Eye drops are a common treatment for the irritation and discomfort associated with dry eye. There are many types of eye drops, also known as artificial tears. However, not all of them can be used with contacts.
According to Dr. James Kelly of Kelly Vision Center, "In my many years as an ophthalmologist, I have found that patients will experiment with several types of drops until they find one that suits them. There is a bit of trial and error in the process (of choosing eye drops)."
We've compiled a list of the 6 best eye drops for contact lens wearers in 2023. You can buy all of these on Amazon using the links provided.
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6 Best Eye Drops for Contacts 2023
Systane Lubricant Eye Drops provide temporary relief for dry eye symptoms. The lubricating eye drops have been clinically proven to lessen the signs and symptoms of dry eye quickly.
- Reduces the signs and symptoms of dry eye
- Provides long-lasting relief and soothing contact lens comfort
- Single-use convenience
The moisture-rich formula of the Refresh Contacts Eye Drops soothes and relieves dryness resulting from contact lens wear.
These eye drops are available in a convenient multi-dose bottle. They're safe to use with contacts as necessary. Wearers can keep their contacts in upon application.
- Original strength formula
- Relieves mild signs and symptoms of eye dryness resulting from contact lens wear
- Offers quick relief by instantly moisturizing the eyes
- Recommended for use with silicone acrylate and fluorosilicone acrylate rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses
Opti-Free Puremoist Rewetting Drops provide moisture and comfort to the eyes for all-day use. The drops moisten, lessen discomfort, and help remove materials that may lead to eye irritation. The safe and effective solution can be used on silicone hydrogel and soft lenses while remaining in the eye.
The eye drops prevent protein deposits and build-ups that tend to develop with the consistent use of contact lenses. The formula is thimerosal and sorbic acid-free.
- Keeps eyes moist when wearing contacts
- Removes particles that lead to irritation
- Helps prevent deposit build-up
- Recommended for use with all silicone hydrogel and other soft contact lenses
The Blink-N-Clean Lens Drops help refresh dry eyes and lessen eye irritation while wearing contact lenses. The formula reduces protein buildup, allowing you to wear your contact lenses for longer periods.
These eye drops come in an easy-to-use bottle that’s convenient to carry around.
- Moisturizes and removes protein build-up from the eyes
- Designed for soft and RGP contact lenses
- Suitable for daily use
The Bausch + Lomb Boston Rewetting Drops relieve mild irritation and discomfort while wearing RGP contact lenses. The solution helps remove debris that may result in irritation, discomfort, and blurred vision.
Using these eye drops may extend contact lens wearing time by wetting the lenses while they are in your eyes.
- Moisturizes the eyes and relieves discomfort during contact lens wear
- Removes debris from the eyes
- Suitable for use with RGP lenses
Refresh Relieva Eye Drops provide quick relief from the discomfort of dry and irritated eyes. It also prevents further irritation.
The formula features hydrocell technology, which delivers hydration and maintains the cells' volume on the ocular surface. Wearers can keep their contact lenses in upon application.
- Recommended for use with silicone acrylate and fluorosilicone acrylate RGP lenses
- Also suitable for rewetting soft contacts and other types of RGP lenses
- Safe to apply drops while contacts are in the eyes
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears or when your tear film does not work correctly. This can make your eyes feel uncomfortable. In some circumstances, it can lead to vision problems.
Why Do Contacts Give You Dry Eye?
Wearing contact lenses for extended periods can cause dry eyes. Approximately half of contact lens wearers experience contact lens-related dry eye.
High-water content lenses are more likely to result in dry eyes than those with low water content. They usually send moisture to the eye when you first fit them in but can dry out quicker.
Eye drops for contacts are a cheap and easy option to improve contact lens comfort. However, you may need to try lenses with various water contents until you discover one that works for you.
How to Prevent Contacts From Drying Out
There are several ways to relieve dry eyes:
- Switching to a different type of contact lens
- Caring for your contact lenses by keeping them clean and changing them as recommended
- Only wearing your lenses for the amount of time your eye doctor prescribes
- Moistening your eyes with rewetting drops before inserting your contact lenses
- Using eye drops throughout the day to lubricate contact lenses
Rewetting eye drops are an easy way to provide relief for dry eyes when you wear contacts. These are different than regular eye drops (artificial tears), or eye drops for itch relief. They are only to be used by people who are wearing contacts.
How to Choose the Right Type of Eye Drops
If you're experiencing dry eye from your contacts, speak with your eye doctor. They may recommend eye drops or a different contact lens brand. Their professional medical advice is the best way to find the right contact lens for you.
Things to consider when choosing eye drops for contacts include:
Contact lens wearers must check the ingredients label on a box of eye drops before using them. Avoid formulas that contain preservatives, such as benzalkonium chloride, which can damage your eye with extended use. Instead, seek a preservative-free formula designed specifically for contact lenses.
The type of eye drops you're most likely to use is the type that's easiest to reach for. Consider the size and shape of the bottle of eye drops to determine its ease of use. Eye drop bottles are usually small enough to fit in your pocket, so you can use them as needed.
Type of Contacts
The two main categories of contact lenses include:
Soft Contact Lenses
Soft contact lenses consist of soft, flexible plastics. They allow oxygen to flow through to the cornea. These lenses are easier to adjust and more comfortable than RGP lenses. Newer soft lens materials include silicone hydrogels to deliver more oxygen to your eyes.
View the best contacts for dry eyes.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses
Rigid gas permeable contact lenses (RGPs) are more durable than soft contact lenses. They’re also more resistant to deposit buildup and offer clear, crisper vision.
RGPs are usually less expensive because one pair can last a year or more. With soft contacts, you have to purchase a regular supply to last the whole year. They’re also easier to handle and are less likely to rip or tear.
However, RGPs are not as comfortable initially compared to soft contacts. It may take a few weeks to adjust to wearing RGPs compared to a few days for soft contacts.
To avoid contact lens irritation, always practice healthy eye care habits. Remember that all types of contact lenses are medical devices that a doctor must prescribe. This includes cosmetic lenses that do not correct the vision but change the color or look of the eye.
Pros and Cons of Contact Lenses
There are many pros and cons of wearing contact lenses.
Improved Vision Correction
The main advantage of wearing contact lenses is that they help you see well.
Contact lenses can correct most vision problems, including:
- Near-sightedness (myopia)
- Farsightedness (hyperopia)
- Presbyopia (blurred vision close up in aging adults)
Contact lenses move with the eye so that vision correction can feel and look natural. Specially fitted contact lenses may also help slow the development of near-sightedness in children and teens.
Eye doctors can choose the best options for a person’s eyes, lifestyle, and budget. Individuals have plenty of choices when it comes to selecting contact lenses.
People can maintain a natural appearance with lenses without glasses. Or, if they prefer, they can adjust the appearance of their eyes with colored lenses. Children, teens, and adults may feel better about their physical appearance.
Enhanced Performance in Sports and Activities
It also helps people who need vision correction play sports. Well-fitting lenses remain in place on the eyes and improve side vision during sports and activities.
Additionally, contact lenses do not mist up like glasses. Individuals can also wear non-prescription UV-blocking sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun. While some contact lenses offer extra UV protection, they are not a substitute for sunglasses.
Wearing contact lenses puts wearers at risk for several severe eye conditions. This includes infections and corneal ulcers. Corneal ulcers are open sores in the outer layer of the cornea.
These conditions can progress quickly and can become serious. In rare circumstances, these conditions can lead to blindness.
Other risks of wearing contact lenses include:
- Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
- Corneal abrasions
- Eye irritation
Eye drops help reduce dryness when wearing contact lenses. In this article, we've outlined some of the best eye drops for contact lens wearers. If you experience irritation or other problems when using a product, consult your eye doctor.
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Best Places to Buy Contacts
1-800 Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.
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Best Places to Buy Glasses
Warby Parker has stylish, high-quality frames at affordable prices.
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