Symptoms of dry eye disease are very common and affect millions of people. For some people who rely on contact lenses for clear vision, dryness and irritation can be worsened by the daily wear of their lenses. While this can be a frustrating experience, luckily there are many options to improve comfort for people who experience dryness related to their contact lenses. If you are experiencing discomfort and dryness, talk to your eye doctor before giving up on your contacts.
Symptoms of Contact Lens Dryness
In many cases, the symptoms of contact lens dryness are obvious. People can experience discomfort, irritation, mild redness, burning, or grittiness while wearing their contact lenses. Sometimes it can result in blurry vision, or it can make using your eyes difficult and fatiguing. Contact lens dryness can result in reduced tolerance for wearing contact lenses, and some people find that they are only able to comfortably wear their lenses for a few hours before the symptoms become overwhelming. Others notice that their lenses are dry and difficult to remove at the end of the day. Whatever symptoms of contact lens dryness may be bothering you or preventing you from comfortably wearing your contact lenses, it is important to bring it up to your optometrist. They can help identify why you are experiencing the symptoms and make the appropriate changes to improve your comfort.
Treating the Underlying Cause of Dry Eyes
If there is an underlying reason for your dry eye symptoms, contact lenses will only worsen the problem. In order to successfully wear contact lenses, you and your doctor will need to address this underlying cause. Whether it’s conditions such as blepharitis or Meibomian gland dysfunction, or seasonal issues like ocular allergies, treating these other dryness factors can play a big role in improving comfort with contact lenses. During a routine eye examination, your doctor can help identify and treat additional causes of dry eye disease.
Switching Lenses or Solutions
For some people, improving comfort with contact lenses simply means switching brands or cleaning solutions. Different lenses are made with different materials, and some people may be more sensitive to certain materials than others. In many cases, switching to daily disposable contact lenses can improve comfort and contact lens dryness. These lenses are made from silicone hydrogel, which is designed to allow for many hours of wear before they become dry or uncomfortable. If you aren’t interested in switching lenses, considering trying a new cleaning solution. Thoroughly cleaning your contacts to ensure there are no proteins or bacteria accumulating on the lenses is important for improve comfort.
Consider Scleral Contact Lenses
If you are still experiencing significant discomfort and irritation with your soft contact lenses, you may want to consider trying scleral contact lenses. These specialty lenses large-diameter rigid lenses that are filled with a nourishing liquid solution before they are place on the eye. This liquid reservoir keeps the front of the eye lubricated and comfortable for long periods of time. Scleral lenses are so effective in improving ocular comfort that they are frequently used as a treatment approach in those people with very severe cases of dry eye disease.