Thera tears vs Refresh tears – Which gets you in tears again!

Wouldn’t dry eyes be relieved faster if people provided some behind-the-scenes details on brands they recommended? This Thera tears vs. Refresh tears comparison will do exactly that!

I was recently transferred to our field office. It is located in a hot windy environment. A few days after relocating, I noticed my eyes were constantly itchy and watery. Thinking it was the dust, I started wearing shades outdoors but the situation only worsened. Besides the pain/discomfort, the eyes also became red. When I shared with my colleagues in head office, one recommended Thera tears and another swore by Refresh tears. Will more information help me end my Thera tears vs Refresh tears dilemma? Let’s find out:

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

Comparison Chart of Thera tears and Refresh tears

Eye drop
Thera tears
Refresh tears
Available in 15ml and 30ml in convenient multi-use bottles
Available in 15ml twin pack, 30ml, 60ml in convenient multi-use bottles
Preservative-free in the eye
Both with preservative and Preservative free
I or 2 drops as needed
I or 2 drops as needed
Active Ingredient
Sodium carboxymethylcellulose 0.25%
Sodium carboxymethylcellulose 0.5%
Unique inactive ingredient
Dequest, sodium bicarbonate, sodium perborate
Purite, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide
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 irritation of the eye further.
Lubricant for relief of dry eye symptoms, including those as a result of exposure to the sun and wind. It may also act as a protectant against irritation of the eye further.

Thera tears vs Refresh tears – How do they compare?


Thera tears is packaged in both the 15ml and the 30ml convenient multi-use bottles. Refresh tears, on the other hand, comes in multi-use bottles of 15ml twin pack (2 in 1), 30ml and 60ml. There is usually a bargain value in buying a bigger product, but then again, how much of it will you be using over a given period? There is no point buying a bigger product cost-effectively if you won’t use it up before its expiry date.

Preservative used

Thera tears has a unique preservative that disintegrates to oxygen and water upon coming into contact with the tear film. This minimizes chances of sensitivity or allergic reactions that preservatives cause.

Refresh tears has solutions either with or without preservative. It is now a worrying trend that more and more people report getting allergic reactions to preservatives used in eye drops. All the same, eye drops with preservatives still work for many people. One’s sensitivity or severity of the dry eye condition determines whether they will react negatively to the preservative.


Both eye drop brands use Sodium Carboxy methylcellulose as the active ingredient. The only difference is its concentration. Thera tears uses it in a 0.25 concentration, while Refresh tears uses it at 0.5%. It is not clear whether there is a statistically significant difference between using Carboxymethylcellulose at 0.25% and 0.5%. The important thing is that Carboxymethylcellulose works by mimicking the natural makeup of the tear and keeping the eye surface moist.

Besides, Thera tears has dequest (a chelant), sodium bicarbonate and sodium perborate (pH balancers), in its inactive ingredients. These ingredients are important in constituting the unique preservative and the hypotonic solution.They are not present in Refresh tears. Similarly Refresh tears has Purite (a preservative), hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide (for balancing pH) in its list of inactive ingredients not found in Thera tears.

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

Thera tears


Thera tears is said to bring immediate and long-lasting relief to dry eyes. It comes in 2 sizes which gives the consumer a small variety to choose from. Though convenient, the multi-use bottle can be easily contaminated if the tip touches any surface. The importance of proper handling cannot be underscored.

Because the preservative used in Thera tears changes into harmless components (oxygen and water) when in contact with the eye, it is classified as a vanishing preservative. This makes it a relatively safe preservative. In addition, the pH balancers in Thera tears makes it hypotonic (having a lower osmotic pressure). This improves the concentration or saltiness of the tears (osmolarity). This is important because Hyperosmolarity (high salt concentration) is a common feature in most forms of the dry eye syndrome. It damages eye cells.


  • 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


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Refresh tears

REFRESH TEARS lubricant eye drops 0.5 % 15 ml (2 pack) - Packaging may vary

This eye drop is advertised as the # 1 doctor-recommended brand of artificial tears that brings immediate soothing relief to dry eyes. The different packages offer size variety to consumers. The twin (2 in 1) packs may help check contamination and other handling risks associated with a bigger bottle.

Though there is uproar about sensitivity or allergic reactions to preservatives in eye drops, the toxic reaction is highly dependent on the number of drops instilled in the eyes daily. Consumers who use drops less than four times a day may not be at high risk of reacting to the preservative, unless they are allergic to the specific preservative ingredient.


  • 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


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Well, the jury needs to reach a verdict! Each brand has unique benefits. If Refresh tears didn’t have a twin pack as its smallest unit, I would probably have tried the product with a preservative, since I am here for a short time, I am on budget and I don’t think my eyes are sensitive. I may have to go with Thera tears 15ml and see which verdict my eyes will pass! With this, I rest the Thera tears vs. Refresh Tears debate.


What are Refresh eye drops used for?

Refresh tears is used for the temporary relief of irritation, burning and discomfort caused by dry eyes or exposure to the wind or sun.

What Refresh eye drops are the best?

Different products are formulated to address specific aspects of the dry eye condition. Your choice of product will therefore depend on your symptoms and severity of the dry eye condition.

Can I use preservative free eye drops with contacts?

Yes, for Fresh tears preservative free. You could alternatively use refresh contacts, specially designed for contact lens. For Thera tears, the preservative can discolor the soft contact lens.

How many times a day can I use Refresh eye drops?

Use as many times as is necessary to bring you relief

Does Refresh tears clear red eye?

It is not clear whether Refresh tears specifically clears red eyes.


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.