Claritin, Zyrtec and Dry Eyes

Written by on November 3, 2005 in dry eye, Ocular Rosacea with 2 Comments

The comparative ocular drying effects between Claritin and Zyrtec in normal adults., Gupta G, Ousler GW, Pollard SD, Abelson MB. Abstract presented at: Annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology; May 2002; Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Note: I can’t find a link to this article proper but I can find 2 references to it that in themselves are worth reading.

New studies may help allergy and dry eye sufferers.

Review of Optometry, Vol. No: 139:05, Issue: 5/15/02

Allergy Action: Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Claritin (loratadine) are two of the most widely prescribed antihistamines for allergy sufferers today. However, the antimuscarinic action of oral antihistamines may diminish the aqueous phase of tear film, exacerbating signs and symptoms of dry eye.70 Researchers from Ophthalmic Research Associates and Harvard University’s Schepens Eye Research Institute, both in Massachusetts, teamed up to investigate the possible ocular drying effects associated with the two drugs. They assessed the blink rate, tear break-up time (TBUT), corneal staining, tear volume and flow. They also recorded any ocular discomfort patients reported after four days of taking one of the two drugs. Increased corneal and conjunctival staining, decreased TBUT and increased ocular discomfort were associated with both Zyrtec and Claritin. However, Claritin increased conjunctival staining significantly more than Zyrtec did, suggesting that the former may cause more clinically significant ocular surface damage.

Understanding and Meeting the Challenges of Dry Eye

Review of Optometry, Vol. No: 9:08, Issue: 8/15/02

We have better tools today to determine the wide variety of causes of dry eye and better solutions to offer patients.

The severity of dry-eye discomfort is often heightened in windy, smoky or dusty conditions. Additionally, activities that require prolonged staring, such as watching TV, computer use or reading, also worsen dry-eye symptoms.

Certain medications, such as oral antihistamines and antidepressants, can cause ocular drying as well.

The practitioner is faced with the challenge of alleviating the symptoms of a condition that can originate from a variety of causes. These may involve not only the ocular surface but its interaction with other factors and structures
affecting the tear film such as blinking, lacrimal and meibomian glands, hormones, mucins and oils. We are now aware that a simple deficiency in tear volume is not necessarily the only problem, but that the problem could be in a deficiency or malfunction of any one of these components necessary for the formation of normally functioning system.

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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2 Reader Comments

  1. Faye Farinha says:

    I have read all these comments and not sure I fit in. My eyes water constantly;all day, as soon as I open my eyes in the morning. This has gone on for over two years. I have seen an eye physician for two years.
    I do have redness that gets worse in my cheeks. My eyelids are swollen and red. I have run the the circuit of drops, ointments etc. but here I am still struggling.
    Yesterday I bought some Zrtec and waiting to see if that helps. Doctors up here are not that great!

  2. Leanne Brown says:

    I have a 12 year old daughter who has acute ocular rosacea which has been misdiagnosed for 5 years and has quite acute corneal scarring. She was on steriod drops for years on and off and is now suffering with her vision. Trying to find someone who is genuinely concerned has been a battle and I fear for her sight.It only seems to be getting worse!!!

  3. Derek says:


    Go see Doctor Latkany in New York. He is a top dry eye specialist who may be able to help your child.

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