Optivar is a medication that is used for relieving itching in the eyes caused by allergies. By blocking a specific type of histamine receptor in the body, the medication can reduce itchy or watery eyes. Optivar is approved for use in children as young as three years old. At this time, there are no off-label uses for Optivar.
What Is Optivar Used For?Optivar® (azelastine ophthalmic solution) is an antihistamine eye drop approved for treating itching due to eye allergies.
Allergies can affect various parts of the body, and allergy symptoms are particularly common in the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Eye allergies are known medically as allergic conjunctivitis, because the allergic reaction occurs in the conjunctiva (the thin layer that covers the whites of the eyes and the inner eyelids).
Symptoms of eye allergies may include:
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- A red or pink eye
- Puffy eyes
- Burning or stinging of the eyes.
Combined with strategies to minimize a person's contact with allergens, allergy treatment can make life bearable for even the worst allergy sufferer. Treatment often includes allergy eye drops, such as Optivar. Unlike with over-the-counter decongestant eye drops, you can use Optivar long-term without the risk of making the redness and swelling worse by taking it too long.
How Does It Work?Optivar is part of a class of drugs called antihistamines. Specifically, it is an H1 receptor antagonist. This means that it blocks a specific type of histamine receptor in the body (known as H1 receptors). Because allergic reactions are partly caused by the release of histamine from certain cells in the body, Optivar can help relieve or prevent allergy symptoms.
In addition to blocking histamine receptors, Optivar also seems to decrease the release of histamine from the cells in the body and may also inhibit other substances (such as leukotrienes) produced by the body in response to an allergen.