The 6 Best Preservative-Free Eye Drops for Dry Eyes (2023)

The 6 Best Preservative-Free Eye Drops for Dry Eyes (1)

Table of Contents:

Could You Benefit From an OTC, Preservative-Free Eye Drop?

Hylo-Fresh Eye Drops

Thealoz Duo Eye Drops

Oasis Tears Plus Eye Drops

Systane Ultra Hydration Preservative-Free Drops

Refresh Mega-3 Lipid-Based Drops



Could You Benefit From an OTC, Preservative-Free Eye Drop?

In this article you will learn how preservative-free eye drops can benefit dry eye symptoms, and which drops worked the best for me to find comfort from dry eyes. There is no right answer for what eye drop will work best for you, everyone has an over-the-counter drop that works better for them. Make sure if you are using an eye drop to treat dry eyes multiple times a day, that you choose one that is preservative-free. Extended, and frequent use of drops containing preservatives, can actually dry out your eyes more overtime, and could cause damage to your cornea.

Our tear film is made up of 3 layers, (oil, water, mucus) an imbalance in any one of these layers can lead to dryness, soreness, and other dry eye symptoms. Preservative-free drops can help balance your tear film, by adding artificial tears to help with lubrication, and evaporation of tears.

If you are from the United States, visit my post on more high-quality eyedrops that can benefit your symptoms, that are more readily available in the US here. (Some drops listed below will only ship to Canada)

You can also visit my A-Z eye drop list for a list of all common OTC eye drops available for purchase, and in-depth information about each drop, to find the one that best suits your needs!

Do You Suffer From Dry Eyes?

Read my blog post here to see if you suffer from symptoms of dry eyes, and if you could benefit from the use of preservative-free over the counter drops.

Here are my top 5 preservative-free eye drops, that helped me find relief in my dry eye symptoms!

All eye drops listed below are safe to use with contact lenses

#1 Hylo-Fresh Eye Drops

The 6 Best Preservative-Free Eye Drops for Dry Eyes (2)
(Video) 7 Best Preservative Free Artificial Tears (Dry Eye Drops Explained)

Why Hylo-Fresh Eye Drops?

Hylo-Fresh eye drops contain high levels of sodium hyaluronate which act the same as basal tears. Basal tears are the tears your eyes use naturally for lubrication. This is a safe, natural ingredient that you can use as many times throughout the day as needed. Sodium hyaluronate stays in the tear film for a longer period of time, and can help heal damaged surfaces of the eye.

Hylo-Fresh is one of my go-to drops to use throughout the day. My eyes always feel extremely refreshed and lubricated after using Hylo-Fresh. If I have dryness at work or in the evening, Hylo-Fresh is my go-to lubricant drop. Try adding Hylo-Fresh eye drops to your dry eye routine today, for added lubrication and healing properties.


  • Preservative-Free

  • Stays in the tear film for an extended period

  • Can help heal damaged surfaces of your ocular surface

  • Easy to use, one way valve bottle

Visit my full blog post on Hylo-Fresh eye drops by clicking this link

Where to Purchase Hylo-Fresh Eye Drops?

Shop Hylo-Fresh Eye Drops on Amazon

Shop Hylo-Fresh Eye Drops on Amazon (3 Pack)

Shop Hylo on

#2 Thealoz Duo Eye Drops

The 6 Best Preservative-Free Eye Drops for Dry Eyes (3)

Why Thealoz Duo Eye Drops?

Thealoz Duo Contains trehalose and hyaluronate acid, to help target numerous aspects of dry eye syndrome. Trehalose helps with decreasing ocular surface damage, and protecting the surface of your eye. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. This drop is great at benefiting long and short-term effects of dry eye. Hyaluronate acid will help with lubrication, and hydration.

Thealoz Duo is another one of my personal favourite eye drops to use throughout the day. Between Hylo and Thealoz Duo, I can't decide which one I like more. I usually have both on hand, so I can alternate between them, and get a steady dose of each drops different, quality ingredients. Add Thealoz Duo dry eye drops to your dry eye routine for added lubrication, and to heal and protect the surface of your eyes.


  • Preservative-Free

  • Stays in the tear film for an extended period of time

  • Contains Trehalose to help decrease ocular surface damage, while protecting your eyes from future damage

    (Video) Best Eye Drops for Dry Eyes - Eye Drops Explained

  • Trehalose also contains anti-inflammatory properties

Visit my blog post on Thealoz Duo eye drops by clicking this link

Where to Purchase Thealoz Duo?

Shop Thealoz Duo on Amazon

Shop Thealoz Duo on Amazon x3

Shop Thealoz Duo On

#3 Oasis Tears Plus

The 6 Best Preservative-Free Eye Drops for Dry Eyes (4)

Why Oasis Tears Plus Eye Drops?

Oasis Tear eye drops are very moisturizing. They come out thick and keep tears on the surface of your eye for a long period of time. Oasis Tears come in single-use vials, making them convenient to take with you on the go. Just like Hylo, Oasis Tears contain sodium hyaluronate which is known to relieve dryness and soreness.

These eye drops also contain glycerin and sodium chloride for added moisturizing and healing benefits. For intense-lubrication try Oasis Tears Plus Preservative-Free eye drops!


  • Preservative-Free

  • Single-Use vials making them convenient to take place

  • Intense lubrication

  • Multiple quality ingredients

  • Thick enough that they can also make for an effective overnight eye drop

Visit my full blog post on Oasis Tears Plus eye drops by clicking this link

Where to Purchase Oasis Tears Plus Eye Drops?

Purchase Oasis Tears Plus Eye Drops on

#4 Systane Ultra Hydration (Best Budget Preservative Free Lubricant Drop)

The 6 Best Preservative-Free Eye Drops for Dry Eyes (5)
(Video) Best Dry Eye Drops – Top 5 Over The Counter Eye Drops for Dry Eyes Recommended by Eye Surgeon

Why Systane Ultra Hydration Preservative-Free?

Systane Ultra drops are the best budget lubricant eye drops that you can buy, that are preservative-free. I started using Systane Ultra preservative-free when I first began my dry eye journey. They worked great at helping my eyes feel lubricated and refreshed for an extended period of time. I eventually switched to more expensive drops, to get the added benefits of healing properties and ingredients to protect the surface of my eyes. However, if all you need is lubrication, Systane Ultra preservative-free eye drops work great, and are a great price. You can use my Ebay link below to get 2 boxes for only $15! (25 vials ea)


  • Preservative-Free

  • Amazing price for preservative-free eye drop

  • Comes in single-use vials, making them easy to take travelling

  • Works great at lubricating your eyes

Visit my blog post on Systane Hydration Preservative-Free eye drops by clicking this link

Where to Purchase Systane Ultra Preservative Free?

Purchase Systane Ultra Preservative-Free on Amazon (Pack of 60 Vials)

Shop Systane Ultra Preservative-Free on Amazon ( 2 Pack of 60 Vials)

#5 Refresh Mega-3 Lipid Eye Drops

The 6 Best Preservative-Free Eye Drops for Dry Eyes (6)

Why Refresh Mega-3 With Flaxseed Oil?

This was one of the best eye drops that I used to improve the lipid layer of my tear film. Refresh Mega-3 is the only drop that I have found to contain natural flax seed. With this great blend of natural oils, Refresh Mega-3 helps support the lipid layer of your tear film, and keep tears from evaporating. These drops are great for anyone suffering from MGD. View MGD symptoms here.

Refresh Mega-3 also features hydro cell technology which maintain the volume of cells on the ocular surface, while creating hydration. They come in single-use vials, making Refresh Mega-3 easy to take with you when going places.


  • Preservative-Free

  • Great drop to benefit MGD and the lipid layer of your tear film

  • Contains a blend of natural oils that help stabilize your tear film due to MGD

  • Low blur formula

    (Video) Best Dry Eye Drops - My Top 3 Artificial Tears Eye Drops

Visit my blog post on Refresh Mega-3 eye drops by clicking this link

Where to Purchase Refresh Mega-3?

Shop Refresh Mega-3 Eye Drops on

Shop Refresh-Mega-3 on Amazon (Single Box)

Shop Refresh-Mega-3 on Amazon (Pack of 3)


The 6 Best Preservative-Free Eye Drops for Dry Eyes (7)

Why I-Drop MGD?

I-Drop MGD is another great drop for MGD. This eye drop contains superior osmoprotectants and bioprotectants that help enhance and stabilize the lipid layer, while reducing tear evaporation. I-Drop MGD is also great for hydrating, and lubricating the cornea. Add this drop to your routine if you suffer from MGD, and want a drop that helps stabilize, and enhance the lipid layer. Combines the advantages of viscoadaptive hyaluronan and a low molecular weight glycerin to give you superior long-lasting comfort.

(This eye drop can be hard to find outside of Canada, Retaine MGD is a great alternative if you live in the United States.)


  • Preservative-Free

  • Contains superior osmoprotectants and bioprotectants

  • Combines hydrating properties of 2 high-quality ingredients

  • Blink-activated re-coating

Where to Purchase I-Drop MGD?

Purchase I-Drop MGD On


Try to add one of these preservative-free dry eye drops to your dry eye routine today! They can help not only lubricate your eyes, but protect, and heal your ocular surface as well.

If you would like more information on how you can add these preservative-free drops into your dry eye routine, visit My Program. My program will help you build these products into a daily dry eye routine, so you can get the most benefits out of them, and use them in conjunction with other dry eye products, for added relief.

(Video) Dry Eyes? START HERE. 3 Best treatments for dry eyes in 2023 | Ophthalmologist @MichaelRChuaMD

If you are from the United States, visit my post on more high quality eye drops that can benefit your symptoms, that are more readily available in the US here. (Some eye drops listed will only ship to Canada)

I hope one of these preservative-free eye drops can help you improve your dry eye symptoms! Good luck in finding relief!


What is the best treatment for very dry eyes? ›

Over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops, like artificial tears, and prescription eye drops, like Restasis (cyclosporine) and Xiidra (lifitegrast), are effective treatments for dry eye. Home remedies for dry eyes include avoiding wind and smoke, using a humidifier, and doing eyelid scrubs or warm compresses.

Is preservative-free eye drops better for dry eyes? ›

The preservatives may irritate your eyes, especially if you have moderate or severe dry eyes. Preservative-free eye drops. This type has fewer additives and is generally recommended if you apply artificial tears more than four times a day, or if you have moderate or severe dry eyes.

Which Systane eye drops are best for dry eyes? ›

While SYSTANE Ultra is designed for dry eye with aqueous deficient patients, SYSTANE Balance lubricant eye drops are designed specifically for patients with dry eye associated with Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.

What eye drops do ophthalmologists recommend? ›

Over-the-counter Eye Drops
  • Systane Complete Eye Drops ($11,
  • Ocusoft Retaine MGD Ophthalmic Emulsion ($23,
  • Refresh Optive Advanced Lubricant Eye Drops ($14,
  • Refresh Optive Mega-3 Preservative Free Eye Drops ($17,
  • Refresh P.M. Lubricant Eye Ointment ($12,
Dec 30, 2022

Which is better Systane or Refresh? ›

Refresh has an average rating of 5.5 out of 10 from a total of 2 ratings on 50% of reviewers reported a positive effect, while 50% reported a negative effect. Systane has an average rating of 2.1 out of 10 from a total of 108 ratings on

What is the newest treatment for dry eye? ›

Plugs. For people who have aqueous deficient dry eye disease, an ophthalmologist can insert a tiny plug into your tear-drainage duct. Placed in the inner corner of each eyelid, a plug blocks tear drainage and helps your eyes retain moisture. It's a quick procedure that takes place in your doctor's office.

How do you permanently get rid of dry eyes naturally? ›

Relieving dry eyes naturally
  1. Protect your eyes. ...
  2. Consume a healthy diet including Omega 3. ...
  3. Boost your vitamin A, B12, and D levels. ...
  4. Control blood sugar levels. ...
  5. Lubricating eye drops/ Artificial tears. ...
  6. Stay hydrated. ...
  7. Avoid alcohol. ...
  8. Quit smoking.
Jun 1, 2020

What makes dry eyes worse? ›

Whether it's on your desktop, laptop or phone, staring at screens lowers your blink rate. Blinking less often is problematic because blinking is necessary to spread your tear film across your eyeballs, so less frequent blinking means dryer, more aggravated eyes.

How long can you use preservative free eye drops? ›

Preservative-free eye drops shouldn't be used longer than 24 hours after a single-use vial has been opened. But it's best to use them immediately after opening a vial.

How often can you use preservative free eye drops for dry eyes? ›

Preservative-free artificial tears don't feature preservatives, so you can use them as many times as you like throughout the day. Because they lack preservatives, these eye drops typically expire faster. Ensure your artificial tears are still usable before adding any to your eyes.

Which Lubricating Eye Drops have no preservatives? ›

SYSTANE® HYDRATION Preservative-Free Eye Drops

Long-lasting hydration helps restore moisture to dry eyes with the soothing, preservative-free relief of HydroBoost technology.

Which is better for dry eyes systane Ultra or systane complete? ›

A: I tried both and Systane Ultra is much better. The Complete didn't help at all with dry eyes.

How many times a day can you use Systane eye drops for dry eyes? ›

Over the counter eye drops such as Systane Complete are typically used as needed up to four times a day or as recommended by your Eye Doctor. There are many different forms of dry eye so you should talk to your Eye Doctor if you feel like you need to use it more than three times a day.

When should you not use Systane eye drops? ›

You should not use an Systane if you are allergic to it. This medicine will not treat or prevent an eye infection. Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use Systane if you have any type of infection in your eye. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Which company eye drops are best? ›

Check Eye Drops Supplier List
  • List of Top 10 Eye Drops Manufacturer in India. Pace Biotech:
  • S. G. Biopharm Pvt. Ltd.: Flagship Biotech International Pvt. Ltd: Jawa Pharmaceuticals (INDIA) Pvt. Ltd.: Grevis Pharmaceutical: Maya Biotech Pvt. Ltd.: Aishwarya Lifescience: Sunways (India) Pvt Ltd: Kilitch Healthcare:

What is the newest FDA eye drop? ›

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has recently approved an eye drop that can replace glasses. This drug is called Vuity and it claims to improve age-related near-vision.

How do you unblock oil glands in your eyes? ›

The triad of heating, cleaning and massaging will help the oily glands to function better. You can heat the glands with, for instance, a warm compress using warm tap water and makeup removal pads. You place them over your closed eyelids for two to three minutes and then repeat two more times.

What is the best brand of artificial tears? ›

Best preservative-free: Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops

This company markets this product as being a doctor-recommended brand of artificial tears. It offers extended relief for dry, irritated, burning, stinging, scratchy, and tired eyes. The product may also help alleviate blurry vision.

What are the side effects of Systane Ultra? ›

Other side effects of Systane Ultra
  • Blurred vision.
  • eye redness or discomfort or other irritation not present before use of this medicine.
  • increased sensitivity of eyes to light.
  • matting or stickiness of eyelashes.
  • swelling of eyelids.
  • watering of eyes.
Dec 23, 2022

Is it OK to use systane every day? ›

How many times a day can I use my SYSTANE® BALANCE? You can use it as needed. We recommend 1-2 drops per eye per use.

What can an ophthalmologist do for dry eyes? ›

Stop Dry Eye by Saving Tears

Your ophthalmologist may suggest blocking your tear ducts. This makes your natural tears stay in your eyes longer. Tiny silicone or gel plugs (called punctal plugs) may be inserted in your tear ducts. These plugs can be removed later as needed.

How much vitamin D for dry eye? ›

The results suggest that a daily dose of 5,000 IU may improve dry eye symptoms. However, more research is required to ascertain the recommended dose and whether the benefits continue with long-term use.

What vitamins help dry eyes? ›

Supplements for Dry Eye
  • Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for your health; a deficiency can even lead to dry eyes due to inadequate moisture production. ...
  • Fish Oil. ...
  • Vitamin C. ...
  • Flaxseed Oil. ...
  • Cod Liver Oil. ...
  • Zinc. ...
  • Vitamin D. ...
  • Lutein & Zeaxanthin.
Jul 13, 2021

Do dry eyes ever go away? ›

Dry eye is a chronic condition. It doesn't have a cure, but treatments can help manage your symptoms. You may have to try several different treatments to find what works best for you.

Does drinking more water help dry eyes? ›

As a symptom of dehydration, the best treatment for dry eye is rehydrating by drinking plenty of water. Eye drops can also help alleviate the symptoms by lubricating the eye and washing away foreign materials.

What time of day is dry eye worse? ›

The main symptoms are inflamed, dry, red and sore eyes. These symptoms may be worse in the morning because not blinking at night results in the glands becoming more blocked, and the vital oil layer of the tears dissipates while you sleep.

Can you use too much preservative free eye drops? ›

Answer: Can't overuse most of the time

There are rare cases where even preservative free drops can be overused, but most of the time the answer is no.

Are preservative free eye drops worth it? ›

Are preservative-free eye drops the best option? Preservative-free formulations have been shown to significantly improve symptoms in patients with severe dry eye disease while showing little to no adverse effects. However, they come in single-use vials and are more expensive than multidose products.

How many times a day can you use Systane Ultra? ›

Usually, drops may be used as often as needed. Ointments are usually used 1 to 2 times daily as needed. If using an ointment once a day, it may be best to use it at bedtime. To apply eye ointment/drops/gels: Wash hands first.

Can you use too much eye drops for dryness? ›

Risks of Overusing Eye Drops

When overusing eye drops you can run the risk of: Washing away your natural tears. Artificial tears feel great as they lubricate your eyes and help with insufficient tear production. But overuse can literally wash away the natural moisturizers and your natural tears that protect your eyes.

When is the best time to put eye drops in? ›

Use eye drops before bed

If you frequently experience dry eyes in the morning, apply eyedrops to your eyes each night before bed. Also, certain types of lubricating eye drops or ointments are best used before bedtime because they're thicker and can blur your vision.

What is the most natural eye lubricant? ›

Castor oil is a great example of homemade eye drops for dry eyes. Many store brand eye drops contain castor oil. Using an eye drop, place one drop of castor oil in each eye. Repeat multiple times a day to keep them moisturized and the redness down.

What are the side effects of refresh tears? ›

Side Effects of Refresh Tears Eye Drops 10 ml
  • Irritation in eye.
  • Continued eye redness.
  • Pain in eye.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Redness of the eye.

What ingredients should you avoid in eye drops? ›

Avoid These Common Chemicals
  • BAK (Benzalkonium chloride) This preservative is commonly found in many eye drops, eyeliners, mascaras, makeup removers, and face washes. ...
  • Formaldehyde (quaternium-15) ...
  • Parabens. ...
  • Phenoxyethanol.
Jun 30, 2020

How long can I use Systane Ultra? ›

Systane® ULTRA PRESERVATIVE-FREE (10mL) can be used for 3 months after opening as long as the product has not expired.

How long do systane ultra drops last? ›

Systane® ULTRA can be used for 6 months after opening as long as the product has not expired. Always check the label for the expiration date.

Which Systane is preservative-free? ›

SYSTANE® COMPLETE PF is preservative-free, ideal for sensitive eyes. Do SYSTANE® COMPLETE PF eye drops have preservatives? No.

Is it safe to use eye drops daily for dry eyes? ›

The preservatives in these eye drops may cause more harm than good. Many optometrists don't recommend using artificial tears with preservatives more than 4 times a day—the chemicals inside these preservatives can worsen your dry eye symptoms.

Should I use eye drops everyday for dry eyes? ›

“Unless you've been directed to use over-the-counter eye drops by your doctor, you shouldn't be using them on a daily basis. They aren't meant for long-term eye care, but they can certainly provide relief while you're searching for the reason for your condition,” he explains.


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