Is Hydrochloric Acid Safe In Eye Drops?

Published: January 18, 2018
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Hydrochloric acid causes severe damage to eyes, so why is it in eye drops? Is a small amount safe when combined with other things? What purpose does it serve? - Is hydrochloric acid safe in eye drops?
Signed: Is Hydrochloric Acid Safe In Eye Drops?

Dear Is Hydrochloric Acid Safe In Eye Drops?,

Eye drops are a common treatment used for dry eyes, allergies, and infections. The amount of hydrochloric acid present in eye drops is minimal; and is used as a chemical preservative. This helps to protect bacteria from growing in the eye drop solution. 

Some important health tips regarding eye drops include:

  • Unless otherwise prescribed by your doctor, eye drops are intended for short-term use. If you find that you are using eye drops daily, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
  • Eye drops should not be used with contacts. 
  • Eye drop use should be discontinued if/when side effects occur. These may include, yet are not limited to: pain, irritation/redness, discomfort, decreased/blurred vision, and increased light sensitivity.  


TeenHealthFX stresses the importance of scheduling routine appointments with your optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye doctor) in order to ensure proper vision health. If, at any time, you experience unusual eye problems (pain, decreased vision, draining or redness of eyes, etc.), do not wait for your next appointment- visit your eye doctor as soon as possible.  

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.   

TeenHealthFX recommends the following resources for additional information on eye health and safety:  

Signed: TeenHealthFX