Types of Eye Drops
There are a lot of eye drop options out there, so it is important to know the different functions of each to relieve your symptoms of itchy, red, or dry eyes. Note that rewetting drops are the only drops that should be used with contact lenses still in your eyes.
Red eye relief drops is an over-the-counter (OTC) medicinal product that’s typically made from a decongestant to temporarily reduce swelling of the eye’s blood vessels. The redness goes away once the swelling subsides. People who have allergies to decongestants or have persistent red eyes are urged to use preservative-free drops like artificial tears.
Lubricant Eye Drops/Artificial Tears
Lubricant eye drops, also known as artificial tears, mimic many of the same properties as natural tears to provide soothing relief for red and dry eyes. They’re free of preservatives, making them safe to use as frequently as necessary. Lubricating eye drops are preferred to treat people with both dry and red eyes. Redness relief drops usually contain decongestants which can worsen dry eye symptoms.
Eye Allergy Relief
Eye allergy relief eye drops are formulated to treat symptoms caused by allergies, such as redness and itchiness. There are many types of allergy relief drops on the market, from OTC to prescription. Even the OTC allergy drops vary in their composition.
- Mast cell stabilizer: Fairly new to the market, mast cell stabilizer allergy drops help prevent the release of histamine and can be used for months without side effects.
Popular drops: Pataday
- Multiple-action: The most popular and effective OTC allergy eye drops, multiple-action combines two or more types of medicine to treat symptoms. These drops shouldn’t be used for more than three days if symptoms don’t subside.
Popular drops: Opcon-A, Naphcon-A, Alaway
- Decongestant: Although branded as allergy drops, long term use of decongestant drops can cause “rebound redness,” making your eyes permanently bloodshot. They are not recommended to treat eye allergies.
Popular drops: Clear Eyes, Refresh
Multi-symptom relief eye drops contain numerous formulas to quickly treat multiple symptoms of mild eye irritations.
Unlike with the drops listed above, you can use rewetting drops with contact lenses still in your eye. They will provide hydration to the contact lens by adding a layer of moisture.