Product Description

Fed up with itchy, red, watery eyes? Already tried other eye drops from the pharmacy? Optilast hay fever eye drops may be for you.

Optilast contains an antihistamine called Azelastine which helps to treat and calm your symptoms associated with hay fever or other allergies.

Typically allergies that affect the eye like hay fever will cause:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Red, sore eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Slight sensitivity to light

Optilast allergy eye drops work in a similar way to antihistamine tablets. Allergies occur when our body overreacts to something it believes is a threat, in the UK Summer this is often pollen. But it could equally be other classic allergens like animal fur, dust or mould spores.

Antihistamines work by preventing the histamine our body releases from binding to the histamine receptor in our cells. If the histamine cannot bind, then you don’t get classic allergy symptoms.  

Optilast provides fast, long-lasting, targeted relief of your ocular symptoms with a reduction in symptoms within just 15-30 minutes of use. 

Know that you are likely to be exposed to a particular allergen?  Make sure you use Optilast before you are exposed to prevent your troublesome allergy symptoms.

If symptoms do not improve within 48 hours please speak with your GP.



We can supply Optilast to adults 18 years or older who have previously experienced an allergy affecting their eyes.

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (Hay fever): one drop in each eye twice daily that can be increased, if necessary to four times daily. If allergen exposure is anticipated Optilast should be administered prior to the exposure to prevent the allergy.

Non-seasonal (all year round) allergic conjunctivitis: The usual dosage in adults and children 12 years and older is one drop in each eye twice daily that can be increased, if necessary to four times daily.

Max Treatment Duration: 6 weeks

To use carefully remove the cap, taking care to not touch the dropper, tilt your head back, pull down your lower eyelid and gently release one drop. You will probably blink once the eye drop is administered. This is fine and will help to ensure the medicine stays in your eye.

Struggling to put drops in by yourself? Ask someone to help you. It is best if you sit down in a chair, tilt your head back and your helper stands behind you. This way your helper will find it much easier to put in your drops.


Optilast should be kept at room temperature before and whilst using. Do not put it in the fridge.

Store away from direct sunlight.

Please throw away the bottle 28 days after opening.

Please read the included leaflet carefully before using this product and if you have any questions please contact one of our pharmacists for more information.


Optilast contains the following active ingredients:

Active Ingredients: Azelastine Hydrochloride, the equivalent on 0.05mg/ml (0.05%)

The following inactive ingredients are usually found in Optilast:

Benzalkonium chloride (preservative), disodium edetate, hypromellose, sorbitol, (crystallising) sodium hydroxide and water for injections.


This list is not exhaustive. For further information please contact us.

Side Effects

Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

Common side effects include:

  • Slight irritation (burning, itching, watering) in the eyes after putting in Optilast. This should not last long.
  • A bitter taste in your mouth. This should quickly disappear especially if you have a soft drink.

Very rarely (less than 1 in 10,000 cases) you may experience an allergic reaction to Optilast, this will often present as a rash and an itch.  If this occurs please discontinue using this medicine


Do not use Optilast if you have a known allergy to azelastine or any other ingredient in this medicine.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before using Optilast:

  • if you are not sure whether your eye problems are caused by an allergy. Watch for the following, these are not usually allergies:
    • if only one eye is affected
    • if you are having problems with your vision
    • your eye hurts and you have no symptoms in your nose.  This may be an infection rather than an allergy
  • if the symptoms worsen or last longer than 48 hours without improvement despite using Optilast.
  • if you wear contact lenses,


Other Medicines

Optilast is not known to interact with other medicines but if you are using other eye drops please ensure you leave a gap of 5-10 minutes to ensure both medicines have the chance to work.  

Driving and Operating Heavy Machinery 

Care should be exercised if using this product immediately before driving as these drops may temporarily blur your vision. This will soon clear. It is unusual to experience side effects with Optilast but mild irritation of the eye is occasionally reported.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Unfortunately, we cannot recommend you use Optilast during pregnancy or breastfeeding due to a lack of safety data.  

Pregnancy – Insufficient evidence about safety. High-dose oral Azelastine has been shown to cause adverse events.

Breastfeeding – Azelastine can be found in breast milk.


This allergy eye drop contains a preservative Benzalkonium Chloride and because of this, it is unsuitable for patients who wear soft contact lenses. If you wear contact lenses then you should look for an eye drop without preservatives, for example, Ketofall.

If you must use this product then take out your lenses when administering the eye drop and do not reinsert them until at least 15 minutes have passed. Optilast is known to discolour lenses.

Unfortunately, we cannot recommend this product for those under 18 years of age or patients who have known allergies to the ingredients.

Patient Information Leaflet

To view or download this medicine patient information leaflet (PIL) please Click Here

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you buy Optilast over the counter?

Optilast eye drops are a prescription only medicine (POM), which means that they cannot be bought over the counter routinely at your local pharmacy like Boots, Asda or Superdrug.

It can however be prescribed by doctors and other non-medical healthcare professionals.

Olopatadine or Azelastine?

Both Azelastine and Olopatadine are antihistamine eye drops, and both posses both antihistamine and mast cell stabalising effects.  These new generation drugs are a signifiacnt improvement on previous generations due to the numerous ways in which they treat an prevent allerguc reactions ocurring.  So, which one is better.  A study in 2010 rated Olaopatadine as marginally more effective than Azelastine, with many individuals reporting a stinging sensation when using azelastine eye drops. It is worth noting that many patients actually got full symptom relief and actually preferred using Azelastine.

Williams PB, Crandall E, Sheppard JD. Azelastine hydrochloride, a dual-acting anti-inflammatory ophthalmic solution, for treatment of allergic conjunctivitis. Clin Ophthalmol. 2010 Sep 7;4:993-1001. doi: 10.2147/opth.s13479. PMID: 20856595; PMCID: PMC2938280.



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