Many people wonder: can you wear contact lenses if you have dry eye disease? While contact lenses may not directly cause symptoms of dry eyes, many contact lens wearers have experienced a worsening of their symptoms. Dryness caused by contact lenses can mean lenses become significantly less comfortable, and it may be more difficult to wear them for an entire day. Contact lens dryness is also accompanied by the traditional symptoms of dry eye disease, such as gritty, watery, burning, or red eyes. If you experience a worsening of these symptoms due to your contact lenses, don’t fret! There are several ways to address contact lens induced dryness without having to give up clear vision from contact lenses.
Try A New Fit
Sometimes contact lens dryness can be drastically improved by changing the type of contact lenses you wear. Everyone’s eyes respond to fits and materials differently, and a minor change can result in massively improved comfort. Switching to lenses made from silicone hydrogel, the newest material on the market, may be helpful as these lenses are designed for improved comfort and extended wear time. Many people find an improvement in dryness by switching to daily disposable contact lenses, which are designed to retain moisture and water content throughout the day. If you are experiencing dryness with your contact lenses, ask your optometrist if they recommend a new fit or material to help with your symptoms.
Contact Lenses and Dry Eye: Solutions and Eye Drops
Even the solution you use to clean and store your contact lenses can be contributing to your dry eye symptoms. You may be sensitive to certain ingredients or preservatives in your solution. In some cases of contact lens irritation, your solution may not be effectively removing proteins from your lenses. If this is the case, your doctor can give a specialized recommendation for a new contact lens solution. They may recommend a hydrogen-peroxide care system, which effectively cleans your lenses overnight without the use of any preservatives. In addition to making changes to your contact lens solution, your optometrist may suggest lubricating drops, such as Blink™, which are approved to be used with your contact lenses. These drops may provide temporary relief from dryness throughout the day.
Scleral Lenses: Designed for Comfort
If your contact lens induced dryness is resistant to change, and new materials or cleaning solutions is providing no improvement, consider making a bigger change to your lenses. Scleral lenses are specialty contact lenses with a large diameter that are filled with nourishing solution and then completely cover the front surface of the eye. Because the front of the eye is constantly covered by liquid, scleral lenses are a very appealing option for those suffering from dry eye symptoms.
Don’t Let Dry Eyes Stop You
Dry eye symptoms can be frustrating for both lens wearers and non-wearers. However, before you call it quits on your contact lenses due to your dryness, visit your optometrist and express your concerns. Most likely, they will have a long list of possible solutions that can help with your symptoms and keep you in contact lenses, giving you the clear vision you love. Wilmington Family Eye Care also had the newest technology in Lipiflow, which can greatly improve your dry eye symptoms!