Seasonal allergies can affect the eyes often because the eyes are moist. Antigens like pollens can "stick" there. It is always a good idea to rinse ones eyes with saline. Individual contact lens saline ampules are OK, however, multi-use bottles of non-preserved saline are not. Sterile ampules used in respiratory therapy are great, but usually require a prescription. Rinsing eyes with saline is like taking a bath or washing ones hands. If your hand "itched" would you take a "pill" to make it stop? Likely you would wash it. Allergy pills or sprays and even most drops do not treat the allergy directly. Most remedies merely "stop" your body's or eye's natural response to "wash" the allergen away, causing your eyes and sinuses to be more sticky like "fly paper." This results in a build-up of antigen "load" on mucosal linings making the eventual immune response even more vigorous. For this reason, it should be our goal to minimize antigen load! We can do this with protective sunglasses, masks or nose filters, indoor clean air attention, and eye and nose rinses with sterile saline after exposure. While many people do need intervention relief symptomatically, it is usually best to start with hygiene and proceed to targeted treatments with longer duration of action as recommended by your physician. Drops usually contain preservatives and are less irritating when applied less often. Most "pills" act on ALL MUCOUS MEMBRANES and are NOT selective to EYES or SINUSES only.
Also, remember that most treatments DRY UP the MUCOUS MEMBRANES, making infections caused by resident germs even more opportunistic because they can only grow easily in low oxygen environments. Normal SALINE is 99.1% WATER, and water is 80% oxygen! Oxygen-rich wetting agents are therefore better than sticky or oily ones for most purposes.
Your eye physician should guide you to specific treatments after a careful exam, as many "red, itchy eyes" are not just allergies.
Wesley K. Herman, MD