Preservative-free eye drops vs eye drops with preservatives

If you regularly suffer from dry or irritated eyes, eye drops (also known as artificial tears) are an excellent solution for this problem. Eye drops provide immediate relief, so you no longer suffer from that burning sensation in your eyes. Fortunately, you can use most eye drops in combination with your contact lenses.

There are many different eye drops on the market. One particular type that is rising in popularity with customers are preservative-free eye drops, which are gentle on eyes. If you're looking for eye drops without preservatives, then you've come to the right place. We have several types of eye drops that do not contain preservatives, which are perfect for use if you wear contact lenses. Read on to learn more about the difference between preservative-free eye drops and eye drops with preservatives.

Suffering from preservatives in eye drops?

Someone putting in eye drops, the bottle is Systane Ultra

Many eye drops contain preservatives to extend the shelf life of the drops, and to prevent pathogens from entering the eyes. If the bottle of eye drops does not have a one-way valve, bacteria has an increased chance of contaminating the bottle. The preservatives must therefore prevent the growth of the bacteria. But research has shown that preservatives do not provide complete protection against these germs. Often a bottle of eye drops with preservatives still contains bacteria and germs after a while. In addition, many people notice that their eyes do not respond well to the preservatives in eye drops. The eye drops then do not do what they are intended for and the drops ensure that someone actually suffers more from his or her eyes. For example, people who are sensitive to preservatives in eye drops may experience:

  • An allergic reaction to the preservatives
  • Irritated, itchy, and stinging eyes
  • Increased dryness in eyes

A vicious circle

People who use eye drops with preservatives sometimes notice that they experience more dry eye symptoms and that the eyes feel irritated. This may be due to a reaction to the preservatives in the eye drops. Some preservatives can cause minor damage to the outer layer of the cornea. What usually happens is that people start to drip more to treat dry eyes, but the preservative in the eye drops actually makes the allergic reaction worse. This creates a vicious cycle, with the eye becoming more sensitive and uncomfortable after each application. Preservative-free eye drops offer a solution in such an instance.

Why use eye drops without preservatives?

Fortunately, more and more eye drops without preservatives are becoming available. These eye drops are a lot gentler on your eyes and on your contact lenses. Today, eye drops are available in a bottle that is specially designed to ensure that bacteria does not have the chance to settle inside it. You can therefore continue to use the eye drops in a hygienic way. There are also eye drops without preservatives available in a vial for one-time use.

If you notice that you have sensitive eyes or have previously suffered from an allergic reaction to eye drops, eye drops without preservatives are recommended. Hypersensitivity to preservatives is common, and eye drops that do not contain preservatives are a solution.

A bottle of Systane Ultra

Recommended: Systane ULTRA Preservative-Free

Systane ULTRA Preservative-Free eye drops from Alcon are specially made to provide fast-acting relief for dry and sensitive eyes, as these eye drops contain no preservatives. This bottle uses the patented PureFlow™ technology. Thanks to the valve in the neck of the bottle, one drop comes out at a time. This prevents bacteria from entering the bottle, so you can continue to use these eye drops hygienically.

If you suddenly suffer from dry eyes because you are in a room with dry air due to the air conditioning or heating, we recommend these eye drops. And a big advantage is that you can use them when you have your contact lenses in. With these eye drops, your eyes and your lenses are optimally hydrated again, as they are made with the natural gel-forming ingredient HP-Guar. This creates a layer on the cornea so that your eyes are well moistened. This also allows you to drop the eye drops into your eye with more precision.

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Causes of dry eyes

There are various causes of dry eyes. For example, many people suffer from dry and sensitive eyes when they work behind a computer all day. In winter, the heating inside often provides dry air, so that your eyes and contact lenses also feel dry quickly. While in the summer the air conditioning can actually make your eyes feel dry. Age can also have an influence: many people find that they get dier eyes as they get older. Some women experience dry eyes during pregnancy.

Whatever the cause, if you suffer from dry, sensitive, or burning eyes, we recommend using eye drops. Eye drops that do not contain preservatives are extra gentle on your eyes and your contact lenses.

A bottle of Systane Hydration

Recommended: Systane HYDRATION Preservative-Free

Systane HYDRATION eye drops contain no preservatives. These eye drops ensure that your eyes and contact lenses are optimally hydrated if you suffer from dry and sensitive eyes. These eye drops are very suitable if you are looking for eye drops that provide protection and hydration for a longer period of time.

You can also use these eye drops from Alcon while wearing your contact lenses. The preservative-free formula helps restore moisture to dry eyes and the HydroBoost technology brings long-lasting relief to dry and sensitive eyes.

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Do you notice an insufficient effect of the eye drops or do you suffer from dry eyes for a long time? Then pay a visit to the optician. The optician can do an eye test and check your eye health.