Contact lenses for dry eyes: what can be done?
Redness, irritation, discomfort. These are all things that are associated with dry eyes and in the past, they may have been reasons for many people not to choose to wear contact lenses. In many cases, dryness of the eyes is caused by our environment. Air conditioning in the summer and central heating in the winter can both lead to ocular discomfort. Allergies and air pollution are also culprits. It's also important to recognise that some medications and medical conditions can also lead to dry eyes - for example, the contraceptive pill sometimes causes such problems, as does rheumatoid arthritis and the natural ageing process. While dry eyes can be a problem for everyone - even those who don't wear contacts - there are plenty of remedies available to help you relieve the symptoms.
Which lenses are best for dry eyes?
For those who wear contact lenses, dryness could be caused by the types of lenses that you choose to wear. This is because many soft contacts are made of plastics that incorporate water - with some of them containing between 40 and 80 per cent water.
The water-filled nature of these contacts is designed to keep the lenses moist and comfortable, but as the day goes by, the lenses can begin to dry out and then absorb moisture from your eyes. This leads to both dryness and discomfort.
One option is to switch to lenses made from silicone hydrogel. This material uses silicone instead of water in its composition, and doesn't dry out or take water from your eyes.
If you suffer from dry eyes, some brands of disposable contact lenses are also supplied in a silicone material, for example 1 Day Acuvue Trueye. With these lenses you will have the double benefit of the silicone material, and a lens that is disposed of every day, as deposits on a lens are commonly associated with poor wetting which can lead to a dry feeling.
Be comfortable when wearing contact lenses
Whatever type of lenses you wear, additional measures can be taken to avoid dryness. Various solutions and conditioners can be used for cleaning your lenses and helping them maintain moisture.
Additionally, the use of eye drops can be a great way to relieve the discomfort. When buying these products, be sure to consult the information included with your lenses and check the labelling on the solution in order to ensure that the items you choose are suitable for use with your type of contacts. Your Optician or Pharmacist can help with advice.
It's also possible that taking vitamins formulated for good eye health could relieve the problems associated with dry eyes and wearing contact lenses.
Find the right contact lenses for dry eyes
If you suffer from dry eyes, you should definitely discuss this matter with your eye care specialist. They can provide information about your specific situation and ensure that your eyes are healthy. It's recommended that everyone gets their eyes tested on a regular basis and for many people, free eye exams are offered on the NHS.
Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 24 Apr 2015, Last modified: 10 Feb 2020