Dry Eyes and Contact Lenses

Unfortunately as a contact lens wearer you are predisposed to dry eyes due to the thin material on your retina obstructing oxygen from the eye. Despite modern day contact lenses being designed to allow larger amounts of oxygen to permeate the eye, wearers can still experience dry, gritty eyes especially towards the end of the day. This is known as contact lens-induced dry eye (CLIDE).

Suffering with dry eyes is one of the leading reasons why lens wearers give up and turn back to glasses. However, there are many alternatives that can stop you making that step straight away.

The best treatments for dry eyes caused by contact lenses are:

  • Eye drops, sprays and washes
  • Eye vitamins
  • Silicone hydrogel or low water content contact lenses
  • Daily disposable contact lenses
  • Sticking to the cleaning routine advised by your optician

Eye Drops, Sprays and Washes Online suppliers like Vision Direct or offline retailers such as pharmacies, chemists and supermarkets often sell eye drops, sprays and washes that are suitable for the treatment of dry eyes caused by contact lenses.

Eye drops such as Blink Contacts, Hycosan and Artelac Rebalance are among the many choices of eye drops that can be applied safely with contact lenses in to reduce discomfort and refresh eyes.

However, if you're finding over the counter eye drops aren't working for you consult your optician as they may be able to supply an alternative to cope with a more severe case.

Eye vitamins

Eye Vitamins can increase the amount of nutrients your eyes receive daily and therefore not only improve eye health but decrease contact lens discomfort. The best eye vitamins include supplements like lutein, zeaxanthin, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and omega-3 which have all been proven to demonstrate a positive change.

At Vision Direct we stock some of the leading ocular vitamins including: ICaps-One-A-Day, Eye Bar and PreserVision Original Soft Gels.

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are made from the latest and most innovative contact lens material available. They are becoming a popular choice for soft lens wearers, not just because they're good for dry eyes sufferers but because they offer higher levels of comfort than traditional soft hydrogels. A silicone hydrogel lens permits up to 5 times more oxygen to reach the eye than its predecessor.

In some cases a silicone hydrogel lens is so breathable that it can be worn continuously over an extended period of time, making tiresome lens cleaning routines a thing of the past.

Speak to your optician if you're interested in silicone hydrogels to ease the discomfort of contact lens-induced dry eye or if you want the freedom to sleep in your lenses and not be tied down to tiresome cleaning routines.

Some of the best silicone hydrogel's on the marketing include: 1-Day Acuvue Trueye, Biofinity, Acuvue Oasys and Air Optix Aqua.

Low water content lenses

It is a common misconception to think that the higher the water content in a contact lens the more comfortable the lens will be. For some wearers, especially those that suffer from dry eyes it can have the reverse affect as the moisture in the lens can draw the eye's natural tears away, high water content lenses can also become dehydrated more quickly due to environmental factors.

For soft contact lenses, water content usually ranges between 38% to 79%, so if you think lower water content in your contact lenses could make a difference please seek advice from your optician.

Daily disposable contact lenses

Daily disposable contact lenses or dailies as they're also known are a great option for dry eye sufferers. Because they're only worn for a single day and then thrown away there is less time for deposits and dirt that can cause discomfort to build-up, and less time for the lens to dry out as a result of improper cleaning routines.

Some of the most popular daily disposables recommended for dry eyes are: Focus Dailies AquaComfort Plus, Proclear 1 Day and 1-Day Acuvue Moist.

Stick to the cleaning routine recommended by your optician.

If you wear monthly or two-weekly lenses you'll be using a contact lens solution to clean and store your lenses. If you've differed from the original solution recommended by your optician this could be why you're suffering from dry eyes. For example if you're wearing silicone hydrogel lenses, not all multi-purpose solutions are designed to clean these so make sure the solution you're using is correct. We recommend that you always use the solution prescribed by your optician to avoid this problem.

Some dry eye discomfort however, can be caused by the preservatives in solutions, if you're finding your eyes feel irritated and you've not swapped solution, speak to your optician they might recommend a preservative-free lens solution that is often improves lens comfort for people with sensitive eyes.