August 22, 2022

Dry eyes and Contact lenses: Are Contact Lenses Causing Dry Eyes?

Contact Lens and Dry Eye Disease

Contact lens discomfort is typically experienced by frequent contact lens wearers, especially among those with Dry Eye Disease (DED). The glands within and around our eyelids secrete tears which act as a protective lubricant, known as the tear film, along the surface of the eyes. Individuals who have DED, or experience symptoms of DED such as burning, itching, redness, light sensitivity, etc. already do not produce the correct quality and quantity of tears. Putting a contact lens on top of the eye further disrupts the tear film, resulting in its thinning, thus increasing the friction between the contact lens and the eye surface.

Contact Lens-Induced Dry Eyes

You may notice that your eyes are especially dry when you remove your contact lenses after wearing them for the whole day. Dry eye symptoms may also be exacerbated by the material and/or the fitting of the contact lens. Certain contact lens materials have increased water absorption which further reduces the lubricating ability of the tears. Poor-fitting contact lenses will also increase unwanted movements of the lenses on the eyes, as well as introduce space for debris and dust to enter through. As such, it is very important to see an optometrist prior to wearing a contact lens.

How to Reduce the Risk of Experiencing Dry Eye Symptoms When Wearing Contact Lenses

  • Prior to wearing any type of contact lens, book a contact lens fitting appointment with your optometrist to determine which lens material and shape will best accommodate the curvature of the front of your eyes, thus providing you with the best comfort and keeping your vision stable as you go about your day.
  • Proper contact lens insertion, removal and cleaning should be diligently followed. Doing so reduces the risk of eye infections, which may further exacerbate the symptoms of dry eyes.
  • Ensure that you are wearing the contact lenses only within their allotted wear time. Daily contact lenses should be disposed of every day. Monthly contact lenses can be re-used up to a maximum of 30 days after opening. Contact lens cases should also be replaced every three months to prevent the build-up of germs.
  • Individuals with dry eyes are recommended to reduce the amount of contact lens wear down to a few hours at a time, and only when absolutely needed.
  • Annual eye exams are important in monitoring the health of your eyes, especially due to the increased risk of eye infections associated with contact lens use. Our optometrists will also ensure that you are wearing the correct prescription, which will prevent future eye strain.

Talk to us about your Dry Eye Disease

If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms such as stinging, gritty/sandy sensation, light sensitivity, redness, etc. when wearing contact lenses, you may be suffering from Dry Eye Disease. Take the Dry Eye Quiz to find out about your dry eye health or Contact us at info@eyedeology.ca or call 587-353-5061 to book a Dry Eye Assessment to determine the cause of your contact lens discomfort. Our optometrists will assist you and provide you with options for alleviating your symptoms and helping you see better. Visit our dry eye page https://www.eyedeology.ca/services/dry-eye-calgary-clinic/ to learn more about Dry Eyes and the various treatment options available at Eyedeology.

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