Can Contact Lenses give you Dry Eye Disease?
If you are one of the 30 million people wearing contact lenses in the United States, you can be at risk of developing Chronic Dry Eye Syndrome. Your contacts can make your eyes red and feel dry, itchy and sore.
When wearing contact lenses becomes uncomfortable you may be developing Dry Eye Syndrome, a disease where your eyes don’t produce enough fluid to keep your eyes lubricated and comfortable.
Contact lens wearers are prone to Dry Eye Disease because the lens itself blocks oxygen from fully getting to the lens covered part of the eye. You should be aware that dry eye is the number one eye problem Optometrists hear from contact wearing patients.
To help ease eye dryness, whether congenital or environmental, your Optometrist will most likely recommend Silicone hydrogel soft contact lenses or Scleral lens custom hard contacts. The soft contact lenses are porous and hold a low level of water allowing your eyes to receive enough oxygen and stay hydrated without pulling moisture from the surrounding surface of the eye. While Scleral lenses vault over the eye leaving room for a reservoir of fluid to keep your eyes feeling comfortable.
Constant dry eye can not only reduce your quality of life, but it can also lead to complications such as inflammation, infections, corneal abrasions or corneal ulcer. Common treatments for dry eyes exacerbated by contact lenses are:
- Eye vitamins increase the number of nutrients to your eyes with supplements such as omega-3, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin.
- Eye drops, sprays, and washes can be used at home to reduce Dry Eye symptoms but they are a temporary solution to Chronic Dry Eye.
- Daily disposable contact lenses are only worn for a single day and then thrown away. This is good because less dust and dirt can build up under the lens causing much less discomfort and allowing less time for the lens to dry out.
- Scleral Contact Lenses are another option for those with Dry Eyes. Delivering sharper vision and keeping the front surface of the eye from drying out, Scleral Contact Lenses are custom made to cover the entire corneal surface of the eye. If nothing you have tried has worked as good as you would like, then Scleral Contact Lenses are your go-to choice of contact lenses. Scleral lenses are larger than regular contacts and they help retain the moisture content of the tear film coating your eyes improving comfort.
- Silicone hydrogel is a low water content contact lens letting more oxygen to reach the eye. Can also be worn over longer periods of time.
Following a strict cleaning schedule.
Be aware if you are sensitive to preservatives in your eye solution. This may also contribute to your dry eye symptoms.
In conclusion do your research to understand your own eyes and all of the options available in the market today, as well as the importance of keeping your eyes well hydrated. Most of all, talk to your optometrist in order to determine which contact lenses are right for you. By taking into consideration the causes and symptoms of your dry eyes and some trial and error among the different brands of choices, you are well on your way to better eye care and a better life.
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