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Are your eye drops OK to use with contact lenses?
Medically reviewed by Sharon Copeland on 19 January 2021
There are many different types of eye drops which can be used by contact lens wearers; however, not all eye drops are safe to put in the eye while wearing lenses. To be safe, it's worth checking with your optician before using eye drops with your contact lenses to check if they are suitable.
In this article, we'll take you through the different types of eye drops and discuss whether they are ok to use with contact lenses.
Types of eye drops
The different types of eye drops can be divided into prescription eye drops and over the counter eye drops.
There are three types of over the counter eye drops to relieve dryness and irritation:
- Eye drops for dry eye
- Eye drops for redness
- Contact lens eye drops
Contact lens eye drops
Contact lens eye drops are also known as rewetting eye drops, designed to lubricate and hydrate your eyes so that your eyes feel comfortable while wearing your lenses. Rewetting drops can be used with soft contact lenses to rehydrate the lens. Frequent use of these drops are recommended by eye care professionals to improve comfort and help clear out any debris underneath the lens.
Eye drops for dry eye
If using 'dry eye' eye drops, it's best to stick to solutions which specifically state 'suitable for contact lenses' on the packaging. Some eye drops for dry eyes feature a thick formulation which can cloud up your lenses, so you want to avoid using these types of formulations when wearing contact lenses.
Try Thealoz Duo Eye Drops
Thealoz Duo Eye Drops are preservative-free, hydrating eye drops suitable for all contact lens wearers. They feature sodium hyaluronate which thickens the tear film and helps the eyes to retain moisture. These eye drops are an excellent choice for dry and sensitive eyes with moisturising effects which have been clinically proven to last for at least 4 hours.
Eye drops for dry eyes are perfect for lubricating your eyes; however, it’s best to read the instructions on the packaging before use. Just like lubricating eye drops, these aren't always suitable for use with contact lenses.
Eye drops for redness
Also known as 'vasoconstrictors', eye drops for redness shrink the blood vessels in the conjunctiva to reduce red eyes. You should avoid using these eye drops with your contact lenses as they can cause tiny deposits to build up on the lenses resulting in 'rebound redness.' This is when the vasoconstrictor stops being effective, causing the blood vessels to dilate and giving the appearance of bloodshot eyes.
Prescription eye drops
In most cases, you should remove your contact lenses before applying prescription eye drops and wait for at least 15 minutes before putting them back in, or as your pharmacist when would be the best time to insert them. If you are using medicated eye drops for an eye injury or allergies, it's best not to wear contact lenses until you finish using the product.
Over the counter eye drops
If you are using over the counter eye drops without specific instructions from your doctor, there are certain things to be aware of.
For example, it's best to follow the 15-minute rule when using allergy drops. These drops are not designed to interact with contact lenses. Furthermore, instilling them before inserting your contact lenses will ensure deeper ocular penetration and more effectiveness.
When treating dry eye, you should note that rewetting drops are not the same as eye drops for dry eye. If you are using eye drops with medications to treat dry eye, your doctor will likely recommend following the 15-minute rule.
Lastly, you should pay attention to labels, including the labels on rewetting eye drops. Make sure they state that the eye drops are safe to use with contact lenses. Also take note of when to throw the drops away, this should be stated on the packaging.
Removing your contact lenses
You should remove your contact lenses if you encounter any of the following problems:
- Irritation or red eyes
- Eye pain
- Sudden blurry vision
- Excessive watery eyes
- Light sensitivity
What eye drops are safe to use with contacts?
Rewetting eye drops are safe to use with soft contact lenses. However, when instilling them into your eyes, you must take care not to touch the tip of the dropper with your finger or your eye for hygiene purposes.
Rewetting drops are also safe to use with rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lenses and will hydrate the lenses in the eyes, enabling you to wear them for longer. Using rewetting drops with RGP lenses will help to remove debris from underneath the lens as well as relieve discomfort, irritation, and blurry vision.
What eye drops are best to use with contacts?
There are many eye drops on the market which are safe to use with contact lenses. Our comfi Soothe Drops are a premium eye drop for contact lens wearers and will provide long-lasting relief from dry eyes. These drops can be used with or without contact lenses in and will hydrate and lubricate your eyes for the whole day.
Alternatively, you can choose our Blink Intensive Tears Bottle. Although the bottle is not preservative-free, they do also come in preservative-free single-use vials which are travel-friendly. These eye drops are ideal for those with busy lifestyles and can be applied with your lenses in. Whether you're commuting to work, in the office or shopping around town, these eye drops will keep your eyes safe and healthy with their unique formula which will enhance vision and comfort for more extended periods. These eye drops are especially useful for relieving dry eyes.
For those who find it tricky to instil eye drops, our Blink Refreshing Eye Mist offers the perfect alternative, particularly for children. This eye mist provides fast and effective relief from dry eyes and only requires a few sprays. You can use this spray with or without your contact lenses in.
Quick links:How to use eye drops
What to do when your contact lenses hurt
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