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What is Optivar&Reg;?

Article Details
  • Written By: H. Lo
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 04 August 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Optivar®, also known as azelastine, is a medication that is used to treat itchy and watery eyes due to allergies. It is an antihistamine, which works by blocking and reducing the body’s production of histamine, the cause of the symptoms. Optivar® comes in the form of eye drops.

The correct dosage depends on a person’s medical condition and should be followed as directed by a doctor. Usually, but not always, a drop is administered into each eye twice a day. Optivar® is not recommended for use in children who are 3-years-old and under.

Generally, to apply eye drops, a person tilts his or her head back and holds the medication above the eye. Pointing the tip down, he releases a drop into a pocket of the eye. Pulling down the lower eyelid creates this pocket, which is ideal since directly applying the drop to the eyeball may cause stinging. Naturally, the medication will flow down to the tear duct, but applying pressure to this area for one minute can prevent drainage from happening. A second dose into the same eye requires a waiting period of at least five minutes.

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To ensure that contamination doesn’t occur, a person should wash his or her hands before using Optivar®. In addition, the dropper should not touch anything, not even the eye. If the dropper tip does come into contact with anything, it could cause an eye infection. Continuously holding the dropper with the tip down also prevents contamination because it ensures that the rest of the medication is kept safe from drops running back into the bottle.

As with any medication, a person should take precautions before taking Optivar®. For instance, a person should inform a doctor or pharmacist if he or she is allergic to azelastine. Other disclosures include allergies, other medications prescribed and pregnancy.

Optivar® should not be applied if a person is wearing contact lenses, as the lenses absorb the preservative in the medication and can discolor. If a person uses soft lenses, he or she should wait between 10 and 15 minutes after using the medication before wearing them. Contacts should not be worn if the eyes are red.

When using Optivar®, a person may experience side effects. Some examples include bitter taste, blurred vision, headache and mild burning or stinging of the eye. Persistent or severe side effects might require a person to consult a doctor.

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