Can I wear contact lenses with dry eyes?
One of the biggest complaints our patients wearing contact lenses have is that their eyes get dry when wearing contact lenses. Contact lenses wrap around the eye, which means your eye isn’t “breathing” as much as it should be. When a patient has dry eyes, their water, oil, and mucin levels which produce tears are off. They may experience redness, dryness, or itchiness. Suffocating the eye with contact lenses can certainly inhibit the eye’s ability to heal. There simply isn’t enough moisture in the eye for proper tear flow.
The risk involved with wearing contact lenses with dry eyes is the possibility that the lens will scratch your now sensitive cornea. If you feel the need to rub your eyes, even when the contact lens is out of the eye, you may have a scratched cornea.
We can discuss various brands and lenses on the market that would be best for patients with dry eyes. We like the Alcon Dailies Total 1 as an option of a soft lens that keeps the eyes moist. Gas permeable lenses are also a possibility as they retain more water.
There are various options on the market for contact lenses for those suffering from dry eyes. If you fear you have or will scratch your cornea, it is always best to err on the side of caution and call us at 401-333-0550 to check it out. We can also discuss the best contact lens brand available for those with dry eyes.
Know Your Contact Lens Options in Lincoln
Generally, contact lenses are extremely comfortable, and most people forget that they are wearing them as the day goes on. Unless, that is, if you suffer from dry eye syndrome. Wearing contact lenses with dry eyes can range from mildly uncomfortable to extremely painful. Fortunately, there are many types of contact lenses available today – some of which are well suited for people with dry eye syndrome. Our Lincoln, Rhode Island eye doctor will perform a thorough eye exam to evaluate your condition and to recommend the best contact lenses for dry eye.
Dry Eye and Contact Lenses
Dry eye syndrome describes a condition in which you do not have enough tears or the tear composition is poor. Either way, the result is a lack of lubricating moisture on your eyes, which can make wearing contact lenses into a painful experience. Symptoms include redness, stinging and burning, itchiness, a gritty feeling in your eyes, or pain. About five million Americans suffer from dry eye, so this is a common problem.
A number of causes can lead to dry eye, ranging from medical conditions to side effects to normal aging. Contrary to popular belief, contact lenses are typically not the cause of dry eye, however they can inhibit the eye’s ability to heal. Contact lenses coat the eye’s surface, which reduces the level of oxygen that reaches your eye. Also, dry eye makes the cornea very sensitive and contact lenses raise the risk of corneal scratches and irritation.
Best Contact Lenses for Dry Eye
Soft contacts are made from a flexible, breathable material called hydrogel, which allows oxygen to pass through and reach your eye. They come in a few versions, such as disposable daily contacts, regular daily wear, and extended wear lenses.
Daily disposables are regarded as an effective option for dry eye, because they are discarded before any irritating protein deposits can accumulate on the surface. In particular, daily contacts made from silicone-hydrogel may be the best contacts for dry eye, because they slow the evaporation of moisture from your eyes.
Our Lincoln, Rhode Island eye doctor often recommends Dailies Total 1 by Alcon for patients with dry eye. These single-use contact lenses have an innovative design with a water content of approximately 33% at the center of the lens and about 80% at the front and back surface. The result is improved and long-lasting wearing comfort.
Another relatively new option for dry eyes is Proclear, by Coopervision. At present, these are the only FDA-approved brand of disposable daily contacts that are proven to enhance comfort for contact lens wearers with dry eye. Proclear lenses contain phosphorylcholine, which attracts water and maintains moisture on your eye. They are also available in bifocal and toric lenses.
Daily Wear and Extended Wear Lenses
A wide variety of daily, weekly, and monthly contacts feature unique compositions that promote high moisture retention, such as Biofinity and Acuvue Oasys. Air Optix may help with dry eye in a different way, as they allow a very high quantity of oxygen to pass through, which can improve the level of lubrication on your eye’s surface. Bausch and Lomb Ultra boast an original MoistureSeal technology that allows these contacts to hold moisture for up to 16 hours, which can significantly reduce contact lens-related dry eye symptoms.
In contrast, scleral lenses have an extra-wide diameter that vaults over your eye and rests on the sclera (white part) of your eye. Because of the way sclerals cover the eye surface, they leave a gap between the lens and your eye, which becomes a reservoir for moisture. This lubricating layer can resolve eye irritation for people with dry eye syndrome when wearing contacts.
Visit Your Lincoln, Rhode Island Eye Doctor for the Best Contact Lenses for Dry Eye Syndrome
There are a number of contact lens options to relieve the painful sensations of your dry eyes! If you suffer from this irritating condition, contact us to schedule a contact lens eye exam and fitting. We will discuss the various brands and contacts on the market to match you with the most appropriate type. Also, if you have dry eye and you suspect you may have a corneal scratch, call us immediately for assistance.