It's allergy season with high ragweed and mold levels. You go to the eye drop section of your favorite store and have no idea what to buy. There are a ton of brands fighting for shelf space, as well as your hard earned money.
Your doctors at Optix Optometry have compiled a list of their favorite OTC recommendations for dry eyes and eye allergies. Links to their product websites have also been provided since they frequently have printable coupons.
It should be noted that we do not generally recommend any drops that say "gets the red out." These frequently contain tetrahydrozoline or pheniramine and can cause rebound congestion and redness with your eyes when the drug wears off. This leads to constant overuse and almost an "addiction" to them.
OTC Drops for Dry Eyes
Soothe XP - This is one of Dr. Steve Beck's favorite drops for dry eye. While not a good idea to use while wearing contact lenses, it does an excellent job of providing lubrication while also replacing the other necessary tear components many of us lack. They will cause your vision to be hazy for about 30 to 45 seconds, but Soothe XP simply helps heal the eye more quickly.
Blink Tears - A good all around drop. Blink Tears are not overwhelmingly thick like Blink Gel Tears, and they also don't cause your vision to get hazy for a little bit like Soothe XP. These might be a better choice for mild dry eye symptoms.
Blink Gel Tears - A bit thicker, but Dr. Stacey Beck likes this drop for longer contact time, meaning it stays on the eye longer. You won't want to use this while wearing contact lenses, but it can help rehabilitate the surface of the eye more quickly than regular Blink Tears.
Blink for Contacts - Probably our favorite rewetting drop for contact lens wearers. It doesn't have the other ingredients that can cause problems with filmy vision developing while wearing contact lenses.
OTC Drops for Eye Allergies
Alaway or Zaditor - These drops both contain ketotifen as their active ingredient. Zaditor was approved by the FDA in 1999 for allergic conjunctivitis and then went OTC in 2006. Even when it was a prescription drug, it was our number one choice when writing prescriptions. Now, Alaway and Zaditor are both available OTC for less than $15 a bottle and coupons are frequently available on their websites.