Systane Ultra versus Systane Complete

Eye drops play a crucial role in maintaining optimal eye health. With numerous options available in the market, it can be challenging to choose the right one.

Alcon offers a wide range of eye drop products for dry eye relief, general eye care, and allergy relief. Two popular choices are Systane Ultra and Systane Complete. In this article, we will compare these two over-the-counter eye drop products, examining their features, benefits, active ingredients, and potential drawbacks to help you make an informed purchasing decision.

Systane Ultra - Long-lasting Relief

Introduced in 2008, Systane Ultra eye drops are designed to provide long-lasting relief for dry eyes. Its key features include a unique formulation that moisturizes and soothes the eyes, providing immediate comfort. Systane Ultra is particularly effective for addressing symptoms such as dryness, irritation, and a gritty sensation. Its advanced technology helps restore the natural moisture balance in the eyes, promoting overall eye health.

Systane Complete - Dual Action

Systane Complete was released in 2018 and these eye drops offer a comprehensive approach to eye care. They are formulated to provide relief from dryness, irritation, and burning sensations. Systane Complete offers an all-in-one solution, combining two active ingredients that work together to lubricate and hydrate the eyes. This unique formulation helps protect against tear evaporation, keeping the eyes moisturized for an extended period.

Comparison of Special Features

Systane Ultra

  • Provides immediate relief for dryness, irritation, and discomfort.
  • Restores the natural moisture balance in the eyes.
  • Helps alleviate symptoms such as grittiness and foreign body sensation.

Systane Complete

  • Offers comprehensive eye care, addressing multiple symptoms simultaneously.
  • Provides long-lasting moisture and protection against tear evaporation.
  • Suitable for individuals requiring sustained relief and protection.
  • Nano-Droplet Technology for superior application.

Comparison of Main Ingredients

Systane Ultra

  • Polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG 400): has lubricating properties, which help to relieve the symptoms of dry eye. It can improve the tear film stability and reduce friction between the eyelid and the surface of the eye, providing temporary relief from dryness and discomfort.
  • 0.3% Propylene glycol acts as a humectant, which means it helps to retain moisture. It provides lubrication to relieve dryness and soothe discomfort caused by conditions like dry eyes or environmental factors such as wind or air conditioning.

Systane Complete

  • Like Systane Ultra, Systane Complete utilizes propylene glycol to support moisture retention and lubrication. However, Systane Complete features a 0.6% concentration of polypropylene suggesting - in combination with HP-Guar - a longer-lasting impact on comfort and dry eye relief.
  • Hydroxypropyl Guar (also called HP-Guar), forms a protective layer on the surface of the eye, improving lubrication and reducing friction. HP-Guar also supports moisture retention, thereby prolonging the effects of lubrication by forming a gel-like matrix on the ocular surface. This also promotes stabilizing the tear film by reducing tear evaporation and acts as a barrier, shielding the eyes and preventing further irritation.

Comparison of Duration of Relief

Due to the formulation of ingredients, Systane Ultra provides immediate relief but may require more frequent application throughout the day for sustained comfort. In contrast, Systane Complete offers prolonged relief, reducing the need for frequent reapplication.

Differences in Cost

By calculating a cost per ounce or cost per milliliter, you can determine the true cost of these two eye drop products. Evaluating several online retailers, we found that Systane Complete (unsurprisingly as it is longer-lasting) is priced a little bit higher than Systane Ultra.

Note: It is always recommended to read the product label or consult with a healthcare professional for specific information regarding the eye drops you are using.

Systane Ultra and Complete - Spect Sheet Comparison

Systane Ultra

Systane Complete

Product Image Systane Ultra Systane Complete
Product Name Systane® Ultra Systane® Complete
Type Lubricant Eye Drops Lubricant Eye Drops
Manufacturer Alcon Inc. Alcon Inc.
Release Date 2008 Nov 2018
FDA Device Class II II
Over the Counter (OTC) Yes Yes
Special Features
  • Nano-Droplet Technology
Active Ingredients
  • Polyethylene glycol 400 0.4%
  • Propylene glycol 0.3%
  • Propylene glycol 0.6%
Wettings Agents, Lubricants, Disinfectants
  • Aminomethyl propanol
  • Boric acid
  • Hydroxypropyl guar
  • Potassium chloride
  • Polyquaternium-1 - POLYQUAD® 0.001%
  • Sorbitol
  • Boric acid
  • Dimyristoyl phosphatidylglycerol
  • Disodium EDTA
  • Hydroxypropyl guar
  • Mineral oil
  • Polyoxl 40 stearate
  • Polyquaternium-1 - POLYQUAD® 0.001%
  • Sorbitan tristearate
  • Sorbitol
Aqueous Base with:
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Sodium chloride
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Sodium hydroxide
Packaging, Pricing and Offers
Packaging Details 0.33 oz (10 ml)
Twin Pack 2 x 0.33 oz (2 x 10 ml)
0.33 oz (10ml)
Price Range $14 - $18 (1 x 0.33 oz)
$22 - $26 (2 x 0.33 oz)
$13 - $17 (1 x 0.33 oz)
Cost per ounce (30ml) $33 - $39 per oz
(= $1.10 - $1.80 per ml)
$39 - $51 per oz
(= $1.30 - $1.70 per ml)
Online Retailers
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U.S. National Library of Medicine - Label Info Systane Ultra

U.S. National Library of Medicine - Clinical Trials: Evaluation of SYSTANE Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops

Evaluation of Systane Complete for the Treatment of Contact Lens Discomfort