Visine vs Artificial Tears – When Tears Need to be Primed!

Dry eye simply means not enough tears to moist the eyes. Eye drops improve the moisture. Can a Visine vs Artificial Tears comparison help you decide the best cost-effective brand for you?

Ever since I started working in the computer room, my eyes have been itchy, irritated and teary –signs of dry eye. Because it is a rotational work station, I thought to get the cheapest eye drop just for the 3 months I will be there. However, before doing so, I read an article claiming that some eye drops in the market are dangerous. Now I am no longer sure which eye drop to get. Can a Visine vs Artificial Tears comparison help me decide whether a compromise on price is a compromise on my eye safety?

What are the differences between Visine and Artificial Tears? How do they compare?

Comparison Chart of Visine and Artificial Tears

Eye drop
Artificial Tears
Available in 15ml and 30ml bottles in convenient multi-use bottles
Available in a 15ml convenient multi-use bottles in 7 sizes – pack of 2,3,4,5,6,10 and 12.
With preservative
With preservative
I or 2 drops as needed. Children under 6 years, seek doctor’s advise
1-2 drops in affected eye as often as needed
Active Ingredient
Glycerin 0.2%, Hypromellose 0.2%, Polyethylene glycol 400 1% (all lubricants)
Polyethylene Glycol 400 1%., Polyvinyl Alcohol 1%.
Inactive ingredient
Ascorbic acid, benzalkonium chloride -BAK (preservative), dextrose, glycine, sodium nitrate, sodium lactate
Lipiden Vehicle (Purified Water, Dextrose, Edetate Disodium,), Benzalkonium Chloride 0.1 %.
For temporary relief for irritation and burning due to dry eyes; and for protection against more irritation.
Temporarily relieves burning and irritation caused by dry eye or exposure to sun or wind

Visine vs Artificial Tears – How do they compare?


Visine’s 3 active ingredients: Glycerin, Hypromellose, and Polyethylene glycol are actually lubricants found in the natural tear. In fact, Visine boasts of having 10 components found in the natural tear.

The preservative benzalkonium chloride (BAK), found in both brands, has been used for a long time in various eye drop compositions. Studies indicate that BAK disrupts the lipid layer of the team film, which makes the aqueous layer evaporate, exposing the cornea to BAK’s toxicity. This harmful side effect is directly linked to BAK’s concentration in the solution, the daily amount used and the treatment period.

The Polyvinyl Alcohol in Artificial tears is also a lubricant. It works by decreasing tears’ surface tension enabling them to spread more easily over the eye surface without breaking into dry spots.

How Visine and Artificial Tears Compare – A Quick Round-up


Visine is designed to work like real tears by soothing and moisturizing dry eyes.

Visine Dry Eye Relief Eye Drops 0.50 oz (Pack of 3)

Following numerous severe eye infections from using multi-dose bottle eye drops, use of preservatives in eye drops was imposed, in 1960. Preservatives glory in preventing the spread of pathogens, both on the bottle and within the solution.

BAK is a highly effective bactericide and fungicide. BAK toxicity depends on its concentration on its concentration in the eye drop, the daily amount taken by the consumer and the length of the treatment. People needing less than 4 drops a day, and who are not allergic to it, could capitalize on the benefits offered by this brand.


  • Variety of sizes to choose from
  • Has 10 components found in the natural tear.
  • Longer safe storage period
  • Drops with preservatives are less costly


  • BAK’s side effects can harm the eye
  • Cannot be used by people with severe dry eyes, or those sensitive to BAK


View price on Amazon


Artificial Tears

Artificial Tears helps relieve burning and irritation symptoms caused by dry eye.

Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops 15 ml (Pack of 2)

BAK has been in the market since the 1940s and is used in 70% eye drops. There are more people unaffected by it, compared to those affected. Because BAK is toxic to the cornea in some people, it is recommended for consumers needing eye drop use no more than 4 times in a day. This is because the toxicity risk is higher with increased concentration and retention of the solution in the eye.

Polyvinyl alcohol has properties similar to the natural mucin produced by the conjunctiva, which enhances the stability of the tear film thus soothing and lubricating the eye.


  • Variety of sizes to choose from
  • Longer safe storage period
  • Drops with preservatives are less costly


  • BAK’s side effects can harm the eye
  • Cannot be used by people with severe dry eyes, or those sensitive to BAK


View price on Amazon



This is a tough decision to make. Both brands contain BAK, which has been used in eye drops for a long time. Not too many people show sensitivity reactions to it. Besides, if one’s dry eye is moderate, requiring a not more than 4 times frequency of use in a day, then risk of the harmful effects is minimal. On the other hand, the idea of introducing something that has harmed other people, into your eyes, is somewhat unsettling. All the same, the Visine vs Artificial Tears comparison has given me enough information to make an informed gamble, if I so choose!


What are the ingredients in Artificial Tears?

Lubricants Polyvinyl Alcohol and Polyethylene as main ingredients ; and Lipiden Vehicle (Dextrose, Edetate Disodium, Purified Water) and Benzalkonium Chloride as inactive ingredients.

Do Artificial Tears have side effects?

Some of the common side effects include: change in vision, eye redness or irritation for more than 72 hours, allergic reactions and eye pain.

Is it safe to use Artificial Tears everyday?

Artificial Tears has fewer additives and is recommended for people with severe dry eye or those who need to use eye drops more than 4 times a day.

Can you overdose on Artificial Tears?

An overdose of Artificial Tears can cause side effects that are life threatening.

Does Artificial Tears get rid of red eyes?

Red eyes are a result of dry eyes and are often accompanied by itching, irritation and gritty sensation. Artificial Tears lubricate the eye, bringing relief for these symptoms.



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.