Cover image for contacts eye drops buyer's guide

The Best Eye Drops for Contacts: Preventing Dry Eyes

If you wear contacts frequently, you've no doubt experienced the dryness and irritation that come along with them. The best thing to help relieve these symptoms is to keep a good set of eye drops around at all times. Eye drops are abundant, and many of them claim to work for contacts users – but once you actually try them out, it's another story entirely. After comparing the formulas of 16 different brands, we've found the Bausch & Lomb Sensitive Eyes Rewetting Drops to be the best eye drops for contacts users. Although everyone's eyes are different, these have developed the best reputation among contacts users for gentle yet instant relief. Article Summary

Wearing contact lenses is a much more convenient solution than having to drag your glasses around everywhere with you. With that said, convenience always comes at a cost. The deal with contacts is that they can cause a certain amount of irritation – a feeling that is all too familiar to those who wear them frequently. This irritation is usually caused by dryness, but there are a few other factors that can affect things too. One of the easiest (and quite honestly necessary) solutions to stay comfortable is to use eye drops.

Eye drops formulas can vary pretty seriously from brand to brand, making it difficult to find a good product in general, let alone when you throw contact lenses into the mix. You will find that many brands have great advertising and big claims that their stuff works wonders, only to find that notion to be far from true when you actually use them yourself. Because of how many different chemicals can be used, anyone with remotely sensitive eyes can be susceptible to further irritation by using the wrong formula.

While we can’t account for every individual’s unique eye conditions, we wanted to find the best eye drops for most contacts wearers. To do this, we didn’t just rely on claims made by the company, we took 16 different products and broke down their formulas one-by-one in order to see what each brand was offering. This gave us a good amount of information to move forward with, but in order to see whether the formulas really worked and provided relief, we had to learn from people who actually used them. We took a long and close look at user reviews for each product so we could gather the best intel possible. After we had rated formulas and figured out their true effectiveness from actual users, we’ve found the three products below to offer the best relief.

Product image of the Bausch + Lomb eye drops
Product image of the Blink eye drops
Product image of the Clear Eyes drops
Bausch & Lomb Sensitive Eyes Rewetting Drops
Blink Contacts Lubricant Eye Drops
Clear Eyes Maximum Redness Relief
Rating

4.6/5

4.4/5

4.4/5
Purpose
Made specifically for use with contacts
Made specifically for use with contacts
Made for general eye irritation relief
Size
30mL
10mL
15mL
Quick Notes
Gentle yet effective formula that provides relief almost instantly, great price
More natural formula using actual chemicals produced by our own bodies, slightly higher price
Not specifically designed for contacts but users have reported great results

Quite note: figuring out which formula is best for you may take some trial and error, but our three picks do have the best ratings overall according to most users. If you have any doubts of questions, or if your symptoms continue or worsen after trying eye drops, we recommend consulting your physician. Certain symptoms may not be related to the average dryness or irritation associated with contacts, but may instead be related to a more serious issue such as dehydration and more.

The best eye drops for contacts overall

Chances are that if you wear contacts, that you have heard of Baush & Lomb before. They’re one of the biggest name in the world of vision care, which makes sense why their Sensitive Eyes Rewetting Drops are considered the best eye drops for contact lenses. Their formula is a tried-and-true mixture that has been around for years and has developed a great reputation among contacts users.

One of the greatest benefits about Bausch & Lomb’s eye drops is that they work almost instantly. As soon as you apply them to your eye, you will feel relief and the irritation caused by dryness will start to dissipate. Sometimes the dryness gradually sets in, which can be addressed in a manner that prevents severe irritation. However, sometimes it hits you rather quickly. In those moments of true discomfort, having a solution that work fast matters a lot.

Then there is the question of vision obstruction. Some drops will cause blurry vision when you apply them, which means that you will have to wait a bit before everything clears up. Although it is generally a nuisance, having to wait for the drops to clear out can be a serious problem if you are driving or doing anything that requires optimal vision. The drops we are looking at here cause absolutely zero vision issues when you apply them. As a matter of fact, you should experience nothing more than the sensation of drops impacting your eyes. Additionally, this is a thimerosal-free solution, meaning that users with extremely sensitive eyes can use the drops as well.

Now, when it comes to the bottle itself, there are several things to mention. Most people are only focused on the formula, but we felt the need to explain the usage of the bottle too (since we’ve all accidentally squeezed WAY too much liquid into our eyes before). The Bausch & Lomb bottle is somewhat soft, which makes it relatively easy to squeeze out the drops. If you are used to less flexible bottles, be careful when you first use these, otherwise you’ll be loading your eyes with too much formula, which is the last thing you want when you’re trying to calm your irritation.

With everything considered, Bausch & Lomb’s Rewetting Drops are currently the overall best eye drops for contacts users. Their formula is proven over years of use, and their impressively-high customer recommendation rate shows that they work very well for most people.

A more natural formula to try

Blink is another well-known brand in the eye health industry. Their Lubricant Eye Drops for Contacts are quite a bit more expensive than Bausch & Lomb’s drops, but they do bring some great benefits depending on the type of contacts you use. While this is a great solution for contacts users in general, those who use soft or RGP lenses will see the most benefit since those are the lenses that this formula was specifically designed for.

Blink has made this formula with one goal in mind: to create eye drops that would replicate what your eyelids are doing when you blink. In some ways, they have succeeded in that effort. Blink Contact Lubricant drops are based on hyaluronate. For those who don’t know, this is a chemical that is naturally produced by your body for the specific purpose of lubricating your eyes. This is partially what makes them so expensive. You could say that Blink’s solution is more ‘organic’ or natural, which is why they work so well on the eyes. The content of these drops doesn’t end with hyaluronate, either. You also have a whole array of essential electrolytes that are there enhance the performance of the drops. These enhanced electrolytes, much like the hyaluronate, are also like those produced by your body, usually found in tears.

When it comes to what Blink’s product was intended for, the spectrum is pretty narrow. If you are wearing soft or RGP lenses, this solution will work like a charm. Blink recommends that you apply one or two drops on each side of the contact before putting them on. On top of that, if you want to rewet the lenses, apply the same amount of drops directly to your eyes. Once you do, the solution kicks in almost immediately. All you really have to do is blink a couple of times and you should be good to go.

The only reason why we have put these drops in the second position on our list is the price. A standard package includes a single 0.34 ounce bottle of this solution, which is only a third of what Bausch & Lomb’s drops give you (a whole ounce). On top of that, the price you pay for such a small quantity is much higher as well.

“So why even consider these drops?” you may ask. The truth is that Blink’s solution treats your eyes with a relatively natural formula, which is a pretty unique value compared to other products. You will usually have to use less of these drops, while their effect leaves a pretty organic sensation in your eyes. If you value quality over quantity, Blink’s Contacts Lubricant Drops should be on the top of your shortlist.

A great solution for general eye irritation

Lastly, we have Clear Eyes Maximum Redness Relief. Right from the start, we should make it clear that these drops weren’t specifically designed to be used with contacts. However, due to their focus on relieving redness and dryness, they can easily be used for that application. In fact, a lot of users in forums we visited commended these for their assistance with contacts irritation.

Clear Eyes’ formula focuses mostly on battling redness and providing relief with this issue. As such, it contains a decent amount of lubricants that can prevent or eliminate irritation caused by dry eyes and contacts. However, and this is very important, you should consult your eye care physician if you are not sure whether or not this brand of drops will work for your specific lenses. While most users have reported positive experiences, it is far better to be safe than sorry, especially considering that these are not specifically made to be used with contacts.

The good thing about Clear Eyes Maximum Redness Relief is that it doesn’t take much for it to kick in. All you have to do is apply a drop or two directly into your eye, and they should feel relief relatively quickly. In perfect conditions, you can count on having up to 12 hours of comfort and protection against irritation. It also doesn’t really cause blurry vision or other similar side effects that other brands are known for, making it pretty useful when you need to take a few drops on the go.

One very important thing to remember is to remove the contacts before applying Clear Eyes. Chances are it won’t give you problems when you put the contacts back, but you shouldn’t apply these drops with your lenses on.

The main reason we included Clear Eyes’ Max Redness Relief as our third choice was because, although it was not specifically made for contacts, it receives a fairly good approval rating from other contacts users. By focusing on providing relief to redness and other regular eye irritation, Clear Eyes has inadvertently created a great solution for contacts users.

How we picked our top three

When dealing with any kind of medical product, which eye drops are despite their common appearance, you need to be careful. Everyone’s bodies are different, and different chemicals contained in formulas can cause an assortment of issues if you are unknowingly allergic to any of them.

We looked at a lot of brands and products during our research, and during that time, some obvious requirements and common issues became apparent to us. Using this knowledge, we were able to narrow down our picks based on their generally-well-received formulas. In addition, we also considered a couple other factors in selecting the best eye drops for contacts, which we’ve gone over in detail below.

Proven effectiveness

There are many eye drops formulas out there, and unfortunately, not all of them work as advertised. On the contrary, some will cause more harm than good. Because of that, one of our primary requirements was that our picks had to be tried and tested by a vast majority of users, specifically those who frequently wear contacts. If you do some research of your own, you will find that all three of our picks have a pretty large user base, and these users generally report positive experiences with using the formula for all types of issues such as dry eyes, redness, and other irritation. Does this mean our top picks will work for everyone? No, sadly there’s no way to guarantee that; but statistically speaking, you should have the best luck with these.

Price-to-value ratio

Eye drops are something many simply need to use on a daily basis. As such, an average user will have a demand for a certain quantity of this stuff per week. While our main goal was to show you quality formulas based on their level of relief, price and quantity also played a role in our selection. Naturally, in some cases, a higher price tag is perfectly acceptable considering the performance of the drops in question. We have included one such example (Blink’s solution). The other two are more affordable and are something anyone should be able to acquire without much of an impact on their finances.

Versatility

Even though we have set out to find the best eye drops for contacts, some of the themes are more versatile than others. You will find solutions that are made to work with a specific type of contacts, while others aren’t that sensitive. Our goal was to find something that would work for general contacts users, since those can be more widely applied to our readers.

Things to consider before buying

Eye drops have a very wide variety of uses, but shopping for those intended to be used with contacts is a little different than regular over-the-counter products. No matter what the box says, you need to take some precautions to make sure you don’t use a solution that will cause further harm to your eyes. Below, we’ve listed what we think are some of the important things to consider to help get rid of your dry eyes or irritation.

Consult your physician before using

This can’t be emphasized enough. Consulting your doctor, or any eye care health professional should be the first thing on your list. The reason for this is that there are so many eye conditions that can produce symptoms similar or identical to those experienced by contact users. This means irritation, redness of the eye and more. Once you go to your doctor and have him take a look, he will most likely give you some advice on which formulas would be ideal for your personal contacts and eyes.

Read the label and intended uses

With so many different types of eye drops out there, it is sometimes easy to just completely overlook what the label really says. As you have probably figured out by now, some drops are designed to be used as a lubricant for contacts, while others aren’t; and to be even more specific, some are designed for certain types of contacts lenses, while others aren’t. Always check the label and intended usage twice to be sure you’re buying drops that will work for your situation.

Find the right amount of solution

Symptoms of eye irritation due to lack of moisture, as well as other causes, can manifest in a variety of ways. With some users, these symptoms may last for a brief period of time, while with others it’s a much longer ordeal. Knowing how much eye drop solution you need to relieve your symptoms can seriously help you avoid a lot of issues. Experiencing severe eye irritation is anything but fun, and it is only made worse if you use too much solution. The best thing to do is follow the amount recommended by the manufacturer, and from there you can adjust up or down depending on your body’s acceptance of the solution. You should be able to perfect the amount within a few days.

Tips for using eye drops with contacts

Using eye drops of any kind is pretty easy, but there are simple mistakes people commonly make that can take away from the solution’s ability to relieve your eyes quickly (or worse, these mistakes can irritate the eyes further). Here are some do’s and don’ts that will make your experience a bit easier if this is your first time.

Do’s

• Make sure that your head is tilted far back so that the eye drop actually stays in your eye. Many people make the mistake of flinching or keeping their head too far forward, allowing the drops to escape the eye. This is not only a waste of solution, but also prevents the drops from doing their job if you’re letting a majority of it exit the eye.

• Before just pouring solution into your eyes, figure out how fast your bottle dispenses the fluid. Some bottles are softer and much easier to squeeze, while others require some force. The last thing you want is to empty half the bottle into your eye by accident.

• Once you apply the eye drops, close your eyes and keep them closed for a few seconds. This will allow the fluid to spread out evenly across your eyes and contacts. To further assist with this, blink a few times just to make sure that everything is good.

Don’ts

Rubbing your eyes is probably the worst thing you can do. Not only does it not help the irritation, but it worsens it significantly. If you proceed to rub an itchy eye, expect to experience amplified irritation, severe redness of the eye and some serious discomfort.

• The very tip of the bottle is one place you don’t want to touch. Doing so increases the risk of contaminating the nozzle, and thus injecting a whole variety of harmful bacteria straight into your eyes. Additionally, make sure to seal the cap as soon as you are done.

• If you experience pain, extreme irritation or other more serious symptoms when you apply your eye drops, stop. It is imperative that you don’t use the product anymore until you talk to your physician. The absolute worst you can do is to force usage despite the obvious discomfort. Continued discomfort can cause a number of more serious long-term issues with your vision.

Wrapping it up

Most people think eye drops are uncomfortable when they first use them, but they quickly learn to appreciate having them around when their eye irritation is quickly relieved. For contacts users, this is especially true. Once you find the right solution, we’ll bet you’ll have a bottle in your bathroom, your car, and probably even in your desk at work. Choosing the right formula for your eyes might take a little trial and error, but for most people, the three products above should do the trick for common contact lens discomfort such as dry eyes, burning, redness, and other irritation.

Sources

Proper Eye Drop Use by WebMD
Disinfection Tips by Blink

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