Dry eyes are the bane of a contact lens wearer’s existence. The issue can cause blurred vision and lead to red, scratchy eyes, excessive watering, sensitivity to light and sometimes result in an individual discontinuing contact use altogether. While dry eyes and uncomfortable contact lenses may appear to have an easy answer, there are several factors that need to be assessed by an eye care professional. It’s essential to first determine the underlying cause in order to decide the best course of action.
Causes of Dry Eyes:
Tears create a smooth, reflective surface, maintain a moist environment and transport oxygen to the surface of the eye, known as the corneal epithelium. They are made up of three layers. The outer lipid layer slows evaporation of the tears and prevents overspill. The middle layer is the aqueous layer that provides the bulk of tears’ composition. It helps carry lysozymes, or enzymes with antibacterial properties that prevent drying. The base layer of the tear film is the mucous layer that acts as a stabilizer or glue to attach the film to the cornea. Each of these layers is secreted from a different gland and, therefore, the origin of dry eyes can be caused by a deficiency in any of these areas.
Since there are no specific “dryness receptors” within the eye, the feeling of irritation could be caused by something other than a tear deficiency, such as protein deposits, a drainage problem, a mechanical (blink) problem, medications, environmental issues, such as air conditioning, lens fit dehydration, hormones and eye fatigue.
Solutions to Dry Eyes:
If we are certain the discomfort is due to contact lens induced dry eye, or CLIDE, after your visit to The Spectacle Shoppe, and not an underlying condition, consider some tips for alleviating the problem.
Among the most common issues I encounter are excess protein deposits on the lens. This is characterized by discomfort after a week or two of wear. I recommend cleaning your lenses really well. This means using a multipurpose solution and gently rubbing your lenses from the center outward to remove buildup. In addition, a hydrogen peroxide system, like Clear Care®, will strip lenses of buildup and will scrub as the hydrogen peroxide neutralizes and releases an oxygen molecule to become H20. Peroxide systems are compatible with multipurpose solutions and may be used in place of your regular solution or on a weekly basis to supplement the multipurpose cleaning solution.
Another possible irritant resulting in dry, stinging eyes is the preservatives in multipurpose solution. In this case, change your cleaning solution. Do this with a fresh lens from the package to prevent the old and new solution from reacting with one another. I can help you choose the appropriate solution for your lens material and specific needs.
Re-wetting eye drops or artificial tears perk up tired eyes, combat dryness and enhance comfort. Apply a viscous solution before bed and 30 minutes before inserting your contact lenses. A contact lens compatible re-wetting drop can extend wear times. However, if you are using re-wetting drops more than two to three times per day, this indicative of a bigger problem.
The most effective step is choosing the best contact lenses for dry eyes. The Spectacle Shoppe carries a large variety of brands to ensure we can meet your eye needs.
Choosing the Perfect Contact Lenses
Every manufacturer has its own solution to dry eyes. Some have embedded wetting agents, while others coat lenses in a moisturizing solution. Soft contact lenses are crafted with a combination of hydrophilic polymers to keep lenses moist. However, the water percentage varies. Your initial thought may be to opt for a high water content lens, yet in some cases, your best bet may be a low water content lens, which won’t draw tears away from your eyes.
Silicone hydrogel lenses are comprised of materials with exceptional oxygen permeability to ensure the cornea receives enough oxygen. This type of lens has a lower water content and often reduces dry eye symptoms.
The best lens is a lens that fits well. The only person who can determine this is a professional, which is why we recommend visiting The Spectacle Shoppe before deciding on a pair.
Best Contact Lens Brands for Dry Eyes
Here are some of our suggestions for individuals suffering from contact lens induced dry eyes:
1-Day Acuvue Moist - 1-Day Acuvue Moist lenses are daily, disposable contact lenses featuring cutting-edge Johnson & Johnson technology. They’re convenient and there is no need to worry about protein deposits, as you wear a fresh pair each day. 77% of wearers report that lenses feel comfortable all day long due to the cushion of moisture comparable to natural tears.
Proclear Multifocal - No more reading glasses and bifocals! Proclear Multifocal monthly disposable contact lenses allow for clear vision at all distances. The lenses are thin, allow oxygen to circulate freely and remain moist even after 12 hours of wear.
PureVision Toric - Bausch & Lomb PureVision Toric lenses are made with silicone hydrogel and correct astigmatism. They are approved for 30 days of continuous wear. PureVision lenses feature AerGel material to repel debris and keep eyes moist all day.
We can help you decide which version will be the most effective for you. Keep up with your regular eye exams and come to us for expert care. Be sure to use the Internet wisely and only re-order lenses online after you have been fitted at The Spectacle Shoppe. I invite you to see us today and take advantage of our easy re-order system at competitive online prices. Alleviate dry eyes with the right contact lenses. Comfort and eye health are of paramount importance and our professional advice is truly priceless.
Morgan is The Spectacle Shoppe’s Lead Technician and Customer Relations Specialist as well as a Principle of Spectacle Shoppe. She is a licensed contact lens fitter and dispensing optician and has been working for The Spectacle Shoppe since 2006. She graduated from Douglas College’s two year Dispensing Optician and Contact Lens Fitting Program in 2008. From contact lens fitting to eyeglass repairs and adjustments Morgan is eager to help you with any optical needs. Connect with Morgan Nahanee on Google+