Best Eye Drops Reviews, Comparison and Ratings
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There are many eye problems and most of them, have an eye drop product as a solution; from eye dryness, conjunctivitis, cataracts, red eyes, allergies to eye strain. Determining the specific eye problem will help you to get the right kind of eye drops to meet your particular needs. Eye drops are available as over-the-counter and prescription-only medications. Most of the products that we have reviewed can be purchased without a prescription. However, we recommend that you should first consult your doctor to determine the extent and severity of your eyes’ problem and also, to determine the best treatment and dosage.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Clear eyes
Types of eye drops
There are different eye drops products, and each serves its purpose. Most common eye drops types are:
Lubrication eye drops
This kind of eye drops provide relief for dry eyes and are also known as artificial tears. They work by supplementing natural tears, preventing evaporation of tears and creating a lubrication film on the surface of the eyes.
Red-eyes eye drops
Eye drops for dealing with eye redness act by causing vasoconstriction of blood vessels supplying the eyes, thus making them less visible and resulting to brighter and whiter eyes. They are also referred to as decongestant or whitening eye drops.
Allergy eye drops
Allergy eye drops are formulated to reduce the action of histamine in causing excessive inflammatory reactions in the eyes. They are primarily made to treat itchiness and redness of the eyes as a result of allergic reactions.
Eye drops for infections
Conjunctivitis, inflammation of the conjunctiva (the transparent membrane lining the white part of the eye and eyelids), is the most common type of eye infection. Conjunctivitis may occur as a result of allergies, bacteria or viruses. Most conjunctivitis eye drops need a prescription from a doctor and are formulated to treat the specific cause.
10 Best Eye Drops
Used for dry eyes
Active ingredient is Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose (0.25%)
Packaged in 1 or 2 oz bottles
They are budget-friendly as they are contained in a larger bottle than most other eye drops products and from user reviews, they do last longer. They are also worth it as the formula used is similar to that of the tears, so they do not force the eyes to become watery, but mimic the action of natural tears.
Irritation caused by dry eyes can be so uncomfortable that it can prevent you from going on with your daily activities. Thera Tears eye drops have been proved that they effectively lubricate the surface of the eyes and continuously bathe the eye parts, to prevent this irritation. Furthermore, the formula used to make these eye drops is exactly as the elemental composition of the natural tears. The price is also pocket-friendly, and one single bottle will serve you for longer than most other products. The only drawback is that it contains boric acid as an inactive ingredient; some individuals are sensitive to borate.
Multiple use bottle
Moistens the eyes by mimicking tears
Effects can be noticed within 30 minutes of use
May cause a burning sensation
Contains boric acid which some people may be sensitive to
2. Clear Eyes
Primarily for eye lubrication
Active ingredients are glycerin 0.5% and naphazoline hydrochloride 0.03%
Free of preservatives
Available in six sizes
Single dose acts for up to 12 hours
Clear Eyes drops are incredibly easy on the pocket and in the lower price range of eye drops products. Although the bottle is small and has a capacity of only 0.5 fluid ounce, it just requires one to two drops per eye, which can provide relief for up to 12 hours. Some have users have reported that this product may last for two months when minimum dosages are used.
This product puts into use glycerin and naphazoline hydrochloride as the active ingredients, which not only lubricate the eyes but also protect eye cells from further damage and cause regeneration of damaged epithelial cells. Clear Eyes also stands out as it provides relief after few minutes of use and the effects can last for up to 12 hours. It is also worth considering for its friendly price and proved effectiveness.
Provides relief for up to 12 hours
Free of preservatives
Bottle is small enough to be kept in a purse when
Positive effects are seen within a few minutes of use
Can last for up to two months
Eyes may burn after a few seconds of application
3. Systane Ultra
Primary usage is for lubrication of dry eyes
Active ingredients are Polyethylene Glycol 0.4% and Propylene Glycol 0.3%
Provides a long-lasting effect due to its gel-like consistency
Each package has two bottles, each 10mls
Has a different convenient package with two bottles, one is 10mls and the other 5mls
The larger bottle can be used at home while the smaller one can be carried when traveling
Systane Ultra is pricey, but it is worth the pricing. You will find that one drop can last you for a whole day and the packaging has two 10mls bottles.
Though pricey, it is totally worth, especially if you have severe or chronic eye dryness. Its two active ingredients give it a thick consistency which covers the tear film and slowly prevents dryness and irritation. One or two drops are enough to relieve the eyes for a whole day. For these reasons, Systane Ultra is a great value product.
Long lasting effect
Has a convenient ‘Home and Away’ pack
Less negative side effects
The cap closes better thus no risk of leakage
More comfortable to use
For relieving eye allergies
Active ingredients are pheniramine maleate and naphazoline hydrochloride
Available in two packs either as a pack of 3 or a twin pack
They are moderately priced and worth buying considering that they are one of the few eye allergy products. Moreover, the eye drops come as a package of three or two bottles, making a total of 10 or 15mls of each package. The different bottles lower the risk of contamination and allow you to have separate containers for home use and when traveling.
If you have any eye allergies, then Opcon-A eye drops are a good selection, though they act only for a short period (4 hours), they act fast to relieve symptoms. Actually, that is how allergy relievers should work. They also clear redness of the eyes and leaves them glowing white and compared to other products, Opcon-A does not make the eyes look watery.
Helps in dealing with allergies
Clears redness of the eyes
Does not cause eye wateriness
Soothes the eyes
Can be used when anticipating unavoidable exposure to a potential allergen
Mild burning when first applied
Relieves the symptoms for only 4 hours
5. Bausch + Lomb
For use as a lubricant for dry eyes
Active ingredients are
• Light mineral oil (1.0%) – Emollient
• Mineral oil (4.5%) – Emollient
Contains hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide to adjust pH of the product, to match pH of the natural tears
Has a milky white appearance
Available in four sizes
Compared to other 15mls eye dryness drops, Soothe XP is in the higher price range. However, it makes use of emollient mineral oils which have for a long time been used medically as a lubricant.
Soothe XP is a product worth considering if you have chronic eye dryness. It not only relieves the symptoms of dryness but also helps in restoring the lipid layer of the eyes, which is what is mostly damaged in people with dry eyes. Therefore, it helps preventing future dryness, and because it forms a layer over the natural surface of the eye, it protects the eyes from potential irritants. Its downside is that it causes a temporary change in vision, but the eyes adjust back in few seconds.
Thick in consistency and has long-lasting effects
Soothing to the eyes
Also relieves itching and pain
Prevents future eye damage
Causes temporary blurred vision
6. Alcon Zaditor
For providing eye itch relief
Relief effect lasts for 12 hours
Suitable for children above 3 years
Active ingredient is ketotifen 0.025%
Inactive ingredients include benzalkonium chloride, glycerol, purified water, sodium hydroxide, and hydrochloric acid
Zadiator is a bit expensive, but it is worth the price considering that it relieves itchiness for more than 12 hours, is safe for long-term use, suitable for children above three years and that it acts fast to relieve an allergic reaction.
These eye drops are excellent for people with eye allergies as they act fast and have a prolonged action time; a single drop is enough to last you for a whole day. Because it has no vasoconstriction-causing compounds, it is suitable for regular use and for children. This product does not deal with eye redness and may be seen as a drawback, but this is the same property that makes it suitable for prolonged use.
Long lasting effect
Suitable for children above three years
Application is only once or twice a day
Does not cause a burning sensation when applied
Safe for short and long-term use
A bit expensive
Takes time to clear redness
Primarily for relieving eye redness
Is also an eye lubricant
Acts for up to 8 hours
Active ingredients are Naphazoline Hydrochloride 0.012% and Polysorbate 80 0.2%
Rohto cooling eye drops are reasonably priced for a twin pack with 13mls in each bottle. They are also worth considering that their effectiveness has been proved and that they can be used for more than one purpose.
Rohto is the eye drops product to go for if you are primarily interested in clearing eye redness caused by allergic reactions or to lubricate the eyes. Moreover, this product provides prolonged relief for up to 8 hours.
Acts for up to 8 hour
Brightens and whitens the eyes
The menthol ingredient cools the eyes
Effective for morning allergies
Works well for eye strain
Bottle cap is difficult to open and close
8. Refresh Optive
Is an eye lubricant
Free of preservatives
Comes in single-use containers
Active ingredients are carboxymethyl cellulose sodium 0.5% and Glycerin 0.9%
Each package comes as a pack of 30 single-use containers
Refresh Optive eye drops are reasonably priced considering that they are more than lubricants. They are recommended for moisturizing dry eyes and endorsed by ophthalmologists for use after an eye surgery.
If you have are experiencing eye dryness especially after an eye surgery, then you should consider these eye drops. They are sterile and safe to use after surgery. In addition, they are packed in single-use containers that you discard after use, thus eliminating the risk of contamination and infections. Moreover, the eye drops are free of preservatives, therefore have minimal side effects. The icing on the cake is that this product is pocket-friendly.
Free of preservatives
Low risk of contamination
Moisturizes the eyes
Suitable for use post-surgery
Sterile and safe to use
Bottles are convenient for traveling
May cause itchiness in some rare cases
Lubricant eye drops
Used to slow down occurrence of senile cataracts
Relieves temporary minor eye irritations
Sterile and hypoallergenic
Free of animal products
Active ingredients are N-Acetyl-Carnosine (NAC) 1.0%, Glycerin 1.0% and Carboxymethyl cellulose sodium (lubricant) 0.3%
Each package has two 5mls vials
Can-C is quite pricey considering that the package comes as two 5mls bottles, making a total of 10mls only. However, the product is worth considering if you have eye dryness and you want to reverse or slow down the progress of cataracts.
If you have cataracts, then Can-C eye drops are worth investing in, but it may take you some time before you notice any improvement. The drops will also work best if the cataract is in its initial stages of development. The eye drops can also be used as a dry eye lubricant and to relieve minor irritations to the eyes.
Is a lubricant as a well as an antioxidant
Can be used to slow down age-related cataracts
Suitable for vegetarians
Can be used for both humans and pets
Cataracts effects take a while to be noticed
Primary use is for relieving allergy symptoms
Uses natural active ingredients extracted from Euphrasia and Sabadilla plants
Gluten and dairy free
Comes with single-use droppers
Active ingredients are Apis Mellifica, Euphrasia Officinalis, and Sabadilla
These drops are very affordable and come as a bottle of 10mls, together with twenty sterile droppers to maintain sterility. They are also budget friendly considering that the active ingredients of the drops are extracted from plant sources.
If you like natural products, then Similasan eye drops are worth a trial. The active ingredients are obtained from Euphrasia and Sabadilla plants. These ingredients do not mask the irritating symptoms but act on the root cause of the inflammatory reaction. This product does not have any vasoconstrictor as an ingredient, and thus, can be used as often as required. However, note that it is not a purely natural product as the inactive ingredients are synthetic.
Can be used as often as needed
Uses natural plant extracts
Gluten and dairy free
Suitable for children above two years of age
Suitable for allergies and eye dryness
Comes with single-use droppers
Does not cause burning sensation when administered
Takes a while for results to be noticed
Relieves the symptoms for a short period
Product Criteria for Evaluation
Selecting health products can be tricky, especially if you do not know what to look out for. For eye drops particularly, getting the wrong product can either leave your eyes with the same problem or even worsen the symptoms. To avoid this hustle, we have reviewed ten eye drops products for you. We have discussed their modes of actions and pointed out what each product does. We have also listed all active and inactive ingredients for each product for you to pick out components that may be sensitive to you easily. We have also listed the pros and cons for each, for you to know what to expect.
This is the criteria that we used to select the products;
User reviews and ratings
We combed through online selling platforms and carefully read through user reviews and analyzed user ratings for each product. Note that we considered online platforms that filter their reviews and only included unbiased reviews from verified purchases. We put into consideration products that had the best-detailed reviews and the highest ratings. From the user reviews, we were able to gauge the effectiveness of the products and also to point out effects that may not have been indicated on the product label.
Our eyes are precious, and they are what stands between us and the beautiful nature. Therefore, we take the safety of each product that we review, with the utmost importance that our sight and health in general, deserve. We chose products that use FDA approved ingredients and manufacturers who adhere to General Manufacturing Practices (GMP). We have also indicated all the active and inactive compounds in each product, for you to analyze and skip what is not safe for you. Some individuals like their products natural, and so, we included some products that are extracted from natural sources. We also had in mind that some products have preservatives which can cause side effects and sensitivities to some individuals. Thus, we included (though not all) products that are free of preservatives.
We picked products from manufacturers with a strong reputation for making products that are safe and meet their label claims. For some of the products that we have chosen, the manufacturers have been in operation for many decades while others are well known for making other successful health products. We also considered manufacturers that had subjected their products to third-party testing and scientific studies.
Medication formulation and dosages vary depending on the age of the targeted population. We included products that are suitable for both adults and children. Three of the reviewed products are ideal for children as young as two years. However, we strongly recommend that you should first consult a doctor before administering any medication to a child.
Eye drops uses
Eye drops are an effective way of delivering medications directly to the eyes. Some products are available as prescription medications while others are over the counter medications that you can purchase from pharmacies or online stores. Eye drops are indicated for:
- Treating infections such as conjunctivitis
- Preventing infections especially before and after surgical procedures
- Lubrication and moistener for dry eyes
- To relieve signs and symptoms of allergic reactions
- To slow down the progression of cataracts
- Relieve minor irritations
- Brighten and clear eye redness
- Cool off the eyes
- Rewetting and lubricating contact lens
Possible side effects
Eye drops have some side effects though less serious. The most common side effects include:
- Temporary cloudy vision
- Stinging/burning sensation within 1 to 2 minutes after use
- Mild eye discomfort
- Headache and dizziness
- Widening of the pupils
- Redness of the eyes
More serious side effects are:
- Irregular heartbeats
- Severe headache
Signs that you may be having an allergic reaction to the eye drops include:
- Eye pain and swelling
- Difficulty in breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and throat
- Rash and itchiness
- Severe dizziness
If you experience any of the signs of an allergic reaction or any serious side effect, you should stop using that particular product and seek medical intervention. For the less serious side effects, they should subside after a few minutes, but if they persist for more than 72 hours, you should consult a doctor.
How to administer eye drops
Administering eye drops in the right way ensures that the medication reaches all eye parts and also, reduces the chances of introducing disease-causing microorganisms. Below are some of the tips that you can put into practice, to ensure that you are adhering to the recommended method of application.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before applying eye drops
- If you wear contact lenses, remove them and wait for about 15 minutes before reinserting them after administering the eye drops
- Sit or stand then tilt your head back and look towards the ceiling with the eyes open and pull your lower lid down to make space for the eye drops
- Hold the dropper with the other hand and gently squeeze to release one drop or the recommended dosage. The tip of the vial should not touch the eyelid and neither should your fingertips.
- Gently release the eyelid and blink to spread the eye drop(s) to the whole surface of the eye.
- Repeat for the other eye if it is also affected
Precautions and Warnings
Eye drops should only be used for external purposes, and if ingested, you seek medical intervention immediately.
Use of the product should immediately be discontinued if the eye problems persist or worsen within 72 hours of use. You should also discontinue use if you develop eye pain, change in vision, or continued irritation.
The tip of the bottle may be contaminated and thus transferring microorganisms to the eyes and consequently, can cause eye infections. Therefore, you should avoid touching the tip and prevent contact with any surface, when the bottle is open.
In case you wear contact lens, first remove them before administering the eye drops and put them back after 15 minutes. This gives time for the eye drops to dissipate fully from the ocular surface.
In case in you have an eye condition such as open-angle glaucoma or any other condition not indicated for eye drops, you should first ask the doctor before commencing usage of any type of eye drops.
You should not use any eye drops products if there is evidence of tampering with the package or if it changes color or becomes cloudy.
Eye drops should be used with caution if one has any medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and enlarged prostate gland. One should consult a doctor in case of any medical condition.
Eye drops should not be used more than the recommended period because prolonged use may produce increased redness of the eyes and other irritation signs.
Eye drops products should be stored at room temperature (20ºC and 25ºC) and away from children. The should also be stored away from direct sunlight.
What are the uses of eye drops?
Eye drops are commonly used to lubricate and moisten dry eyes, to relieve allergic symptoms, to treat eye infections and some products, slow down the progression of age-related cataracts.
What causes dry eyes?
Dry eyes can result when production of tears decreases, evaporation of tears increases, blockage of tear ducts or the composition of tears is imbalanced.
How do eye drops treat the symptoms of dry eyes?
Different products work in different ways to prevent and treat dry eyes. Some are lubricants and moisturizers which mimic tears or form a lipid layer on the surface of the cornea then prevent moisture loss and alleviate friction of the cornea and eye lids.
How do these drops with allergy symptoms?
Most of the products block histamine receptors thus blocking harmful inflammatory reactions. Others cause vasoconstriction of the eye blood vessels thus reducing discomfort caused by irritation and clearing redness caused by allergies.
How often can I use eye drops?
Eye drops should be used as directed by the manufacturer or by a skilled health care provider. Prolonged usage may cause reddening and persistent irritation of the eyes.
Do they have interactions with other medications?
Eye drops can interact with other medications or herbal products. Therefore, you should inform your doctor or pharmacist before you start using eye drops products.
Do they have any side effects?
Just like any other drugs, eye drops have side effects. One may experience temporary blurred vision, burning/stinging sensation, and irritation. However, you should cease usage if these effects worsen.
If you experience eye pain, swelling of the face, tongue or throat, change in vision, severe dizziness, and troubled breathing, you should immediately stop using the product and seek medical help.
Can I use eye drops while in my contact lenses?
If you have lenses, you should first remove them when administering the eye drops then put them back after 10 to 15 minutes.
Also note, some preservatives may damage contact lenses so you should consider preservative-free products.