Dry eye conditions can lead to discomfort and irritation, especially for people who wear contact lenses. The common eye problem occurs when tears fail to lubricate the eyes effectively. Tear film instability can leave the eyes dry and irritated.
Most people who wear contacts find it hard to keep the lenses on when the symptoms flare up. Fortunately, you can wear contact lenses even if you have dry eye.
Dry Eye Symptoms
Dry eye disease is a relatively common problem that can be mild or severe, depending on the individual. Symptoms of dry eye include a burning or stinging sensation, blurred vision, light sensitivity, and excessive tearing or watery eyes.
Other symptoms are eye redness and fatigue, difficulty with night driving, and discomfort when wearing contact lenses. If not treated, dry eye can cause lasting damage to the eye surface.
Dry Eye and Contact Lens Use
Dry eyes can make it difficult to wear contact lenses. The lenses rest directly on the eye surface and are worn throughout the day. It can make it difficult for the eyes to remain moist. Proper lens fitting, choosing the right lenses, and proper lens care can help reduce discomfort. Contact lenses cause discomfort if:
- They are worn for prolonged periods
- They are improperly fitted or the wrong size for the eyes
- The lens material causes tear evaporation
- Using the wrong cleaning technique or lens solution
Managing Dry Eye While Wearing Contacts
If you have dry eye, practicing good eye health is vital for managing your symptoms. Things you can do to ensure comfort during lens wear include:
- Taking care of your lenses through proper handling and cleaning
- Using the right lens solution for your contacts
- Changing your lenses as instructed
- Using rewetting eye drops before wearing contacts
- Taking regular breaks when using digital devices
- Wearing sunglasses while outdoors
- Avoid rubbing or touching the eyes
- Wearing protection when working in environments with debris, dust, and other materials
Choosing Disposable Lenses
Switching to soft disposable contact lenses can help if you suffer from dry eye. Unlike reusable lenses, you do not have to worry about daily care or cleaning. By replacing the lenses daily, you avoid the risk of developing protein deposits.
New lens materials that contain water help relieve dry eye symptoms. Daily disposable silicone-based hydrogel lenses prevent quick evaporation, helping maintain eye moisture.
Rigid Gas-permeable Contact Lenses
RGP contact lenses are special lenses that help address dry eyes. They are harder than traditional soft lenses but are ideal for hard-to-fit eyes. The contacts are made from plastic, allowing oxygen to reach the eye surface. They help keep the eyes comfortable.
Scleral Contact Lenses
Scleral lenses are specialized contact lenses designed to protect the cornea. Unlike traditional lenses, they vault over the cornea, resting on the sclera. The lenses are ideal for people with eye conditions that make it difficult to wear regular lenses. If you experience symptoms of dry eye, contact your eye doctor for treatment. The doctor can recommend the best lenses depending on your unique needs.
For more on managing dry eye symptoms while wearing contacts, visit Madeira Optical at our Cincinnati, Ohio, office. Call 513-561-7076 to schedule an appointment today.