Dry eye disease is a very common eye condition, even among those who rely on contact lenses every day for clear vision. For those who wear contact lenses and experience symptoms of dryness and irritation, there are several important health factors to consider, such as ensuring your contact lenses are fitting as properly as possible, addressing any underlying causes for dryness, and considering all possible treatment options. However, it is important to know that dry eyes do NOT rule out contact lenses as an option for visual correction. Continue reading to learn more about contact lens related dryness and what to do if you experience it.
Better Contact Lenses, Better Comfort
A properly fitting contact lens can do wonders for someone who is experiencing contact lens related dryness. A poorly fitting contact lens can significantly worsen dryness, discomfort, irritation, and can be a threat to ocular health. If you notice ocular surface discomfort when you insert your contact lenses, talk to your optometrist about adjusting your contact lens fit. By changing the brand, size, or material of the contact lens you are wearing, your eye doctor may be able to reduce or eliminate symptoms of dryness and irritation. If he or she assesses your contact lens fit and decide not to make any changes, ask about making changes to your contact lens cleaning solution; certain preservative or ingredients can trigger sensitivity reactions and worsen symptoms of dry eye disease. Trying a completely new lens design, such as a scleral contact lens, may be the best solution to help eliminate contact-lens induced dryness.
Treat All the Causes of Dry Eye
Many times, dry eye disease is caused by or worsened by an underlying factor. Ocular inflammation, allergies, Meibomian gland dysfunction, and even systemic diseases and medications can cause or worsen dry eye symptoms. In order to really improve dryness and irritation, these factors may have to be addressed before contact lenses are fit. In some cases, contact lenses may need to be discontinued until the underlying cause of the dry eye disease is better controlled. Depending on the factors contributing to your dry eye disease, your doctor may choose to treat you with eye drops, oral medications, or lid hygiene routines.
Know Your Contact Lens and Dry Eye Treatment Options
There are several lubricating eye drops that can be used in conjunction with contact lenses. For example, preservative free artificial tears and other specifically made contact-lens-safe lubricants can be put in the eye while contact lenses are in, providing immediate comfort and relief for those who suffer from contact lens related dry eye. Ask your doctor for the lubricating eye drop that works best for you and your contact lenses.
While symptoms of dry eye disease are frustrating and can be particularly uncomfortable for contact lens wearers, don’t let the keep you out of contact lenses. If you are experiencing dryness, irritation, or discomfort, visit your optometrist for recommendations on improving your ocular health. Whether is adjust your prescription, or prescribing eye drops or other medications, your optometrist can work with you to improve the health and comfort of your eyes without taking you out of contact lenses.