How To Manage Dry Eye While Wearing Contact Lenses
Dry eye is a common problem experienced by wearers who use contact lenses on a regular basis, and some could even develop dry eye from wearing contact lenses for a long period of time. This happens when your eyes do not produce enough tears to keep your eyes lubricated. Luckily, you have several options available when it comes to dealing with contact lens-induced dry eye.
Dry eyes happen when the tear glands are not producing enough tears to keep the eyes sufficiently moist. Eye drops are a simple way to introduce more moisture to your eyes. Be sure to use drops that are compatible with your contact lenses!
Low Water Contact Lenses
Water content makes a difference. High water content lenses (hold more than 60% water) are thicker and able to allow more oxygen to pass through the lens to the surface of the eye, while low water content lenses (hold approximately 40% water) are much thinner and less noticeable on the eye. It’s a common misconception that the higher the water content, the more comfortable the contact lens. With high water content lenses, the moisture in the lens draws out the eye's tears, making them more prone to dryness. Counterintuitively, low water content lenses can be better for allowing your eyes to breathe without drying them out. Soft contact lenses with about 40% or less water prevent this moisture-wicking effect.
However, everyone’s dry eye situation is different, you may need to try lenses with different water contents until you find the one that works for you. To find out the water content of your contact lenses, you'll be able to find the water content percentage displayed on the packaging of your contact lenses.
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Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses
Silicone hydrogel lenses are made of an advanced material that combines enhanced oxygen permeability with water content for improved comfort and eye health. The most significant benefit of silicone hydrogels is that they can allow up to five times more oxygen to reach the eye than standard lenses. This allows them to be worn over a long period of time with increased comfort and with less of a likelihood of irritating dryness.
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Daily Disposable Contacts
Daily Disposables are lenses to be discarded at the end of the day. You do not have to worry about cleaning the lenses at the end of the day as you discard the used lenses every day. Single use contact lenses can be beneficial for dry eye sufferers, since there’s no risk of buildup on the lens or of the lens drying out over time. Since these are maintenance free, there is no risk of improper maintenance leading to an issue.
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Tips to Avoid Dry Eye When Wearing Contact Lenses
To prevent eye dryness, we recommend the following tips:
- Make sure that your contact lenses have been properly fitted by a professional, as they can recommend the most suitable lenses for your eyes.
- Visit your eye doctor regularly and get your eyes checked for overall health, not just for vision.
- Purchase high-quality lenses from trusted merchants and make sure they have good oxygen permeability.
- Dispose of your lenses at the recommended times. If you wear your contacts longer than they're meant to be worn, they'll get dry,
- Do not wear contact lenses for extended periods. If you suffer from dry eyes, it is best that you only wear them for a few hours and on special occasions, such as for an outing or to play sport.
- Let your eyes breathe by going contacts-free for a few hours a day.
- Change the storage solution frequently.