My wife wears contact lenses and suffers from dry eyes quite frequently. A few years ago I noticed that the tiny bottles of artificial tears she always carried with her were extremely expensive. For example, she was paying $7.99 for a bottle of drops that contained just one third of an ounce of fluid. If you thought gas was expensive, at almost $24 an ounce for artificial tears, my wife was spending the equivalent of over $3,000 per gallon! Read on to discover an inexpensive alternative to pricey eyedrops.

The cheaper alternative

During a visit to her eye doctor, my wife asked if there was a less expensive alternative to the costly drops in the tiny bottles. Her eye doctor advised her that for most people, common saline solution—those big bottles of saline that are used to rinse and store contact lenses and are sold right next to the eyedrops—can substitute for the tiny and much more expensive bottles of artificial tears.

What’s the difference?

A quick examination of two bottles revealed a surprise: both the saline solution and the artificial tears contained almost exactly the same ingredients! Both contained boric acid, sodium borate, potassium chloride, edetate disodium, sodium chloride (common salt) and purified water. The only difference was that the saline solution used polyaminopropyl biguanide as a disinfectant and preservative, while the artificial tears used benzalkonium chloride for the same result.

The biggest difference between the two was the price. While the artificial tears were priced at $7.99 for one third of an ounce, the saline solution was $3.49 for a 12-ounce bottle. Twelve ounces of the artificial tears would have cost almost $300!

Check with your doctor

While my wife has now successfully switched from artificial tears to saline solution (saving us a TON of money), saline may not be the right answer for everyone. Check with your eye doctor before making a switch, and be sure you ask your doctor if the ingredients in your solution of choice will be safe and effective for your eyes.

This is a guest post by Steve from Riverview, Florida.


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