Contact Lenses and Dry Eyes

by Feb 2, 2021

Dry eye is an issue that affects many individuals. It can be severe enough to interrupt one’s day and prevent them from completing daily activities comfortably. Often, these individuals are unable to tolerate the use of contact lenses

In other cases, patients suffer from dry eye symptoms that are only brought on by use of contact lenses. Read on to read about some of the possible causes and some treatment options. 


Why Do Contact Lenses Cause Dry Eyes?

There are many different causes for dry eye, with contact lenses being only one on the list. This article focuses on the specific case of dry eye induced or exacerbated by contact lens wear. 

Overall, a contact lens on the eye will affect the tear film present at the front of the eye. The health and quality of the tear film plays a major role in dry eye. 

The lens fit on your eye is important and will be determined by our optometrist to ensure proper oxygen exchange and comfort. Dehydration and evaporation of the tear film are two of the main causes. 

The material that the contact lenses are made of can make a difference. Different brands of contact lenses are made with different materials and each individual will vary in their eyes’ response to the lenses. In some cases, simply switching the brand of contact lenses can alleviate your symptoms. 

As an extension, different contact lens solutions may also affect the quality of the tear film. Try switching to a different contact lens solution and see if this makes a difference. 

Contact lens hygiene is another major component that contributes to comfort. Making sure to maintain proper contact lens hygiene and sticking with the recommended wearing schedule, disposing them when indicated, is key. 

Protein and debris can build up on the contact lenses, which will play a part in discomfort. Often, daily disposables are the most comfortable option due to not needing a cleaning regimen. 

Dry eye from other ocular conditions such as blepharitis, allergies, and medication use can be exacerbated with the use of contact lenses.

As stated above, contact lenses can further disrupt the tear film so make sure to ask our optometrist for their recommendations on which lens best suits your needs.

Ensuring that these conditions are dealt with first is an important initial step in feeling comfortable with your lenses throughout the day.


How We Can Treat Dry Eye From Contact Lenses

Our optometrist will determine what the best next steps for you to take are. In some cases, it can be as easy as switching the brand of contact lenses, thus allowing you to try on a different set of parameters and materials. 

Changing the contact lens solution or using daily disposable contact lenses instead can also be options that alleviate discomfort. Taking care of any underlying causes for dryness such as blepharitis or blocked Meibomian glands will also help. 

In these cases, lid hygiene and warm compresses will be key. Rewetting eye drops or artificial tears that can be instilled during the day as needed can also be helpful. 


Our eye doctors at Wilmington Family Eye Care in Wilmington, DE excel in prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrists at 302-299-1286 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to learn more about how contact lenses cause dry eyes. Our eye doctors, Drs. Daniel Baruffi, Joseph Goldberg, Karen Darrell and Patricia Jones provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Wilmington, Delaware and its surrounding areas.

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