What Drops to Use and Not to Use + What Causes Red Eyes


Red Eye Causes and Drops Solutions

Visine and Clear Eyes are the most frequently used eye drops available on the market.  What if I told you that these drops could make your dry eyes worse?  All “redness-reliever” drops do, in fact, remove the redness from your eyes, but your eyes also get addicted to the redness remover, making you rely on the drops even more than before to keep your eyes white.  This is a fantastic marketing technique by those companies! You’re forced to continue purchasing the eye drops to keep your eyes white.

Also, when your eyes are red and irritated, there is usually an underlying cause. Figuring out the cause by seeing a practitioner is always best. Here is a basic guide to why your eyes might feel like they do and what to do about it.  

Allergic Conjunctivitis

This condition will cause intense itching, especially in the corners of the eyes. Eyes will be watery as well. A great over-the-counter drop for itchy eyes is Alaway. Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor if you're still not getting relief with Alaway.

 Alaway on Amazonamazon

Click here to check price of Alaway on Amazon

Dry Eye Syndrome

The most common symptom of dry eye syndrome is burning.  Warm compresses and omega-3’s are a great starting point to get the oils moving and increase the quality of the oil your glands produce.  We also prescribe Heyedrate Eyelid & Lash Cleanser to keep the eyelids clean and functioning properly, which helps dry eye.   Click here to get 20% off your first order of Heyedrate Dry Eye products and get a free eBook about dry eyes.  

If you need a drop, the over-the-counter drop we prescribe the most is Retaine MGD.

ClearCare on Amazonamazon
Click here to check the price of Retaine MGD on Amazon

If you need a prescription drop, talk to your doctor about Xiidra. Also if you feel like you have dry eye, you should always be using an omega-3 supplement.  

Other Dry Eye articles by Dr. Zigler: 4 Tips to Stop Waking Up With Dry, Painful Eyes; Fish Oil for Fighting Dry Eye Inflammation; and What Not To Eat If You Have Dry Eye


Viral Conjunctivitis (what you know as "Pink Eye")

This condition is contagious! You may notice redness, watery eyes, and general discomfort. This may spread from one eye to the other over the course of a few days. There is no treatment for "pink eye" since it is viral. Frustrating, I know!

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Often accompanied by yellow, goopy discharge. Eyelids are often stuck together in the morning. This can be treated by cleaning the eyelids better morning and night.  We use Heyedrate Eyelid & Lash Cleanser both morning and night before washing your face.  You should see an eye care practitioner for an antibiotic with severe discharge or goopiness.  

Contact Lens Complications

There are MANY conditions that fit into this category. Some contact lens complications can be sight threatening. Symptoms are often intense redness, pain, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision. Give your optometrist a call immediately!  

Contact Lens Dryness

If your contact lenses are dry, switching to a more frequent replacement lens, such as daily disposables (lenses that you throw away every day), is best.  If you do not throw your contact lenses away daily, switch to a solution without preservatives, such as ClearCare (please read the use instructions carefully and avoid eye contact). 

Also read the 5 Simple Solutions for Contact Lens Induced Dryness.

 5 Simple Solutions for Contact Lens Induced Drynessamazon

Click here to check the price of ClearCare on Amazon

As you can tell, an exam is essential to make sure you get the correct treatment for red eyes. This does not mean you should call your nearest Urgent Care center...most eye doctors are always on call and would be happy to see you, even on weekends!


Visine, Clear Eyes, Rohto, Maximum Redness Relief - Not convinced? Click here to learn more about why you should never use these drops!

What We Use In Our Clinic:

- Dry Eye Symptoms → Retaine MGD and Heyedrate Lid & Lash Cleanser
- Nighttime Dryness → Retaine PM
- Itchy Eyes → Alaway


One Love,

Dr. Travis Zigler

Dr. Travis Zigler

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sam on November 21 2017 at 08:48PM

Great post!

Dr. Jenna Zigler on April 28 2017 at 03:20PM

Hey VLL,
Every person and every dry eye is different. I would recommend our Omega-3 Dry Eye Formula, especially if you are not already taking a great one. Every dry eye patient should be on them.

VLL on April 28 2017 at 01:22PM

I have extreme dye eye and CANNOT use Rostasis. So, I use the generic form of artificial eye drops at Walmart, 24/7. During Allergy months, a lightly lubricated one in the evening morning. I was given a tube of brand name gel for bedtime but it is just too goopy. Since plugs, drops, glasses, you name it have failed, I live with this condition W/O complaint, but I will not purchase expensive drops because a Dr. told me to.

Dr. Travis Zigler on December 28 2016 at 03:50PM

Hey Marcie,
Visine/Clear Eyes can be used on special occassions when something like this occurs. Just don’t make it a regular occurence to use them.

One Love,
Dr. Travis Zigler

Joan Hendrix on December 23 2016 at 10:45PM

Chronic dry eye. Wear only glasses. Caused by a immune disorder.sjrogens.

marcie on December 22 2016 at 05:07PM

I have meeting tomorrow and have really bad redness in one eye would it be bad to use them just tomorrow? Ive been using a alergy eye drop and its slowly looking better. I just dont want to be self conscious during my meeting tomorrow..

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