The 7 Best Red Eye Drops of 2021


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Blame it on your allergies, your contacts, or your constantly staring smartphone – whatever the reason, eye redness occurs and sometimes you need a little help to turn the whites of your eyes white again. .

The only problem is, you don't want to rely too heavily on over-the-counter eye drops to treat redness , as overuse can create more serious problems.

"The most important thing for patients to know before using anti-redness drops for red eye treatment is that they are not actually addressing the root cause of their symptoms," says Jennifer Klinger, MD, optometrist at Clarkson Eyecare. In St. Louis, Missouri. … "The redness relief drops provide a quick fix by constricting the blood vessels, resulting in a whiter appearance [but after use] the eye becomes addicted to the drug."

According to Dr. Klinger, this can cause what's called rebound redness, an effect that dilates the blood vessels and makes the eyes appear redder.

Red eye drops should be used with caution and it is important to explore other options to get to the root of your symptoms . But with the plethora of eye drop options on the shelves, it can be difficult to choose the one that is right for you.

Here are the best red eye drops on the market today.

Our top picks

Whiten the eyes without causing a rebound effect.

It works at the same time for a variety of reasons that cause "red eyes".

Exclusive Liquid Shield technology targets three layers of tear film to enhance eye hydration.

It does not contain any pharmaceutical ingredients, so it will not harm the lenses.

It combines an antihistamine and anti-redness agent to help combat severe itching and redness.

A powerful daily remedy for itchy red eyes.

Formulated to relieve irritation and rebalance your natural tears.

When your eyes look redder than normal, it is due to a tumor in a small network of blood vessels in the whites of your eyes. It can be caused by a number of problems: fatigue, irritation, allergies, and dryness, to name just a few. Therefore, the vast majority of eye drops that relieve redness use decongestant ingredients that shrink inflamed blood vessels.

This works great as long as you don't wear them for more than a few days and don't suffer from rebound redness.

'The more you use [vasoconstrictor] eye drops, the more you will feel that your eyes will depend on them; when the constriction subsides, the blood vessels temporarily dilate even more than before using the eye drops, ”explains Kathleen Dass, MD, an allergist and immunologist in private practice in Michigan.

Fortunately, there is an eye drop on the market that bleaches the eyes without Inductive rebound effect: Bausch + Lumify Lomba. These drops reduce redness without decongesting the ingredients and are instead based on brimonidine tartrate, a solution that can reduce pressure in the eyes and cause blood vessels to constrict. As a result, you get eye drops that you can use every six to eight hours as needed to eliminate red eyes without worrying about your symptoms getting worse in the future.

Active ingredient: 0.025 percent brimonidine tartrate | Dose: 1 drop in the affected eyes every 6-8 hours, but no more than 4 times a day | Use: remedy for redness.


  • May cause a rebound effect

  • It doesn't last all day

When you just need a quick and fleeting red-eye reduction, you can't beat the original "take off the red!" brand: Visine. Visine Redness Relief Drops work right away for a variety of causes of red eyes, whether it's screen overuse, fatigue, or exposure to allergens. You can use them up to four times a day, but be sure to only do it one or two days at a time, this can cause a terrible rebound effect.

However, it is worth noting that while most eye drops containing vasoconstrictors are based on naphazoline HCl, Vizin uses another decongestant, tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride. Both are vasoconstrictors, but if you are allergic to naphazoline or for some other reason want to avoid it, you may appreciate that Visine offers an alternative.

Active ingredient: 0.05% tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride | Dosage: 1-2 drops in the affected eye (s) up to 4 times a day | Use: remedy for redness.

Ophthalmologists generally agree that finding the root cause of the redness is the best course of action, so if the redness is caused by too dry eyes , it is advisable to treat it. the first problem. With exclusive Liquid Shield technology, Rohto's advanced anti-dry formula targets three layers of tear film to enhance eye hydration.

What we love about these dry eye drops is that they are for hydration and hydration only. This means there is no risk of redness rebound and you may not have to reapply them to fix your red eye problem as dryness is one of the main causes of red eyes in the first place.

Active ingredients: povidone 0.68 percent, propylene glycol 0.3 percent | Dose: 1-2 drops in the affected eye (s) as needed | Use: remedy for dryness, restores the tear film.

Sure, contact lenses are a huge technological advance that allows people with poor vision to not wear glasses, but they can also be a real hassle to care for , clean, and wear, especially if your eyes tend to be dry. or sensitive.

"Patients should avoid [red eye drops] if they wear contact lenses," advises Dr. Klinger. 'Contact will absorb medications and preservatives, which can cause redness, irritation and even pupil dilation; when this happens, patients can have blurred vision and become sensitive to light. "

So what to do about red eyes if you wear contact lenses ? Focus on keeping your eyes blemished with something like Clear Eyes Multi-Stage Relief Drops. These lubricating drops not only moisturize and remove irritating particles, but are specially formulated for use with contact lenses. And since they don't contain any pharmaceutical ingredients, they won't harm your lenses, either.

Active ingredients: No | Dose: 1-2 drops in the affected eye (s) as needed | Application: Elimination of dryness, itching and irritation for contact lens wearers.

Sometimes your eyes sting from seasonal or environmental allergens, but other times, dryness or contact irritation from a new makeup or shampoo can be the cause.

Regardless of the reason, if your itchy eyes are also red and irritated, you need a product with a remedy for redness and antihistamine drug . Opcon-A allergy eye drops contain both substances in concentrations high enough to combat the severe itching and redness around you. They can fight allergens of all shapes and sizes and can be used up to four times a day.

Disadvantages? They contain a decongestant, so use them sparingly, and their shorter periods of relief can cause pain if you wear contact lenses that need to be removed each time you want to reapply the drops.

Active Ingredients: Naphazoline HCl 0.02675%, Pheniramine Maleate 0.315% | Dosage: 1-2 drops in the affected eye (s) up to 4 times a day | Use: Itching and redness caused by seasonal allergies or environmental allergies.

How do you know if an allergy is causing your itchy eyes and not something else, like pink eye or a stubborn irritant?

'In allergic conjunctivitis , both eyes are generally red and irritated in response to the allergen,' says Dr. Dass, 'while the infection is usually associated with crusting of the eyelashes, mucus production, and possibly puffiness around the eyes [ only in one eye] ".

So once you've narrowed it down to allergies, the next step is figuring out how to treat them. An ongoing eye allergy should not be treated with eye drops that contain a vasoconstrictor ingredient (although you can choose this route if you've had a one-time exposure to the allergen, such as visiting a friend with a cat or riding in a smoker's car).

However, for daily relief, Zaditor Antihistamine Eye Drops can be used, which are a powerful remedy for all the itchiness caused by the red-eye effect. Since there is no risk of relapse, you can rely on these drops, which contain the antihistamine ketotifen , daily to ease allergic eye conditions while saying goodbye to red eyes.

Active ingredient: ketotifen 0.025 percent | Dose: 1 drop in the affected eyes twice a day (every 8-12 hours), no more than two doses in 24 hours | Usage: itching and irritation caused by seasonal or environmental allergies.


  • May cause a rebound effect

Despite how often allergies and irritations can cause watery eyes, there aren't really many eye drops that target watery eyes as a specific symptom. (This may be because dryness is often the cause of irritation, which means you need more, not less, hydration.)

Either way, if you're tired of looking like you've been crying all day due to redness and excessive moisture, Clear Eyes Complete 7 Symptom Relief can help you solve both problems (as well as hardness, burning, and dryness). . With a vasoconstrictor and three other ingredients designed to relieve irritation and rebalance your natural tears, you can be sure that these drops will return your eyes to their normal appearance in no time.

Active ingredients: hypromellose 0.20 percent, naphazoline HCl 0.025 percent, polysorbate 80 0.50 percent, zinc sulfate 0.25% | Dose: 1-2 drops in the affected eye (s) up to four times a day | Use: redness, itching, burning, roughness, tearing, irritation and dryness.

Final verdict

For an all-in-one flagship remedy for redness, use Bausch + Lomb's Lumify Redness Reliever Eye Drops (see on Amazon ) (Bonus: they don't cause rebound symptoms!). If your eyes are red and itchy, and you need quick relief from both symptoms, Opcon-A allergy eye drops (see on Amazon ) contain an antihistamine and a vasoconstrictor. Contact lens wearers should be more careful with anti-redness drops, but they can combat many causes of redness by treating their eyes with Clear Eyes Multi-Action Relief Eye Drops (see Amazon ).

What to look for for red eye drops

Decongestant or not?

Typically, the active ingredient in eye drops that fights redness is naphazoline HCl, a decongestant that narrows the blood vessels in the eyes to make them appear less red. Most redness relief products include a vasoconstrictor; only Lumify contains an alternative ingredient, brimonidine tartrate, to make your eyes less red. But you can also opt for eye drops that treat the cause of redness, soothe dry eyes with artificial tears, or lubricant and antihistamine drops for allergic eyes.

Frequency of use

While decongestants are good at reducing redness, they shouldn't be used every day. If you have chronic red eyes, you should use something like Lumify, which generally has no rebound effect, or non-decongestant eye drops, designed to treat the symptoms they cause. redness (such as dryness, itching, and irritation). If red eyes are rare, you can use drops with a decongestant, but be sure to stop taking them after a day or two.

Dosing time

Especially important for contact lens wearers, you should consider how often it is recommended to use or apply eye drops. Eye drops that relieve redness should not be used while the lenses are in the eye; Generally, you need to apply drops and wait 10 minutes before inserting your contact details. This is not a step that you want to repeat throughout the day, so if you wear contact lenses , be sure to choose drops that last at least 12 hours or do not contain active ingredients.

Frequently asked questions

  • The duration of the eye drops to relieve redness depends on the product you buy. Some work for 12 hours, while others can be applied every four to six hours as needed.

    It is important to consider what you need and what is best for you. If you wear contact lenses, you should choose long-acting eye drops, but if you only need a temporary dose of relief, you can feel comfortable choosing a product that works for several hours at a time.

  • Pink eye drops are designed to fight a virus or bacteria that has entered your eye and caused an eye infection. They will reduce the redness in your eyes by treating an infection, but you shouldn't use medicated eye drops just to reduce the redness in your eyes.

    You too Don't use redness-relieving drops to speed recovery from viral conjunctivitis, says Dr. Dass; they can make your symptoms worse. Instead, he recommends the use of artificial tears for additional symptom relief.

What the experts say

'Ironically, anyone looking to get rid of redness effectively should avoid redness relief drops … often redness is the result of dry eye, allergies or infections, [therefore] by addressing the root cause, the patients get relief from their symptoms. and rebound hyperemia can be avoided. "- Jennifer Klinger, MD, optometrist at Clarkson Eyecare in St. Louis, Missouri.

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