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Lubricating and Rewetting Eye Drops – What’s the Diff?

Rewetting eye drops and lubricating eye drops for contact lenses are normally used in place of each other. However, there is a significant difference between the two. Usually, pharmaceutical brands will market both eye drops using the same name whereas other brands will showcase different benefits. In this article, we will outline the difference between rewetting eye drops and lubricating eye drops, rewetting drops vs eye drops vs contact solution vs artificial tears, and more for your understanding. We will also share the main purpose that both are able to serve. Ready? Let’s dive in.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Choosing the Right Type of Eye Drops

It is advisable to choose the correct eye drops wisely as not all of them are suitable for contact lenses. Some eye drops contain a certain amount of oil which has a fairly thick consistency. When an oil-based eye drop pairs with contact lenses, the lenses will turn cloudy which leads to a hazy vision.

Despite the wide variety of eye drops available in most stores, rewetting eye drops or artificial tears mainly keeps the eyes moist when contact lenses are in use. They must never be confused with contact lens solutions, that is only used to disinfect contact lenses.

Rewetting and Lubricating Eye Drops for Contact Lenses

rewetting drops for contacts

Rewetting drops vs artificial tears… which does what? As stated in the name itself, both rewetting and lubricating eye drops provide ease and comfort when contact lenses are overworn.

Rewetting Eye Drops

If you were to purchase rewetting eye drops for contact lenses, it should come with a ‘for contact lenses’ label.  Rewetting eye drops provide an extra boost of moisture for most contact lenses. However, rewetting eye drops usually work for different purposes.

For example, one of the many types of rewetting eye drop is Systane Ultra. They provide a layer of coating on the lens’ surface, giving your eyes that extra comfort it needs. Sodium hyaluronate, on the other hand, binds the water content in your tear film to keep it from evaporating.

Lubricating Eye Drops

Also known as artificial tears, lubricating eye drops come in two different categories.

One is eye drops with preservatives. This type of lubricating eye drop can discourage bacterial growth. Users with severe or moderately dry eyes may feel a slight irritation when they use this particular type of eye drop.

The other one is preservative-free eye drops. These are more effective when applied at least three times a day, especially if you have moderate to severe dry eyes. Preservative-free eye drops have fewer additives too.

Eye lubricant also creates a favorable environment for contact lenses. They are used before putting on and after removing contact lenses, in order to help soothe strained eyes. We hope this clears up the confusion between rewetting drops vs artificial tears.


Rewetting Drops vs Lubricating Eye Drops vs Multipurpose Solution

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Not all eye drops work the same way. The visual below illustrates the main differences between rewetting eye drops vs lubricating eye drops vs multipurpose solutions. These points will be able to help you make an informed decision before purchasing any kind of eye drop or contact lens solution.

rewetting drops vs artificial tears
Comparison between lubricating and rewetting eye drops, as well as multipurpose solution – purpose, usage and more.

Can Multipurpose Solution Replace Rewetting Drops for Contact Lenses?

Rewetting drops vs contact solution – there is a vast difference between the two. Multipurpose solution for contact lenses is a type of disinfectant. It fights against the accumulation of microorganisms, fat or protein layers, and other debris caused by environmental pollution. It can also soak the contact lenses when you are not wearing them.

Multipurpose solution also helps to clear out any irritants. At the same time, it rehydrates your eyes by providing an ample supply of moisture. This will also form a barrier between the contact lens and the tear film that prevents dryness that is usually caused by evaporation of tears.

When it comes to rewetting drops vs contact solution – which do you think is more suitable for moisturizing?

Expiration of Eye Drops

All eye drops can be used for 28 to 30 days tops, once the packaging is opened up. Eye drops expire because the preservative it contains loses efficacy after the said period of time. However, there are certain brands of rewetting, lubricating, and cleaning eye drops that can last up to 90 days. These types of drops are also able to soothe your eyes, provide immediate relief from minor redness, inflammation, scratching, and prevent blurred vision.


No matter the situation that you are in, water should never be an option when it comes to moisturizing your eyes. Do not even think of soaking and rinsing your contact lenses in water. Contact lenses can be soaked temporarily in a saline solution which is made of distilled water and table salt.

If you are going through symptoms like redness or itchiness due to dry eyes, please do not tolerate the pain or discomfort. Getting the right eye drops for your eyes can help you relieve discomfort. on top of that, you can wear your contact lenses comfortably all day long.

If you are still not sure about what type of eye drops for contact lenses you should go for, start by browsing our online store. We offer both eye drops and solutions that best suit your needs. Head over to our online store now!

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