Dry eye disease can turn wearing contact lenses into a highly uncomfortable experience. It may even put you off contact lenses for good. However, this does not have to be the case. With the right lenses and advice, you can enjoy comfortable and clear vision all day, even if you have dry eye syndrome.
What Is Dry Eye?
Dry eye syndrome is when you do not produce sufficient tears to lubricate your eyes. Tears can be unstable and inadequate for several reasons, and the problem can affect one or both eyes. Common symptoms include eye discomfort, pain, increased light sensitivity, and blurred vision.
Contact Lenses and Dry Eyes
Dry eyes are a common problem for many people, whether they wear contacts or not. Unfortunately, contact lenses can exacerbate the problem in some people. Many dry eye symptoms stem from corneal irritation.
Unfortunately, contact lenses can desensitize the nerves leading to the cornea. This can interrupt the blink feedback loop, lowering tear production and resulting in dry, itchy eyes.
Contact Lens Options for Dry Eyes
No single type of contact lens works best for all dry eye cases. However, your eye doctor may recommend one of the following types depending on the cause of your dry eyes.
Soft Contact Lenses
Unless you suffer from severe dry eyes, your eye doctor will probably recommend soft contact lenses. That is because they tend to be most comfortable. The materials used to make them allow oxygen to pass through to let the eyes breathe while holding water to keep the eyes moist. Almost half of all contacts are silicone hydrogel lenses that help minimize dryness, redness, corneal swelling, and infections.
A buildup of oils, makeup, and other substances often contributes to dry eye. These substances can collect under your contacts over time, causing severe eye irritation. However, daily disposables eliminate the possibility of buildup since you wear sa fresh pair daily. That means you do not need to worry about storage, making it easy to care for them.
Most eye doctors recommend scleral lenses to patients with severe dry eye disease. These are hard contact lenses designed to vault over the cornea, avoiding any possible nerve desensitization and corneal irritation. They rest on the white part of the eyeball, known as the sclera. Also, there is a liquid reservoir inside the lens to hydrate the eye and protect the cornea from irritation.
Other Lens Considerations
Your eye doctor will consider other factors when determining the appropriate type of contact lenses for your dry eyes. Some of these include the following:
If you wear contacts and suffer from chronic dry eyes, help is available. Your eye doctor will evaluate your eyes, visual needs, and lifestyle at a contact lens fitting and recommend the best lenses for your eyes.
For more on dry eye syndrome, call Abraham Eye Associates at our office in Villanova, Pennsylvania. Call (484) 209-0800 to schedule an appointment.