doctor for an evaluation.

Pataday side effects and risks

Any medication can cause unwanted side effects. Some of the side effects that have been reported with Pataday include:

  • Headache

  • Blurred vision

  • Eye irritation

  • Unpleasant taste

  • General weakness

  • Swollen eyelids

  • A sensation of something being stuck in your eye

  • Sore throat

  • Back pain

If you experience more serious side effects or an allergic reaction, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. This includes side effects such as:

  • Rash

  • Dizziness

  • Trouble breathing

  • Itching or swelling of the face, tongue or throat

Let your medical providers know if you are using Pataday before undergoing procedures or taking additional medications. If you experience a side effect that obstructs your vision, refrain from driving or performing activities that require accurate vision.

Pataday may cause harm if swallowed. If you ingest Pataday, call poison control at 1-800-222-1222 (U.S.).

SEE RELATED: Best allergy eye drops: Antihistamine, OTC, prescription 

How much does Pataday cost?

The average cost of Pataday among retailers and pharmacies is around $21. Manufacturers may offer coupons or sales that can lower this price.

Where to buy Pataday

Pataday eye drops are available over-the-counter, both online and in stores. You can find the drops in stores and online at places such as:

  • Target

  • CVS Pharmacy

  • Walmart

  • Walgreens

  • Amazon

You may also find Pataday in the pharmacy section of your local grocery store.

What to know before trying new ophthalmic products

It’s critical that you follow the directions provided by your eye doctor, pharmacist and/or the instructions listed on any new medication you try, whether prescription or over-the-counter. If you have a history of medical issues, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your eye doctor before using Pataday products.

Be sure to see your eye doctor annually for a comprehensive eye exam as well. Eye exams are the best way to keep your eyes healthy and assess any problems that may require treatment, including eye allergies.

READ NEXT: Eye allergies vs. pink eye: What’s the difference?

FDA approves three drugs for nonprescription use through Rx-to-OTC switch process. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. February 2020.

Pataday frequently asked questions (FAQs). Pataday. Accessed June 2021.

Olopatadine (ophthalmic route): Side effects. Mayo Clinic. March 2021. 

Where to buy Pataday. Pataday. Accessed June 2021.

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