With all the different eye drop options lining the pharmacy shelf it can be hard as a contact wearer to know which eye drops are the best for you and your needs.

If you’re worried about using eye drops with contact lenses, consult your optometrist or a pharmacist to see which specific drops are the best for you. For most cases here are some general eye drop guidelines from our on-staff optometrist, Dr. Todd Childs.

As you’re sifting through the eye drops at the store you may notice they fall into four different categories – allergy drops, redness relief, dry eye drops, and rewetting drops.

Allergy drops

Allergy drops are the miracle that help alleviate itchy, dry, watering, and red eyes associated with allergies. Ingredients in these drops are not designed to interact with contact lenses so when using them follow the 15-minute rule: Place the drops into your eyes then wait 15 minutes before putting your contacts back in.

Redness relief

Redness relief drops shrink the blood vessels in the conjunctiva, the transparent layer that covers the white part of your eye, making your eyes appear whiter. These eye drops are not recommended for contact lens wearers as they can cause deposits to form on the surface of your lenses and can cause your eyes to have a rebound redness that is worse than the initial redness

Dry eye drops

Dry eye drops are not the same as the rewetting drops often used by contact wearers. Dry eye drops are made to lubricate your eye, not your contacts. If they’re used with contacts, they can temporarily or permanently cause clouding on your lenses. Consult your doctor for their recommendation if you need these drops.

Rewetting drops

Rewetting drops made to use with contacts will say “contacts” on the front of the label. If the bottle doesn’t say “contacts” they’re not what you’re looking for. These eye drops are designed to lubricate the eye and your contact lens to make wear more comfortable. They can be used regularly and frequently to increase comfort.

When using any kind of eye drops remember to wash your hands before handling the drops or your contact lenses.

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