March 11, 2022
Ever feel stuck in the middle? Well, that’s what a contact does, it sandwiches in the middle of your tear film and cornea! While they offer an excellent source of vision, contacts can interrupt our tear film and cause additional problems, especially if you are already prone to dry eyes or allergies.
In order for contacts to remain comfortable and wearable all day long, the cornea must be in a healthy state. Dry eye occurs when the body cannot produce enough tears to hydrate the eyes, leading to symptoms such as burning, redness, and light sensitivity. Thus, it is excellent motivation to prevent dry eye while wearing your contact lenses.
Causes of Dry Eyes
Some of the factors that cause dry eyes include:
Disease or damage on the skin around your eyes
Health conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome
Prescription medication side effects
Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)
Let’s review ways you can avoid or manage dry eyes and continue wearing contacts.
Sleeping in certain contacts is allowed and acceptable, however, it can increase symptomatic dry eye. People who experience dry eye should be cautious about adding to their symptoms and removing contacts before bed is a good habit to practice.
We do not blink while sleeping, if you add a contact on top of that, the number of tears and moisture to the cornea is minimal. People who experience dry eye need to be very cautious about wear schedule with their contact lenses to avoid worsening eye problems. Unless your doctor has fitted you in a lens appropriate for sleeping in, it should never be an option, no matter how tired you may be. Doing so can increase the risk of creating a corneal infection.
A corneal infection can lead to an ulcer on the surface of the eye. Eye infections with an existing dry eye condition can become severe. According to AOA, sleeping with contacts creates a breeding ground for bacteria as it deprives your eyes of oxygen.
Maintain High Hygiene Standards When Handling Contacts
Wash your hands before touching your contacts to avoid the transfer of bacteria.
Change the solution in your contact lens case daily and change the case quarterly (at minimum).
Do not overwear your contacts past the recommended usage, contacts breakdown and improper fit and debris build up on contact lenses lead to irritation.
Consider a Different Contact Option
Ask your Optometrist if you are a candidate for a daily disposable contact. New technology has led these daily contacts to be designed with up to 80% water gradience, offering amazing comfort and decreasing dry eye symptoms while wearing contacts. Because they are instilled fresh every morning, allergens and lens deposits/build up are essentially gone and no longer a factor.
Use Artificial Tears
Artificial tears can assist in providing hydration to individuals suffering from dry eyes. You can also rewet your eyes even when they do not feel dry. Ask your doctor to prescribe you an artificial tear appropriate for your contact lens design.
Give Your Cornea a Break
Wear your glasses! While people with vision problems would prefer to use their contacts throughout the entire day, it is essential to give your eyes a break. Allow your eyes to be contact lens-free for a few hours each day providing uninterrupted tear film and essential oxygen to the cornea. If you do so routinely, you will let your eyes get constant hydration to combat the severity of dry eye.
For more about preventing dry eye while wearing contact lenses, call East Main Vision Clinic in Puyallup, Washington at (253) 780-0700 with any questions or to schedule an appointment.