Contact Lenses for Dry Eyes
If you suffer from dry eyes, you know how uncomfortable it can be. From itching and burning to the constant irritation, you may wonder if you're a good candidate for contact lenses. In the past, eye doctors would not recommend contacts for people with dry eyes. However, new developments have made it easier for those who want contacts to enjoy the convenience without worrying about making their dry eye worse. Read on to learn which contact lenses may be best for people with dry eye.
Type and Water Content
Since you don't want to choose contacts that will make your dry eye worse, look for lenses with specific water contact. Contrary to what you may think, many contacts with higher wetness levels can actually make your dry eyes worse. This is because they are designed to draw water out of the eyes to keep the wetness level maintained. You may do better with contacts containing a lower moisture level. Look for soft contact lenses that are made to hold moisture while letting oxygen pass through. These lenses allow your eyes to breathe, but they won't compromise the moisture levels you need in order to help minimize the symptoms of dry eye.
Material and Replacement Frequency
Contact lenses made of silicone hydrogel will hold onto moisture better than other styles. While soft lenses may be more expensive, it may be worth it if your dry eye problems are constant or extreme. You should also look into using contact lenses that can be replaced often. Daily lenses are usually best since you can simply toss them and start fresh with a new pair. Monthly lenses require cleaning and maintenance and may not contain the same soft, water-retaining material as dailies. In addition, certain contact lens cleaning solutions can cause buildup and worsen symptoms.
Using Eye Drops
Once you know about the best contacts for dry eyes, you may want to supplement them with eye drops. You can apply eye drops to support relief of dry eye. Drops are easy to carry with you and can help add lubrication to your eyes when you need it most. It is recommended to use eye drops that are free of preservatives, as this can make sensitive eyes worse or potentially cause a reaction. If you have a chronic or severe dry eye condition, talk to your optometrist. They may be able to give you prescription drops that will help encourage natural tear production to keep your eyes moist.
Eye drops are not a cure-all for dry eyes, however. To make wearing your contact lenses easier, put the eye drops in before you wear your lenses. Overall, soft lenses with low moisture may be the best option for people with dry eyes. It may be necessary to try a few different types and brands of contacts so you can find the ones that will work best for your needs.