tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic

Medically Reviewed on 1/19/2023

Generic Name: tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic

Brand Names: Visine Advanced Relief, Visine Maximum Redness Relief, Visine Original, Rohto Arctic

Drug Class: Adrenergic Agonists; Decongestants, Ophthalmic

What is tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic, and what is it used for?

Tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic is a medication used for the temporary relief of red eye due to minor eye irritations, and to protect the eye from further irritation.

Tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic narrows the swollen blood vessels in the eye surface, and reduces the blood flow, reducing redness and irritation in the eye. Tetrahydrozoline eye drops are available over the counter (OTC). The medication provides temporary relief but does not treat the underlying condition.

Tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic is an alpha-adrenergic agonist that constricts blood vessels by stimulating alpha-adrenergic receptors in the conjunctiva, the clear membrane over the eye and inner eyelid surfaces. Alpha-adrenergic receptors are protein particles that are stimulated by norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter in the body, to make smooth muscles around blood vessels contract, resulting in constriction of blood vessels and reduced blood flow.


What are the side effects of tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic?

Common side effects of tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic include:

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:

This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


What causes dry eyes? See Answer

What are the dosages of tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic?

Conjunctival Congestion

  • Temporary relief of ocular redness caused by irritation and relief of burning or irritation caused by dry eyes
  • 1-2 drops to the affected eye every 6-12 hours
  • Not to exceed 72 hours of use


  • Remove contact lenses before use
  • Do not use if this solution changes color or becomes cloudy
  • Do not touch the tip of the container to any surface to avoid contamination
  • Replace the cap after each use


  • Safety and efficacy not established


  • Ophthalmic use of tetrahydrozoline is unlikely to cause sufficient systemic absorption to result in an overdose.
  • Oral overdose in children can cause profound sedation, profuse sweating, low blood pressure (hypotension), and shock. In adults, it can cause high blood pressure (hypertension), drowsiness, slow heartbeat (bradycardia), hypotension, and sedation.
  • Overdose may be treated with supportive and symptomatic care.

What drugs interact with tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic?

Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.

  • Tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic has no listed severe, serious, moderate, or mild interactions with other drugs.

The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.

It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

  • Tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic should be used in pregnant women only if clearly needed.
  • It is not known if ophthalmic use of tetrahydrozoline can result in excretion in breastmilk.
  • Do not use any OTC medication, including tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic, without first checking with your physician, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What else should I know about tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic?

  • Use tetrahydrozoline exactly as prescribed or as per label directions.
  • Do not use tetrahydrozoline for longer than 3 days.
  • Stop use and consult with a physician if:
    • You develop eye pain
    • You experience changes in vision
    • Eye redness and irritation persist
    • The condition persists or worsens after using for 3 days
  • Store safely out of reach of children.
  • In case of overdose, seek medical help or contact Poison Control.


Tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic is an over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops medication used for the temporary relief of red eye due to minor eye irritations, and to protect the eye from further irritation. The medication provides temporary relief but does not treat the underlying condition. Common side effects of tetrahydrozoline ophthalmic include transient burning and stinging in the eyes, blurred vision, headache, tremor, palpitations, rapid heart rate (tachycardia), palpitations, and high blood pressure (hypertension).

Treatment & Diagnosis

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Medically Reviewed on 1/19/2023