Eye Drops Comparison
|Purpose||Dry Eyes||Moisturizes||Soothes red,
|Dry Eyes||Dry Eyes|
Eye Drops Buying Guide
Most problems can be taken care of with the right eye drops. Deciding what type of eye drops you need will depend on what kind of problem you have. Some of the common issues that people can experience include:
- Eye discharge
If you are experiencing any of these problems on a constant basis it is important to consult an eye doctor to make sure there is not a more serious issue going on.
OTC vs. Prescription Drops
There are two different categories of eye drops: over-the-counter and prescription. For non-serious problems of the eye that are caused by things like being tired or overworking on the computer, over the counter eye drops are just fine. They will work for most issues and are a lot cheaper than prescription drops. If you notice that the problems with your eyes are getting worse or not going away you will need to be seen by an eye doctor to rule out a serious infection or a potentially sight-threatening disease.
Types of Eye Drops
We have listed the different types of eye drops that are available without prescriptions to help relieve many different symptoms. There are eye drops that are geared toward different issues which is the best way to look at all the available choices.
- Dry eyes – Another name for eye drops that are designed for those with dry eye is artificial tears or lubricating eye drops. They are made to provide the user with relief for short term dry eye that is caused by circumstances that are temporary. These may include things like tiredness, computer eye strain, and windy days.
This type of lubricating drops help by adding tear elements that you already produce naturally. This type of eye drops are designed to make your eyes more comfortable by supplementing the natural tears your eyes already make. Don’t use a decongestant eye drop for this condition. If the box advertises relief for red eyes, this is probably a decongestant type eye drop.
They will get rid of the red but can actually worsen dry eye symptoms in the long run. If your dry eye is more severe, consider getting a lubricating gel which is a little thicker. These are designed to be used before going to sleep. Do not use a thicker lubricating gel before operating a vehicle or doing something else where you will need to have clear vision.
- Redness – whitening eye drops are also known as decongestant eye drops. The vasoconstrictors that are in these eye drops are what eliminate the redness in the eyes. It works by reducing the size of the tiny blood vessels on the whites of the eyes and making them less able to be seen.
If the redness is due to tiredness or other temporary causes these eye drops will work but the danger in using decongestant eye drops is that they could hide a serious problem. Be sure to check with your eye doctor if the problem is not clearing up. Decongestant eye drops can cause some adverse effects including irritation, dilated pupils and dryness if they are used too frequently.
Another potential problem is that your eyes can build up resistance to the drops making the eyes redder when the effects of the drops wear off. If the redness is due to irritation, tiredness or lack of sleep try lubricating eye drops instead. They can work well for allergy-induced redness as well.
- Allergies and itchiness – If you are suffering from itchy eyes due to allergies, using an antihistamine eye drop for allergies is the way to go. They are designed to treat the itchiness that allergies can cause. They reduce histamine in the eyes which helps to get rid of the itchiness that can drive allergy sufferers crazy.
Other symptoms that allergies can cause are redness, watery eyes, puffiness and even swollen eyes. If the itchiness doesn’t go away by using the antihistamine eye drops, check with your doctor to see if prescription eye drops is needed.
- Soreness, Swelling or Discharge – For any of these issues you will need to rule out a serious problem first. When your eyes feel sore it can be from being tired, overused or strained. If they are sore often, there may be another cause that needs fixing that the doctor will need to help with. Any kind of discharge present in the eye needs to be checked. Do not use eye drops in eyes that have discharge because the problem can become worse.
- Pink Eye – Pink eye is one of the most common eye infections. Different prescriptions may be required depending on the type of infection it is. Your doctor will need to be consulted when treating this problem. There are two types of pink eye that people can suffer from: bacterial and viral. Bacterial can cause the eyes to be very red and sore and can have a yellow, sticky discharge.
This will need to be treated with prescription drops. Viral pink eye is highly contagious and can cause red, sore, watery eyes that have a clear or white discharge. If you have viral pink eye you may be able to get relief from lubricating eye drops and ice packs or cold compresses can help too.
- Allergic Pink Eye – This is the most common cause of eye redness and typically causes itchy eyelids that are swollen, watery and very bloodshot. Allergic pink eye is not contagious. In the majority of cases you can use antihistamine or lubricating eye drops to get relief. If the allergies are severe you may need a stronger, prescription eye drop.
Benefits of Preservative-Free Eye Drops
There are some preservatives that most eye drops contain that will prevent bacterial growth and keep the eye drops safer. Some users can be sensitive to these preservatives so finding preservative-free eye drops can be a lot better.
Other problems that can be caused by drops that have preservatives in them are irritation, more dryness and increased irritation. Remember that using preservative-free eye drops will eliminate this problem. Eye drops that do not contain preservatives come in single dose tubes and need to be used up at one time and thrown away to prevent bacteria from growing.
If You Wear Contact Lenses
There are special drops that contact wearers use called rewetting drops. These are specifically for contact users and provide relief from dryness. Most eye drops with the exception of these rewetting drops, are not meant to be used with contact lenses, so make sure you remove the lenses before using the other types of drops.
Eye drops are easy to find but sometimes the sheer number of different kinds and brands can make choosing the right ones difficult. The information in this buyer’s guide is designed to help you understand the different types of eye drops on the market and how they can be used to help you with whatever problems you are experiencing with your eyes. They should never replace being seen by a doctor if you feel the problem is more serious.
The three top eye drops we have featured above are all great choices when you are looking for a quality product that can help eliminate mild problems of the eye like dryness, irritation, itchiness, etc. If none of the featured eye drops meet your needs, use the information we have provided for you to sort through all the choices and find the one that will meet your needs the best.