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What are the best eyedrops whilst wearing contact lenses?

Posted in 'General' on January 17, 2020 by Stuart Macfarlane

Sometimes after a late-night or a day in air-conditioning your eyes may be a little irritated or dry.   Either way sometimes your eyes need that little bit of help to make them more comfortable. A quick remedy if your eyes are feeling irritated are eyedrops.

The most common cause of ocular irritation particularly while wearing contact lenses is dryness. As well is causing ocular irritation, dryness of contact lenses can cause your vision to blur intermittently. You may sometimes find that your vision is fuzzy and you have to blink several times to clear it. Dry contact lenses are also more difficult to remove from the eye and more easily damaged. Both the ocular surface and the contact lens itself can be damaged if the lenses are dry and sticking to your eye. A remedy for this is to insert a lubricating eyedrop into your eye before removal of the contact lens.

EyedropsIf ocular lubricants are only used intermittently, then eye drops such as OptiFree Pro Moisturising drops are adequate, however if you are using drops long-term then you're better having a preservative free solution such as Hylo-Fresh drops. Preservative-free (unit dose) eyedrops suitable for use with contact lenses are brands such as "Refresh" or "Systane" which are usually purchased in a pack of 30 separate vials. These are used once then discarded, however if you are careful you can recap and refrigerate the vial and use it several times before discarding it each night. Another preservative-free lubricating drop available for contact lenses is called Hylofresh. This drop is dispensed from a pump-action bottle containing around 300 drops and once opened can be kept for six months before you have to dispose of the bottle. Lubricating eyedrops can be used many times daily and depending on the environment some people find the need to use them up to four times daily.

If you tend to find that your contact lenses become dirty by the end of the day then a good remedy for this are Blink'n'Clean eyedrops. This is a drop containing a mucolytic which is designed to dissolve mucous from the contact lens surface. It can be used several times daily and is effective in reducing surface deposits from your contacts.  

Antihistamine eyedrops can be useful if you suffer from hayfever, asthma or allergies and have red, itchy eyes. A commonly used over-the-counter antihistamine drop is called Zaditen and is used twice daily. It usually takes about a week or so for this drop to reach maximum efficacy. It is best to insert Zaditen drops while you are not wearing contact lenses, so a good solution would be to insert the drop upon waking before you insert your contact lenses, as well as another drop after removing the contact lenses each night. Another over-the-counter antihistamine eye drop used twice daily is called Livostin, which again should not be used whilst contact lenses are in the eye.

If your eyes are just red and irritated, particularly the morning after a late-night, then you may simply need an astringent eye drop such as Visine or Murine.  These drops should not be used while contact lenses are in the eyes and should only be used for a day or two.

Be sensible and if your eyes are painful or the irritation persists then see your eye care practitioner immediately.