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If you find glasses uncomfortable—or simply don’t like the way you look in them, you probably opt for contact lenses. And while they’re a great alternative to glasses, they’re not always a perfect solution to your optical woes.
Dry eyes and allergies can cause redness, itchiness, or an array of other symptoms when you have your lenses in. Don’t suffer through the pain. Do yourself a favor by opting for some eye drops. The right liquid can relieve your eyes from many discomforts, so you can rock your contacts all day long.
Before you stock up, ensure that the drops you’re buying are specifically made for contacts. “Check the packaging of the eye drops to make sure the solution is designed for contact lenses,” VSP Network eye doctor Danielle Richardson, OD, tells Verywell Health. “There are many over-the-counter lubricants, but not all work for contacts.”
Here are the best eye drops for contacts on the market today.Our Top PicksBest Overall: Blink Contacts Lubricant Eye Drops at AmazonUnless you have unique needs, this solution can combat the most common issues.Best Budget: Refresh Contacts at AmazonThe drops create a liquid cushion to lubricate contact lenses and keep eyes feeling fresh and hydrated all day long.Best for Allergies: Zaditor Eye Itch Relief at AmazonIt boasts a triple-action, prescription-strength formula that provides rapid results and delivers up to 12 hours of eye itch relief.Best for Red Eyes: Bausch + Lomb Lumify at AmazonIt features an FDA-approved formula that starts working in as little as one minute and it contains an ingredient known as brimonidine tartrate.Best for Dry Eyes: TheraTears Extra Dry Eye Therapy at AmazonNot only do the drops give you long-lasting relief, they feature a hypotonic and electrolyte balance formula that can produce soothing, healthy tears.Best for “Hard” Contact Lenses: Bausch + Lomb Boston Rewetting Drops at AmazonIf you’re doing any outdoor activity or just thinking about wearing your lenses for an extended period of time, it would benefit you to have these on hand.Best for Soft Lenses: Opti-Free Express at AmazonThis formula helps remove any particles from the eye and is suitable for daily use.
Best Overall: Blink Contacts Lubricant Eye Drops
Blink Contacts’ Lubricating Eye Drops are popular and versatile drops that have helped all kinds of people with contact lenses. If you’re glued to your computer screen for work, are a frequent flyer, or you often associate lens wear with stinging or burning, BlinkContacts can solve all of these issues and more. The formula uses hyaluronate, a naturally occurring substance found in your eyes, to lubricate lenses without irritation. Unless you have unique needs, this solution can combat the most common issues.
Best Budget: Refresh Contacts Contact Lens Comfort Drops
Refresh your contacts for less with eye drops that can provide an immediate sigh of relief. You can use Refresh Contacts as often as you need, but a couple of drops throughout the day should do the trick. The drops create a liquid cushion to lubricate contact lenses and keep eyes feeling fresh and hydrated all day long. For those continuing to experience irritation, feel free to apply the drops to your contact lenses before putting them on.
Best for Allergies: Zaditor Eye Itch Relief Antihistamine Eye Drops
Systane Zaditor Antihistamine is an upgrade from your standard over-the-counter eye drops. It boasts a triple-action, prescription-strength formula that provides rapid results and delivers up to 12 hours of eye itch relief for even the most irritating allergies.
The thing to remember is, once you apply these drops, you can’t put your lenses back on right away. “It’s necessary to remove your contact lenses while putting in these drops and wait at least 10 minutes before reinserting the contacts,” says Warby Parker’s Director of Vision Services, Pratil Lal, MD. “For persistent allergy issues, one might consider switching to a daily disposable contact.”The 8 Best Eye Drops for Allergies of 2021
Best for Red Eyes: Bausch + Lomb Lumify Redness Reliever Eye Drops
Bausch + Lomb Lumify Eye Drops feature an FDA-approved formula that starts working in as little as one minute and it contains an ingredient known as brimonidine tartrate. This addition whitens the eye by targeting distinct blood vessels, ultimately reducing the chance of the redness coming back.1
At the same time, any redness that’s happening to your eye could occur for a myriad of reasons, including eye drops, so make sure you’re always consulting your doctor when trying a new product. “An allergic reaction to eye drops may include red, irritated, or itchy eyes,” Richardson explained. “You should also look out for signs of any deposits or cloudiness on your contact lens and contact your eye doctor if you notice any symptoms.”
These drops are not meant to be used while your contacts are in. You should remove them before administering the drops and not place them back in for 10 minutes.
Best for Dry Eyes: TheraTears Extra Dry Eye Therapy
If your dry eyes are manifesting as grittiness, a foreign body sensation, or a burning sensation, pick up TheraTears Dry Eye Therapy ASAP. Not only do the drops give you long-lasting relief, they feature a hypotonic and electrolyte balance formula that can produce soothing, healthy tears.The 7 Best Places to Buy Glasses Online in 2021
Best for “Hard” Contact Lenses: Bausch + Lomb Boston Rewetting Drops
Even though they’re not as commonly used as soft lenses, gas permeable or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses are hard contacts that let your eyes breathe easier by allowing more oxygen to pass through. They also end up being longer-lasting and durable, resulting in less lens tears.
On the flip side, this means they don’t conform to the shape of your eye like soft lenses do. As a result, dust and debris easily slip in between the lens and your eye. The good thing is, Bausch + Lomb’s Boston Rewetting Drops for Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses are known to quickly remove substances from the eye. If you’re doing any outdoor activity or just thinking about wearing your lenses for an extended period of time, it would benefit you to have these on hand. https://d14e1a946ab81be230682f407404721e.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Best for Soft Lenses: Opti-Free Express Rewetting Drops
“For soft contacts, rewetting eye drops such as Opti-Free are a good option,” Lenscrafters optometrist Trang Ha, OD, says.The 11 Best Blue Light Blocking Glasses of 2021
Now that you know you can’t use regular eye drops for contact lens irritation, it’s important to consult your doctor and know the kinds of issues you’re experiencing, otherwise it may lead to even more discomfort. “If you’re using a particular brand of eye drops that aren’t giving you the results you’re seeking, it’s always best to consult your eye doctor so that you can make sure you’re buying the best eye drops that are more appropriate for your vision care needs,” Dr. Ha pointed out.
Unless your doctor recommends something specific or you have particular issues, the BlinkContacts Lubricating Eye Drops should help most lens wearers. Feel free to keep one in your bag and at home, so you can stay comfy on-the-go. If you frequently suffer from allergies, Zaditor Antihistamine Eye Drops can provide up to 12 hours of itch relief (but remember to take your lenses out before you put the drops in).
What to Look for in Eye Drops for Contacts
Not all over-the-counter eye drops work for contacts. “Eye drops that aren’t meant for contact lenses can temporarily alter how a lens fits your eye or discolor the lens,” Dr. Ha mentioned. “Side effects may include stinging, redness, blurry vision, and inflammation.”
Don’t forget, your eyes can be allergic to the drops themselves. An allergic reaction to an eye drop might cause red, irritated, or itchy eyes. Your eyes may also begin tearing to swelling after using the drops.2 Make sure you’re taking note of your symptoms and consulting your doctor if irritation worsens.
Hard vs. Soft Contacts
Finally, take into consideration the kind of lenses you wear. There are eye drops made for hard and soft lenses. Each of these performs a slightly different function, so make sure to find an eye drop that specifically suits your contact lenses.