Thera tears vs Refresh Optive – Finding your way in the Eye-drops Jungle!

Lost in the jungle of eye-drop brands in the market? A Thera tears vs Refresh Optive comparison will provide just enough light for your next step!

I started using anti-histamines to counter sinus symptoms in campus. It enabled me lead a relatively stress-free life, so I thought. 10 years later, I still use them, but that’s not the point. I recently started experiencing constant eye irritation, burning sensation, and persistent grittiness feeling in the eyes. I checked online and discovered they are all dry eye symptoms that can be relieved by eye drops. However, there are so many brands of eye drops, I am ‘lost’ in them. If you are also in some part of this jungle, come let’s see if this Thera tears vs Refresh Optive study will help ‘find’ us!

What are the differences between Thera tears and Refresh Optive? How do they compare?

Comparison Chart of Thera tears and Refresh Optive

Eye drop
Thera tears
Refresh Optive
Available in 15ml and 30ml in convenient multi-use bottles
Available in 15ml single and twin packs in convenient multi-use bottles and also in vials
Preservative-free in the eye
Both preserved and non-preserved
I or 2 drops as needed
I or 2 drops as needed
Active Ingredient
Sodium carboxymethylcellulose 0.25% (Lubricant)
Sodium carboxymethylcellulose 0.5% (Lubricant)and Glycerin 0.9% (Moisturizer)
Inactive ingredient unique to eyedrop
Dequest, sodium bicarbonate, sodium perborate, sodium phosphate, sodium chloride
Erythritol, Levocarnitine (osmoprotectants) , sodium borate, sodium citrate, Purite (preservative)
Lubricant for relief of dry eye symptoms, including those as a result of exposure to the sun and wind. It’s also a protectant against continued eye irritation.
For temporary relief of irritation, discomfort and burning because of dry eyes or exposure to wind and sun

Thera tears vs Refresh Optive – How do they compare?


Thera tears is packaged in both the 15ml and the 30ml convenient multi-use bottles. On the other hand Refresh optive, comes in multi-use bottles of 15ml single; 15ml twin pack (2 in 1), and a non-preserved pack which holds 60 vials.


Thera tear’s unique preservative disintegrates to oxygen and water when it reaches the tear film. This eliminates sensitivity or allergic reactions caused by other preservatives.

Refresh Optive has both preserved and non-preserved solutions. It is unfortunate that an increasing number of people experience allergic reactions to preservatives used in eye drops. All the same, preservatives are important because they kill pathogens so keep both the solution and bottle safe for long. They also make the preserved eye drops cheap. Furthermore, many people are not affected by them, so companies still make them. A person’s sensitivity or the severity of their dry eye condition determines whether they can use preserved eye drops.


The active ingredient in Thera tears is Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose, a lubricant that works by changing the composition of compromised tears in dry eye patient, to match that of the natural tear. Thera tears uses Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose at 0.25%. Refresh Optive has 2 active ingredients: Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose at 0.5% and Glycerin at 0.9%. Glyerin is a moisturizer.

Thera tears has dequest (a chelant which probably also helps form the special preservative), sodium bicarbonate and sodium perborate (pH balancers), in its non-active ingredients. These 3 ingredients are not present in Refresh Optive. Similarly Refresh Optive has Purite (a preservative) – in the preserved eye drops. Other inactive ingredients not found in Thera tears include Erythritol and Levocarnitine which are osmoprotectants – they help balance osmotic pressure (concentration or saltiness). This action is also undertaken by Thera tear’s pH balancing ingredients.

How Thera tears and Refresh Optive Compare – A Quick Round-up

Thera tears

TheraTears Eye Drops for Dry Eyes, Dry Eye Therapy Lubricant Eyedrops, Provides Long Lasting Relief, 30 mL, 1 Fl oz Value Size

Thera tears brings immediate and long-lasting relief to dry eyes. It is packaged in 2 different sizes the consumer can choose from. The only disadvantage with the convenient, multi-use bottle is that the risk of contamination through the tip touching any surface is high. Proper handling is very important.

The preservative used in Thera tears is referred to as a vanishing preservative because it changes into harmless components (oxygen and water) when it makes contact with the eye. It is a relatively safe preservative. In addition, the non-active ingredients that act as pH balancers in Thera tears ensure the solution becomes hypotonic (having a lower osmotic pressure). This improves the concentration or saltiness of the tears (osmolarity) an important function since hyperosmolarity (high salt concentration) is common in most forms of the dry eye syndrome. It damages eye cells if unchecked.


  • Variety of bottle sizes to choose from
  • Hypotonic solution
  • Vanishing preservative safe but cheaper than having no preservative


  • Multi-use bottle can be easily contaminated.
  • A vanishing preservative is not as a guaranteed no-preservative


View price on Amazon


Refresh Optive

Refresh Optive Lubricant Eye Drops, Box of 2 x 15 ml bottles

This family of 3 consists of the 15ml single pack, the 15ml twin pack and a pack 60 vials. Refresh Optive prides itself in being the # 1 doctor-recommended brand of artificial tears that has lasting hydration to bring relief to dry eyes. The different packages variety is consumer- friendly. The twin (2 in 1) packs may help check contamination and other handling risks associated with a bigger bottle.

Even though more people have become sensitive or allergic to preservatives in eye drops, consumers who use drops less than four times a day may not be at high risk as the amount and time the preservative stays in contact with the eye surface is minimal. Further, the preservative Pristine does not cause the severe effects associated with BAK. The osmoprotectants in Refresh Optive reduces osmolarity (saltiness of the tears) and the severity of dry eye symptoms and damage to eye cells.


  • Variety of sizes to choose from
  • Twin pack minimizes handling risks
  • Option to choose drops with or without preservative
  • Drops with preservatives are less costly


  • A few of twin pack products were recalled from the market
  • Does not address osmolarity


View price on Amazon



I believe this journey has made many things clear and you know which brand you will reach for. Both brands bring relief to dry eye symptoms, and prevent further damage to eye cells by their lubricating properties. They also lower the saltiness of the eye environment, which if unchecked, cause greater damage. I like that Refresh Optive spoils me for choice. I am finally ‘found!’ Well, Thera tears vs Refresh Optive, thank you very much!


How do you use Refresh Optive lubricant eye drops?

Refresh Optive preservative-free lubricant eye drops comes in sterile single-use vials. You dispose of each vial every time you instill the drops into your eyes. Use as often as needed.

Which Refresh eye drops are best?

All Refresh products are safe. Your symptoms, sensitivity to certain ingredients, and severity of the dry eye condition determines which product best suits you.

Are all Refresh eye drops preservative-free?

No, some like Refresh Optive have both the prescribed and non-prescribed.

Can Refresh eye drops be used with contact lenses?

Preservative-free drops are safe to use with contact lens. In addition, is formulated specifically for contact lens.

Can I use Refresh eye drops after they expire?

No. the dropper many become contaminated after expiry. Similarly, after expiry, medications can change composition, lose potency, get contaminated or have bacteria grow in it.


Marie Stevenson

Having been a victim of counterfeit products Marie Stevenson decided to comb various markets both online and physical to find the best original beauty products for women. The influx of counterfeits is palpitation inducing especially when you consider the aftermath. The consequences of using fake makeup or tanning lotions can be quite expensive and life-threatening and the reason why Marie decided to provide you with insightful information that will actually enhance your health. Apart from saving the world from the influx of fake beauty products Marie is a dedicated environmentalist, loves to travel and read. Her famous line is that if you believe it and have the passion to do something right then don’t let someone else discourage since they don’t understand where you are coming from.

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