Red Alert: Eye drop shopping guide

Which eye drops contain harmful ingredients?

This list attempts to identify which of the commonly available over-the-counter eye drops from the major brands contain the preservative benzalkonium chloride and/or redness reliever ingredients. Almost all redness relievers (a/k/a decongestant or vasoconstrictor) cause rebound hyperemia. BAK (benzalkonium chloride) is toxic to the cornea and conjunctiva.

This is not a list of lubricant drops. Please click here for our lubricants guide.

We recommend that drops in red print should be used cautiously and for limited periods, or avoided altogether if there's any danger you might get them confused with drops that are good for long term use. They should not be used repeatedly for prolonged periods - and while that is stated (sort of) on the packaging, the instructions and warnings are frequently unclear at best.

We recommend that anyone suffering from lasting or recurring eye irritations visit an eye doctor for diagnosis and treatment and ask for guidance on appropriate over-the-counter products for their needs.

NOTE TO THE MANUFACTURERS of the drops with an X in the BAK column: Please provide preservative free options that are safer for us.

 Product

BAD BAK
(benzalkonium chloride)
Read more....

Redness relievers, astringents
Read more...

BAUSCH & LOMB
Lumify
X*
Opcon-A X X
Alaway X -
Soothe Long Lasting Hydration
X -
Advanced Eye Relief Dry Eye Lubricant Eye Drops
X -
ALCON
Zaditor X -
Naphcon-A
X X
VISINE BRAND
Visine Original Redness Relief X
X
Visine Advanced Redness and Irritation Relief
X
X
Visine Maximum Strength Redness Relief 
X
X
Visine Totality
X
X
VISINE A.C. Ultra Itchy Eye Relief
X
X
VISINE-A MULTI-ACTION EYE ALLERGY Relief
X
X
Visine Tired Eye Dry Eye Relief - -
Visine Dry Eye Relief X -
Visine All Day Comfort Dry Eye Relief - -
Visine for Contacts Lubricating Rewetting Drops - -
CLEAR EYES BRAND
CLEAR EYES PURE RELIEF® FOR DRY EYES
- -
CLEAR EYES PURE RELIEF® Multi-Symptom
-
X
Clear Eyes Redness Relief X X
Clear Eyes Maximal Redness Relief
X
X
Clear Eyes Maximal Itchy Eye Relief
X
X
Clear Eyes Complete 7 Symptom Relief -
X
Clear Eyes Triple Action
X
X
Clear Eyes Cooling Comfort Redness Relief
X
X
Clear Eyes Cooling Comfort Itchy Eye Relief
X
X
Clear Eyes Contact Lens Multi-Action Relief - -
ROHTO BRAND
Rohto Dry-Aid - -
Rohto Ice - X
Rohto Cool Max X X
Rohto Cool X X
*Note: Lumify is believed to not be associated with rebound redness.