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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 Lubricant Eye Drops

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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. https://8e376ac31aa91b3308dc8554d6efe438.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Best Budget: Refresh Contacts Contact Lens Comfort Drops

Refresh Contacts Contact Lens Comfort Drops

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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.https://8e376ac31aa91b3308dc8554d6efe438.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Best for Allergies: Zaditor Eye Itch Relief Antihistamine Eye Drops

Zaditor Eye Itch Relief Antihistamine Eye Drops

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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 Redness Reliever Eye Drops

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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

TheraTears Eye Drops for Dry Eyes

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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

Bausch + Lomb Boston Rewetting Drops

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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://8e376ac31aa91b3308dc8554d6efe438.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Best for Soft Lenses: Opti-Free Express Rewetting Drops

Opti-Free Express Rewetting Drops

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“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

Final Verdict

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

Contact-Specific

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.” 

Allergies

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.

Everything We Recommend
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Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops

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Refresh Contacts, Eye Drops For Dry Eyes

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Opti-Free Puremoist Rewetting Drops

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Boston Rewetting Drops for Rigid Gas Permeable Contacts 

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blink-n-clean Lens Drops

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Refresh Relieva for Contacts Lubricant Eye Drops For Dry Eyes

In this article

What Is Dry Eye Syndrome? How Common Is It?

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.

Dry eye syndrome is common. Over 16 million Americans have dry eye syndrome.

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 lenses
  • Looking after 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, or eye drops for itch relief. They are only to be used by people who are wearing contacts.

Summary

One of the side effects of contact lenses is dry eye, especially when worn for long periods. To avoid this, go for low-water content contact lenses. Eyedrops can help, too.

We’ve compiled a list of the 6 best eye drops for contacts in 2021. You can buy all of these on Amazon using the links provided.

6 Best Eye Drops for Contacts 2021

Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops 

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.

The product is available in multiple-sized bottles to ensure your eyes remain moist and refreshed throughout the day.

Systane eye Drops

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Features:
  • Reduces the signs and symptoms of dry eye
  • Provides long-lasting relief and soothing contact lens comfort
  • Single-use convenience

Refresh Contacts, Eye Drops For Dry Eyes

The moisture-rich formula of the Refresh Contacts Eye Drops soothes and relieves dryness in the eyes resulting from contact lens wear. 

These eye drops are available in a convenient multi-dose bottle and are safe to use with contacts and as frequently as necessary. Wearers can keep their contacts in upon application.

Refresh Contacts Eye Drops

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Features:
  • Original strength formula
  • Relieves mild signs and symptoms of eye dryness resulting from contact lens wear
  • Instantly moisturizes and lubricates the eyes
  • Recommended for use with silicone acrylate and fluorosilicone acrylate rigid gas permeable lenses

Opti-Free Puremoist Rewetting Drops

Opti-Free Puremoist Rewetting Drops provide moisture and comfort to the eyes for all-day use. The drops are used to moisten, lessen discomfort, and help remove material 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 consistent use of contact lenses. The formula is thimerosal and sorbic acid-free.

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Using these eye drops to lubricate the lenses at various times during the day may also enable extended use. 

Optifree Rewetting Drops

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Features:
  • Provides moisture and comfort 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

blink-n-clean Lens Drops

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. 

The eye drops come in an easy-to-use bottle that is easy to carry around.

blink n clean lens Drops

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Features:
  • Moisturizes and removes protein build-up from the eyes
  • Designed for soft and RGP contact lenses
  • Suitable for daily use

Boston Rewetting Drops for Rigid Gas Permeable Contacts 

The Boston Rewetting Drops relieve mild irritation and discomfort during the wear of RGP contact lenses. The solution helps remove debris that may result in irritation, discomfort, and blurred vision.

Use of the eye drops may extend contact lens wearing time by wetting the lenses while they are in your eyes.

Boston Reswetting Drops

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Features:
  • Moisturizes the eyes and relieves discomfort during contact lens wear
  • Removes debris from the eyes
  • Suitable for use with RGP lenses

Refresh Relieva for Contacts Lubricant Eye Drops For Dry Eyes

Refresh Relieva Eye Drops relieves discomfort resulting from 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.

These eye drops are suitable for lubricating and rewetting soft and RGP contact lenses. However, silicone acrylate and fluorosilicone acrylate RGP lenses are recommended for use with Refresh Relieva eye drops.

Refresh Relieva for Contacts

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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 advice is the best way to find the right contact lens for you.

Good vision contributes to overall health, well-being, and independence for people of all ages.

For those with vision issues, there are many options available to help improve sight. These options commonly include glasses, contact lenses, or laser eye surgery. 

If you have problems with your eyesight, it is best to discuss your options with an eye doctor. Deciding which option is most suitable for you depends on your eyes, budget, and lifestyle.

For those interested in contact lenses, there are two general categories. These are soft and rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses. 

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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.

Soft Contact Lenses

Soft contact lenses consist of soft, flexible plastics. They allow oxygen to flow through to the cornea. These types of lenses are easier to adjust and are 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 are also more resistant to deposit buildup and offer a clearer, crisper vision.

RGPs are usually less expensive over the life of the lens as they last longer than soft contact lenses. They are 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.

Summary

Contact lenses are a great alternative to wearing eyeglasses. There are two categories for contact lenses: soft and rigid gas permeable (RGP). Discuss your options with your optometrist.

Pros and Cons of Contact Lenses

There are many pros of wearing contact lenses.

Pros

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)
  • Astigmatism
  • Far-sightedness (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. However, contact lenses are not currently approved by the FDA for this purpose.

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. 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 do. 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.

Cons

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

Summary

There are pros and cons to wearing contact lenses. It’s important to weigh the benefits over risks before making a decision.

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