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10 Best Preservative-Free Eye Drops

Artificial tears are products designed to help people who suffer from dry eye syndrome (DES). They are generally available as over the counter medicine. There are so many, however, that it can feel quite overwhelming to choose the one that is best for you. In fact, many people end up trying quite a few brands and products before they find one that woks for them. The issue, however, is that this means they are self-medicating and self-diagnosing, which is never a good idea. It is important, therefore, that you have a comprehensive examination to identify whether there is an underlying medical reason for your DES, before you start trying lots of different products.

There are three things you have to ask yourself when it comes to choosing your artificial tears:

  1. Should you use products with or without preservatives?
  2. What is causing your DES? Is it because your tear film is of poor quality, is it because you don’t produce enough tear film, or is it because you have a combination of both?
  3. How bad is your DES?

Concerns About Preservatives in Drops

There has been quite a lot of debate over the safety and benefits of preservatives in artificial tears.

There are pros and cons to both, as the table below highlights.

Pros of Eye Drops with Preservatives Cons of Eye Drops with Preservatives
✔ They prevent the spread of bacteria. ✔ Studies have shown they can cause corneal neurotoxicity.
✔ They last much longer. ✔ They can irritate the eye.
✔ They are often slightly stronger. ✔ They can’t be used as much (no more than four times per day).
✔ They are more affordable.

Overall, medical professionals and ophthalmologists agree that it is better to use preservative-free eye drops whenever possible.

Below is a list of what we believe to be the 10 best ones.

1. NanoTears MXP Forte

  • Instant relief of severe dry eye and Computer Vision Syndrome.
  • Relieves burning, irritation and discomfort due to dryness of the eye or exposure to the wind and sun
  • Nano Technology means less blurring and better adhesion
  • Conveniently packaged in single use vials
  • 2 month supply
  • Save 30%, FREE SHIPPING – $19.95
  • Great for SEVERE dry eye

NanoTears® is designed to address both aqueous dry eye disease and evaporative dry eye disease. NanoTears® uses patented nano-lipid technology to create a clear colloidal lipid solution. The nano-sized lipids (NanoPids®), in both polar and non-polar form, replicate the lipids produced by the Meibomian Gland. Consequently, NanoTears® works to restore and revitalize the lipid layer.

The nano-phased lipid component in NanoTears™ helps lower tear osmolarity by repairing and restoring the surface lipid layer, reducing tear evaporation and allowing for proper aqueous buildup and dilution.

2. NanoTears TF

  • Instant, relief of moderate dry eye and Computer Vision Syndrome.
  • Relieves burning, irritation and discomfort due to dryness of the eye or exposure to the wind and sun
  • Less blurring and better ahesion than other eye drops
  • Conveniently packaged in single use vials
  • 2 month supply
  • Sale: Use Coupon Saves10 to save $10, your total cost is just $18.95 and FREE shipping for Prime members
  • Great for MILD + SEVERE dry eye

Nano-technology dry eye drops are a unique innovation in Dry Eye treatment. Utilizing, nano-technology – tiny clear soothing lipids that revitalize the eyes natural lubrication by restoring the lipid layer of tear film and providing a barrier to tear loss without the blur associated with other drops.  Instant relief for dry eye in seconds.

3. Systane Ultra

  • Offers the ultimate in high performance dry eye therapy
  • Delivers extended protection that lasts
  • Your eyes feel comfortable longer, with fewer interruptions in your day-to-day life
  • Helps your eyes feel lubricated and refreshed.
  • 60 Sterile Vials 0.7 mL each
  • $22.04 ($0.37 / Count) $23.20 Save $1.16 (5%)
  • Great for SEVERE dry eye

Systane Ultra are provided in preservative free vials. They are sterile and doctor recommended. They provide fast symptom relief and offer extended protection. The product, created by Systane, includes breakthrough comfort technology. It is the latest in Dry Eye Syndrome treatment made available by Systane, and the product has been designed to protect the ocular surface. While being provided as a drop, it acts as a gel, providing enhanced lubrication for the eye.

4. TheraTears

  • Offers the ultimate in high performance dry eye therapy
  • Restores Eyes Natural Balance
  • Unique hypotonic and electrolyte balanced formula replicates healthy tears
  • Preservative free in the eye
  • 32 Vials, 0.65 Fl Oz (19.2ml)
  • $26.12 ($0.41 / Count)
  • Great for SEVERE dry eye

TheraTears eye drops become preservative free once they come in contact with the eye. They are sterile and provide the eye with lubrication. It is a highly popular type of drop that uses a patented electrolyte balance. The product has been created after 18 years of research by ophthalmologist Jeffrey P. Gilbard, MD. It works best on people with mild to moderate DES. Every purchase of a TheraTears product supports the Schepens Eye Research Institute, which is committed to fighting painful eye conditions and blindness.

5. Refresh Optive Advanced

  • Recommended For Lasik Dryness after Lasik surgery
  • Long lasting & Preservative free
  • Soothes and protects your eyes from dryness and irritation.
  • 0.01 fl. oz (0.4mL)
  • $33.88 ($16.94 / Item)
  • Great for MILD dry eye

This scientifically advanced lubricant eye drop provides Dry Eye symptom relief through an innovative, triple-action, preservative-free formula. It’s clinically proven to relieve your dry, burning, irritated eyes due to Dry Eye. REFRESH OPTIVE® Advanced Preservative-Free works on all three layers of your tear film to:

6. Soothe Lubricant Eye Drops

  • Ideal for sensitive eyes and post-LASIK dry eye
  • Gentle enough to be used as often as needed
  • Soothes and protects your eyes from dryness and irritation.
  • Preservative free
  • 28-Count Single Use Dispensers (Pack of 2)
  • $21.19 ($529.75 / Fl Oz)
  • Great for MILD dry eye

Bausch + Lomb Soothe Preservative Free Lubricant Eye Drops are clinically proven to soothe dry and irritated eyes. This revolutionary advance in dry eye therapy provides soothing comfort and long lasting lubrication, keeping eyes feeling fresh throughout the day. This unique formula restores the natural moisture balance in your eyes, providing effective, long lasting dry eye relief. And it is preservative-free so it’s gentle enough to use as often as needed.

7. GenTeal Lubricant Eye Drops, Mild to Moderate Dry Eye Relief

As the name suggests, these drops are particularly suitable for those who have mild to moderate DES. Created by pharmaceutical giant Novartis, the drops lubricate the eyes and provide advanced hydration for long lasting, fast relief. They are different due to the addition of genaqua in its formulation, which further protects the eyes. Because it is preservative free, it is safe for long term, frequent use.

See Reviews on this Product: Genteal Eye Drops

8. Bion Tears Lubricant Eye Drops, Single Use Vials

Bion Tears are fully sterile and preservative free. They are a tear substitute that has been created for people who have chronic, severe DES and who require drops that they can use many times during the day. The company suggests that people try the drops for three to four weeks. If, after that period of time, they do not find any relief, they can receive a full refund for their purchases. Bion Tears are also produced by Walgreens, in Korea.

See Reviews on this Product: Bion Tears Lubricant Eye Drops

9. Boiron Optique 1 Eye Drops, Single Use Doses

Boiron believes in making people feel good through better treatment. The company is family run and has existed since 1932, when they started providing homeopathic relief for various illnesses and conditions. They have set themselves apart as a global leader in homeopathic medicine. The Optique 1 eye drops have no known drug interactions, are soothing and refreshing, and can benefit eyes that are tired, burning, red, gritty, itchy, or dry.

See Reviews on this Product: Boiron Optique 1 Eye Drops, Single Use Doses

10. Similasan Dry Eye Relief Sterile Eye Drops

Similasan is another homeopathic, herbal remedy. Some people swear by it and have found a lot of relief from dryness and irritation. Others feel that herbal remedies only promote the placebo effect. On the other hand, even if it is really placebo effect, for those who suffer from dry eyes, the most important thing is to be able to find relief. Simalasan produces a number of targeted eye relief drops, including those for allergies, those for aging eyes, and those for children’s eyes.

See Reviews on this Product: Similasan Dry Eye Relief

These are some of the best eye drops out there that do not contain any preservatives. There are many more, something you would see if you went looking for drops in your local drug store. So long as you know for a fact that you do not have an underlying medical condition, you will, unfortunately, simply have to try a number of those brands until you find one that provides you with the greatest, longest lasting, relief.