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Best Eye Drops for Contact Lenses

f you wear contact lenses, you should only use eye drops specifically designated for contact use.

eyedrops contacts

The best eye drops for contact lenses are rewetting solutions that are free of preservatives.

If you wear contacts, you can use other types of eye drops too. Removing your lenses before using these products is recommended. Then, wait at least 10 minutes before putting your contacts back in.

Types of Eye Drops 

Some eye drops are safe to use with contact lenses, while others are not. 

Common types of eye drops you’ll encounter include the following:

  • Medicated eye drops: If you have an eye injury or infection, you may be prescribed medicated eye drops, such as antibiotics. 
  • Allergy eye drops: Some people experience red, itchy eyes due to allergens like pollen or dander. Drops may help to reduce these symptoms. 
  • Vasoconstrictor eye drops: These eye drops are used to reduce eye redness. They contain components known as vasoconstrictors, which tighten small eye blood vessels. 
  • Dry eye drops: These are used both for lubricating the eye and healing the eye’s outer surface. 
  • Rewetting eye drops: This is another name for contact lens eye drops. They are designed to hydrate both the contact lens and the eye. 

Eye drops designed for use with contact lenses come in clearly marked packaging. If the box or bottle says it’s safe to use these products with your lenses, it’s likely fine to do so. 

But always ask your doctor before putting any product in your eyes without removing your contact lenses. Your doctor may ask you to take special precautions or avoid using your lenses altogether while under treatment. 

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Best Eye Drops for Use With Contacts 

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best products to use while wearing contacts. Remember to check with your doctor before starting anything new. 

This table summarizes your choices, and we go into more detail below.

Ideal ConsumerProduct 
Anyone (best overall pick) Refresh Relieva 
Budget conscious Blink-N-Clean
Disposable contact wearers   Opti-Free Express
Allergens Alaway 
Gas-permeable contact wearers Boston Rewetting Drops 
Soft-contact wearers Biotrue Hydration Boost 

Refresh Relieva for Contacts 

Refresh Relieva can alleviate irritation and discomfort associated with contact lenses. Its special HydroCell feature keeps eyes moisturized for hours. These drops work well with both soft and gas-permeable lenses.

Benefits include the following:

  • Access: This product is available almost everywhere, including in grocery stores. 
  • Easy storage: This product can be stored at temperatures as low as 60 and as high as 86.
  • Products: You can use this product on both soft and hard contacts. 

Drawbacks include the following:

  • Cost: This product is twice as expensive as some of the other options on our list. 
  • Expiration: This product will expire in about 90 days, and you must get more at that point. 

Blink-N-Clean Lens Drops

Blink-N-Clean drops from Blink are designed to work when contacts are in your eyes. They relieve eye dryness and clean the contacts. Keeping the contacts clean and free from protein buildup relieves eye irritation and reduces cloudiness.

Benefits include the following:

  • Low cost: These are some of the least expensive drops on our list. 
  • Easy access: These drops are found almost everywhere, including in some grocery stores. 
  • Action: These drops can clean the contacts in addition to rewetting them. 

Drawbacks include the following:

  • Ingredients: Some people may react negatively to the cleaning ingredient inside these drops. 
  • Expiration: The product lasts for only 90 days. 
  • Safety: The product is sold as one bottle, not single-use doses. 

Opti-Free Express Rewetting Drops

Opti-Free Express Rewetting Drops help to remove particles that cause irritation, and they prevent deposits from building up. They also help to keep the contacts moist and comfortable when they’re inside your eyes. These drops are appropriate for disposable contact lenses. 

Benefits include the following:

  • Moderate cost: This product is not the least expensive option, but it isn’t the most costly version either. 
  • Few ingredients: This product doesn’t include thimerosal or sorbic acid. 

Drawbacks include the following:

  • Harder to get: This product was once sold in two-package sets, and it’s not provided that way anymore. 
  • Not for everyone: If you wear hard contact lenses, this product isn’t right for you. 

Alaway 

Alaway is designed for people with allergic symptoms, like itching, within their eyes. Rubbing your eyes is incredibly dangerous when you’re wearing contacts. Alaway can prevent that. You must remove your contacts before putting in the drops, and you must keep them out for at least 10 minutes. 

Benefits include the following:

  • Symptom control: Alaway drops can ease common allergy symptoms like itchiness and watery eyes. 
  • Reduced swelling: Alaway can help keep your eyes from swelling due to allergies, which can make them more comfortable. 

Drawbacks include the following:

  • Removal: You can’t use these drops while your contacts are in your eyes. 
  • Design: These drops aren’t technically rewetting drops, but they could make your eyes feel better. 

Boston Rewetting Drops 

Boston Rewetting drops quickly eliminate discomfort, irritability, and dryness, and they are designed for use with gas-permeable contacts. Since they moisturize the lenses and the eyes, they can extend the life of your lenses.

Benefits include the following:

  • Low cost: These drops are some of the most inexpensive products on our list. 
  • Products: These drops are made for gas-permeable products. 

Drawbacks include the following:

  • Preservatives: If you’re sensitive to preservatives, this product could irritate your eyes.
  • Preparation: These drops are sold in one bottle, so you must ensure that the tip of it never touches your eyes.

Biotrue Hydration Boost

Biotrue Hydration Boost drops contain no preservatives, so they could be ideal for people who have reacted to other products. The product is sold in a multi-dose bottle, so keep the tip away from your eyes. But this formulation can lower your cost. 

Benefits include the following:

  • Extended relief: This product is made to deliver moisture that lasts for up to eight hours. 
  • Cleaning benefits: This product can keep deposits from forming on your lenses. 
  • Fewer ingredients: This product doesn’t include preservatives, which can be irritating to some eyes. 

Drawbacks include the following:

  • No preservatives: Since there are no preservatives, you must ensure that this product is stored properly and never touches your eye. 
  • Higher cost: This product costs a little more than others on our list. 

Why Can Contacts Cause Dry Eye?

It’s estimated that about 50% of people who wear contacts experience dry eyes because of their contact use.

Eye dryness related to wearing contacts is usually due to a lack of or low-quality tears. When the eye is healthy, adequate and quality tears allow the contact lens to rest above the cornea in the tear film. The contact lens can aggravate the eye if this tear film is insufficient.

Poor tear quality usually means that there is insufficient oil in the tears.

If the contact lens is poor quality, not fitted properly, or worn for too long, it can absorb too much of the tear film, leading to eye dryness. If you are allergic to any ingredient in your contact lens solution, this can also lead to dry eyes.

Ingredients to Avoid in Eye Drops if You Wear Contacts

Every eye is different, as are the solutions you need. For example, you might benefit from eye drops that lessen allergy symptoms. Someone who doesn’t have allergies could be irritated by these drops. 

Before you use any product in your eye, ask your eye doctor about it. Confirm that it’s safe for your eyes, your type of contact lens, and your method of application. Together, you can find a product that works. 

How to Prevent Contacts From Drying Out 

Contacts are more comfortable when they’re floating on a healthy bed of moisture. The following tips can help you keep your eyes moist:

  • Only wear contacts for the amount of time instructed on the labeling. If you wear your contacts for longer periods, they are more likely to cause dryness.
  • Use rewetting drops before putting contacts in your eyes. This practice creates a good base of moisture before you insert your contacts.
  • Regularly clean your lenses and store them properly. In some cases, rapid drying of the eye can be caused by underlying dirt and impurities on the surface of the lens. 
  • Wear sunglasses, particularly wraparound glasses, to shield your eyes from the sun and drying winds.
  • Drink a lot of water to avoid getting dehydrated. 
  • Blink more often, especially when reading or using a computer for long periods.
  • Use rewetting drops as needed throughout the day. Ensure the drops you choose are designed for use with contacts.

Eye Drops for Contact Lenses FAQs

Are there eye drops you can use with contacts?

Yes. Various eye drops are designed for use with contacts, including rewetting and moisturizing eye drops. Confirm the brand you choose is intended for use with contacts before using it.

When should you use rewetting drops?

You can use rewetting drops as often as needed. Ideally, use the drops before your eyes become too dry. Aim to use them when you first experience symptoms of dryness.

Can you use Visine with contacts?

Visine makes a product just for people who wear contacts. Versions not labeled this way aren’t safe for use with contacts. 

References

  1. Can I Use Preservative-Free Drops With Contact Lenses? (May 2022). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  2. Treatment, Material, Care, and Patient-Factors in Contact Lens-Related Dry Eye. (August 2008). Optometry and Vision Science.

  3. The Use of Preservatives in Dry Eye Drops. (August 2019). Clinical Ophthalmology.

Last Updated October 6, 2023

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.

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