Can You Use Eye Drops With Contacts?

Wed, September 14th, 2022

Eye drops can be a source of relief for many. There are numerous types of eye drops—some available over-the-counter—that treat dry eyes, allergies, redness, and more.

Contact lens wearers aren’t immune to these issues—in fact, contacts may even cause dry eyes or redness in certain cases. Before reaching for a bottle of eye drops, you may be wondering if you can put in eye drops with contacts?

Let’s dive into everything you need to know about using eye drops with contacts.

Can I Put in Eye Drops With Contacts?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to whether you can use eye drops with contacts. As a best practice, you should never use eye drops while wearing contacts without first consulting with your eye care professional. Some eye drops will cause issues with contacts, so it’s important to get clarity before using them—especially over-the-counter eye drops.

Only your eye care professional can tell you whether the specific eye drops you have are suitable for use with contacts. Consider booking an appointment and bringing the bottle with you—otherwise, a call may suffice if you’re looking for a quicker answer.


Can You Use Eye Drops With Contacts? Infographic


Types of Eye Drops

There are a variety of different types of eye drops available, each with their own purpose. While you should always discuss with an eye care professional first, there are a few general tips for each type of eye drops as it relates to contact lenses. Let’s take a look at some of the most common.

Rewetting Eye Drops

Some contacts—especially those worn for two weeks or longer—can lead to dry eyes. Taking the lenses out and rewetting with contact lens solution may take care of the issue, but if you’re on the go, it’s not always a practical option. That’s where rewetting eye drops come in.

Unlike other types of eye drops, rewetting drops are designed specifically for use with contact lenses. The drops lubricate the eye and the lens, making for a more comfortable experience. They can also clean out debris or buildup from underneath the lens.

Your eye care professional can recommend the best rewetting drops to use with your lenses—however, it’s generally best to use the same brand of rewetting drops and contact solution when possible. These eye drops are available over-the-counter and can be found by the contact solution. The box will always say “for use with contact lenses,” which differentiates them from the next type of eye drops.

Eye Drops For Dry Eyes

While rewetting drops are specifically designed for contact lenses, there are a variety of other eye drops that target dry eyes as well. Standard eye drops for dry eyes, however, are not formulated for use with contacts. In fact, they can often cause issues when used with contacts in.

Many of these types of eye drops are thick and contain oils that can lead to your contact lenses clouding up. This can also cause additional buildup on the lens that may lead to more issues and a shorter lens lifespan.

If you’re routinely experiencing dry eyes while wearing contacts, contact your eye care professional to discuss your options. It may be the lenses themselves causing an issue—and if not, your doctor can recommend rewetting drops to work into your routine.

Eye Drops for Redness

Eye redness can stem from a variety of factors including illness, injury, allergies, or even contact lenses. There are a number of eye drops available over-the-counter that are designed to reduce redness—but like drops for dry eyes, you should steer clear if you’re wearing contacts.

These eye drops can also cause cloudiness due to deposits building up on the surface of the lens. In general, it’s best to avoid these drops until after you’ve removed your lenses. However, there are additional considerations to factor in as well.

These eye drops contain vasoconstrictors, a special ingredient that shrinks the tiny blood vessels in the eye. While this is effective for getting the red out, overuse of these eye drops can lead to issues. When the effects of the drops wear off, the blood vessels expand quickly which can lead to the eyes becoming bloodshot. These drops may make it more difficult to spot eye infections.

Allergy Eye Drops

If you’ve experienced itchy or watery eyes due to allergies, you may have tried allergy eye drops. There are a variety of allergy eye drop options available over-the-counter. These drops can be lifesavers during allergy season—however, they shouldn’t be used while wearing contacts.

If you need to treat allergy symptoms with eye drops, be sure to do so while not wearing your contacts, and wait at least 15 minutes after use to put your contacts in.

Prescription Eye Drops

In general, prescription eye drops used to treat eye infections and other eye conditions should not be used with contacts. In many cases, it may be recommended not to wear contacts at all until the condition is cleared up. Be sure to follow all instructions provided by your doctor and pharmacy to ensure these eye drops are used properly.

Can I Use Contact Solution as Eye Drops?

For contact lens wearers with bi-weekly, monthly, or other contacts that require daily contact lens care, it may be tempting to try to alleviate dry eyes with a few drops of contact solution in lieu of eye drops. However, contact solution is not intended to be used directly in the eye—in fact, doing so may actually harm the eye.

If your eyes are feeling dry or irritated with contacts in, it’s best to remove the lenses, clean with solution, and soak them in a contact lens case until the dryness or irritation has subsided.

Should I Take My Contacts Out?

If you’re considering using eye drops while wearing contacts, you’re likely experiencing dry eyes, eye redness, or irritation. However, rather than treating these symptoms, it may be time to take your contacts out.

The CDC recommends removing your contacts if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  • Eye redness or irritation
  • Pain in or around eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • Unusually watery eyes
  • Eye discharge

These may be signs of a potentially serious issue such as injury or eye infection. If removing your contacts doesn’t alleviate the symptoms, contact your eye care professional as soon as possible.

Try Daily Contacts

Some types of contacts can lead to the symptoms that you may want to use eye drops for, including dry eyes or redness. However, daily contacts can help avoid these issues. Being that a new pair is used each day, daily contacts ensure that each pair of lenses is fresh and free of deposits that may affect lens performance or cause eyes to dry out.

If you’re ready to get the most out of your contact lenses, check out daily contacts from Hubble. Hubble daily contacts are designed with convenience and performance in mind—each day you get the benefit of a fresh pair of lenses. Don’t just take our word for it—find out what people are saying about Hubble contacts, and start your subscription for as little as $1 today.


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