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Contact solution, eye drops, and saline solution all work interchangeably, right?  After all, they are each put into your eye in some way.  So why so many choices?  What’s the difference?  Let’s explore the do’s and don’ts of all of these “solutions.” 

What’s the Difference Between Eye Drops and Contact Solution?


Eye drops (also known as rewetting drops) and contact solutions are two very different things that have very specific uses.  

Rewetting drops are perfect for hydrating your eyes, especially when wearing contacts.  This is definitely your best bet when treating dry, irritated eyes.  

Contact solution, however, has a mixture of cleaners in it and is purely for washing and disinfecting your contacts.  This solution keeps you from getting eye infections from the “stuff” that is on your contacts.

Can Contact Solution Be Used as Eye Drops?


If you wear contacts, you’ve probably found yourself with dry eyes and in a pinch.  You don’t have eye drops handy, but you do have your contact solution.  Would the contact solution make a suitable substitute?  It seems like it should, right?  You wash your contacts in it; shouldn’t you be able to use it as a simple eye drop too?  

The answer is no!  There are some critical differences between the makeup of contact solution and eye drops, as discussed earlier.  You do not want to be using contact solutions for your eyes.

Contact Solution is mainly used to clean your contact lenses from the daily grime and germs that buildup.  It is not meant for use in your eyes as drops.  Although contact solution does contain the saline solution, which is safe for the eyes, it also has cleaning compounds.  These cleaning compounds are the part that can really hurt your eyes. 

What Happens If You Get Contact Solution in Your Eye?


The Tear Film in your eye consists of three layers. The outer oil layer is responsible for keeping the moisture in the other layers from evaporating.  

When you think about contact solutions and any kind of solution with a cleaning component, it is made to break down things like oil and other organic material and disinfect your contact lenses. The purpose is to make sure the contacts are clean enough to enter your eyes.  If you are consistently using this cleaning mixture as eye drops, you will soon damage your tear film, which will end up drying your eyes out and cause a lot of eye irritation and pain. 

What Are the Best Eye Drops to Use?

Whether you wear contacts or not, rewetting drops are the best for your eyes.  They support the tear film on your eyes and keep them hydrated the longest.  If you are continually experiencing dry, red, itchy eyes, rewetting or lubricating drops are your best option.

It’s essential to properly care for your contact lenses by using the appropriate cleaning or hydrating solutions. Schedule an eye exam to learn more about healthy vision habits.


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